Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 120 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness

Pacific Northwest Medicinal Plants: Identify, Harvest, and Use 120 Wild Herbs for Health and Wellness

by Scott Kloos


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781604696578
Publisher: Timber Press, Incorporated
Publication date: 05/17/2017
Pages: 416
Sales rank: 375,933
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Scott Kloos is an herbalist, wildcrafter, and medicine maker. He founded and is managing director of the School of Forest Medicine and owns Cascadia Folk Medicine, which supplies high-quality, small-batch herbal extracts from the native plants of the region. Scott also was a founder of the Elderberry School of Botanical Medicine in Portland, Oregon.

Read an Excerpt

My first field guides still sit on a bookshelf in my office at home. Each crease, dirt smudge, dried plant specimen, and dog-eared page in those books is a testament to days of adventure pregnant with the promise of meeting new plant friends and allies in the forests, mountains, valleys, and deserts of my cherished Pacific Northwest home. I used those books so much that the information they contained became a part of me, but one day I knew it was time for me to take off the training wheels and leave the field guides at home.

I very clearly remember that day. It was a day tinged with sadness because knowing the plants well enough to leave the books behind also meant saying goodbye to the thrill of discovery and the wonderment that propelled me on many epic quests. At the time I knew there would always be new things to discover, relationships to deepen, and aspects of nature to wonder upon, but it would never be like it was in those early days.

If you are just beginning your journey on this green path, I envy you. Out in the wild, many new friends and allies await. Amid the earth’s myriad flowering colors and the infinite shades of green knowledge within her whispering leaves, you will experience the excitement, joy, and awe that comes when you finally discover and meet a new plant that’s been calling to you. Instead of just gazing longingly at the pictures in this book, you will have the opportunity to smell the sweet scent of the flowers, stroke the subtle fuzz on the underside of the leaves, and watch how the plants sway in the wind to greet you as you enter the forest.

Getting to know plants is like meeting a lifelong friend. You will need to give as much or more than you receive. It takes dedication to develop these relationships, but you will never be alone again. Wherever you go you will be surrounded by friends. Like the books that inspired me, I hope that this book helps you find, remember, and renew your connection to the wild. You will meet plants that grow along your favorite hiking trails and in your neighborhood park, plants that grow way out in the mountains and absolutely won’t grow in anybody’s garden, and others that will happily grow in your garden or that thrive in ground disturbed by the presence of humans. The thing that unites these plants is that they grow without our aid and sometimes despite our attempts to eradicate them. They embody the forces of nature and possess a spirit that renews and invigorates our own wildness. By connecting with and using these plants as medicine, we can retune our physical bodies in relationship to the land. By connecting with the wild places within ourselves and by harvesting and making medicine from these wild plants, we remember how to be in harmony with nature.

How did I get started on this path? After watching my grandparents die without dignity in the hospital, I was unable to go near a hospital for years without having a panic attack. These and other mainstream health care experiences affected me deeply. I knew that I never wanted to end up in the hospital. Even as a teenager, I knew that the hospital was not a suitable environment for healing. It was a place to die, not a place to get well.

In my early twenties, I started learning about herbs and wanted to make my own medicine because I was sure that civilization had no interest in my well-being and, in any case, it was headed for a collapse. I knew that if I wanted to survive the downfall, I would have to take matters into my own hands. As I’ve cultivated this rebellious spirit of self-reliance over the years, my views on how to bring about societal change have shifted.

Rather than hunker down and wait for the end of civilization, I’ve spent the majority of my adult life making medicines to share with my community, empowering others to do the same, and teaching classes that allow people to experience the magic and power of plant medicine so that we ourselves can shape the world in which we want to live.

The wild plants have become my friends and teachers. Harvesting them to make medicine has brought health and happiness to my life on so many levels. While I understand that wild plants will never be the main supply of medicine for the modern world, they will always have their place.

Health care is a right all humans ought to share equally. As people continue to become disillusioned with a system increasingly dependent on developing new drugs to increase profits for shareholders, it becomes more important that we have access to medicines that grow in the backyards, fields, meadows, and wild areas near our homes. It is refreshing to return to the roots of healing and find natural remedies that support our own health and well-being as well as that of our families and friends.

Wild medicinal plants carry a different medicine than herbs cultivated in gardens. They not only create the conditions for physical health and inspire harmony within our bodies, but they remind us of the wild places within ourselves and connect us to nature. Can we truly be healthy without a connection to the foundations of all life here on Earth? I say no, and in my experience it is this disconnect that is at the root of so much of our current dis-ease as a society.

Retaining and developing a connection to the wild through making medicine from and ingesting wild medicinal plants can enliven and invigorate our lives in a very special way. It can lead us to the remembrance of a culture that respects the land and all creatures of the earth, one that is guided by the very same principles that the natural world uses to organize itself.

So now I take another step on my path as I write this book for you. I am honored to share the knowledge that I’ve gathered in more than two decades of wildcrafting, medicine making, and working with plant medicine. Connecting with these plants has helped me connect with parts of myself that have been marginalized, pushed aside, and forgotten. By studying these plants and the places where they grow, I remember who I am. I see their dignity, power, and beauty reflected in me. I remember my indigenous self as the presence of the ancestors who lived intimately with these lands—digging roots, gathering leaves, and making medicine by the cycles of the moon—reverberates through my being.

Without my first field guides, I would never have experienced these things. To their authors I am deeply indebted and forever grateful. I can only hope that you will find
similar inspiration in the pages that follow and wish you the best on adventures of your own.

May these chapters inspire you to seek out your own philosophy of health, and may the plants be agents of healing, teaching, and guidance for you in the same way that they’ve been for me.

Open yourself to the wild. The plants await.
Take a moment to listen.
They are calling.

Table of Contents

Preface 9

How to Use This Book 14

Wildcrafting Basics 20

Herbal Medicine Primer 54

Wildcrafting Season By Season 76

Wild Medicinal Plants of the Pacific Northwest 85

Alumroot 86

Arrowleaf Balsamroot 88

Artist's Conk 91

Baldhip Rose 93

Barestem Biscuitroot 95

Black Cottonwood 97

Bladderwrack 100

Blue Elder 102

Blue Vervain 105

Buckbean 107

Burdock 109

California Bay 112

California Bayberry 114

California Greenbrier 117

California Mugwort 119

California Poppy 122

Cascade Oregon Grape 124

Cascara Sagrada 127

Chickweed 130

Chockecherry 132

Cleavers 134

Costal Hedgenettle 136

Comfrey 138

Common Mallow 140

Cow Parsnip 142

Curl-Leaf Mountain Mahogany 145

Cut-Level Goldthread 147

Dandelion 149

Desert Parsley 152

Devil's Club 155

Douglas-Fir 158

False Solomon's Seal 161

Feverfew 164

Filed Mint 166

Fireweed 168

Fremont's Silktassel 170

Fuller's Teasel 173

Ghost Pipe 176

Goldenrod 179

Gray's Lovage 181

Green Ephedra 184

Gumweed 187

Hairy Arnica 189

Hairy Robert 191

Highbush Cranberry 193

Himalayan Blackberry 195

Hookedspur Violet 197

Horehound 199

Horsetail 201

King's Gentian 203

Labrador Tea 206

Lemon Balm 209

Lungwort 212

Manzanita 214

Menzies' Larkspur 217

Mountain Monardella 219

Mullein 221

Narrow-Leaved Plantain 224

Nettle 226

Nettleleaf Giant Hyssop 230

Northern Bugleweed 232

Oceanpray 234

Oneseed Hawthorn 236

Oregon Figwort 239

Oregon White Oak 242

Oxeye Daisy 245

Pacific Bleeding Heart 247

Pacific Dogwood 249

Pacific Madrone 253

Parrot's Beak 256

Pearly Everlasting 259

Pipsissewa 262

Ponderosa Pine 265

Quaking Aspen 268

Red Alder 271

Red-Belted Conk 277

Red Clover 279

Red Root 281

Sagebrush 284

Saint John's Wort 286

Salal 289

Scouler's Corydalis 291

Selfheal 294

Sharptooth Angelica 296

Sheep Sorrel 299

Shepherd's Purse 301

Sitka Valerian 303

Smooth Sumac 306

Snapdragon Skullcap 308

Spreading Dogbane 310

Sweet Gale 313

Sweetroot 316

Thinleaf Huckleberry 319

Thinleaf Huckleberry 321

Usnea 324

Uva Ursi 327

Waxy Coneflower 330

Western Aralia 333

Western Bunchberry 336

Western Coltsfoot 339

Western Hemlock 341

Western Juniper 344

Western Mugwort 347

Western Pasqueflower 350

Western Peony 353

Western Redcedar 356

Western Shuck Cabbage 360

Western Trillium 362

Western White Clematis 365

Wild Carrot 368

Wild Ginger 371

Willow 373

Woodland Strawberry 376

Wormwood 378

Yarrow 381

Yellow Dock 385

Yellow Pond-Lily 388

Yerba Buena 391

Yerba Santa 393

Metric Conversions 397

References 399

Acknowledgements 402

Photography Credits 405

Index 406

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