Forage Friday #20 Joe Pye Weed

Hello friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Joe Pye Weed And Butterflies 1” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

There was a knock at door of the little cabin. The young father raised his head from his prayer position near his daughter’s bed. His own body ached all over which caused him to move slowly. His calloused hand slid back the wrought iron bolt on the door. His wife was stifling a coughing fit herself as the door creaked open. If not for the long braids and dark complexion he wouldn’t have guessed that tall man in the doorway was the Sachem. The Sachem held up a leather pouch and with a nod of his head acknowledged that it was a gift for the family in their time of need. The young father was concerned about allowing the allowing the medicine man into his home. The church elders had warned people that a heathen out of the wild shouldn’t be trusted but he was desperate. If his daughter’s fever wasn’t broken soon he feared that she wouldn’t survive the typhus. The Sachem spoke very little but went straight to work preparing the medicine. He gave some to the daughter first. Then her mother and finally the father. The yellow liquid was hard to swallow but by the next day the family was on the road to recovery. The Sachem gathered his things and was ready to move on to the next house and family that was suffering from the sickness that was filling the land. He left the leather pouch full of roots on the table for the family to follow up with. As he was opening the door to leave the young father stopped him to thank him for his kindness. The Sachem extended a tattooed hand in acceptance of the gratitude and gave his name as Joe Pye.

The story above of how Joe Pye Weed got it’s name varies a little depending on the source. Some variations say that Joe Pye wasn’t even Native American himself but a Caucasian who simply created the persona of a Sachem for marketing purposes. However, all of versions say that an herbal healer used the plant in tonight’s feature image to stop an outbreak of typhus. A few versions say that the word Jopi was Algonquin for “fever” and therefore the plant was “fever weed” and that the spelling was anglicized into Joe Pye.

However it happened Joe Pye Weed is traditionally considered to be a powerful medicine for a multitude of health issues. Since I’m not a certified expert I won’t be able to give advice beyond saying that it’s an interesting topic and that seeking out further information is probably going to be worth the effort. Some of the topics covered in the reference materials include flu like symptoms, broken bones and urinary tract infections. You should also know that there seems to be multiple varieties and therefore any medical potential could depend on the variety and growth conditions.

I have a multitude of these surrounding my property. The biggest advantage of having it around is the number of butterflies it attracts. The variety in the feature image is Sweet Joe Pye Weed. I presume it’s a little sweeter than the others. The plant is also tall. The ones close to my home are about ten feet tall. This shouldn’t be a surprise because they are members of the Sunflower family.

The last little tid-bit that I have this Friday is that my brother and I would use dead stems as makeshift swords. The brittle flower stalk seldom stood up to smacked together in wild fantasies of fighting a duel. Today I would be concerned about putting an eye out though.

That’s about all I have for Forage Friday this week but I’m curious to hear if you’ve ever used this one yourself. The comments are open to the public.

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