Please remember that Forage Friday is presented as trivia and not to be mistaken for medical advice.⚠️ Wild Hydrangeas are associated with gastrointestinal distress, Dizziness and chest pain. Peterson’s Field Guide says that hydrangeas produce a cyanide like poisoning.
Late Spring and Early Summer are almost indistinguishable on my mountain. We normally awaken to the sound of rain and a roll of thunder as my little buddy Scout (my dog) snuggles closer for safety.
As the day progresses the sun reclaims the rain as mists that rise from the ridges and hollers. The forest is lush and green from the replenishment of the sun/rain cycle. It’s at this time that the trails and edges begin to sprout clusters of little white flowers.
While wild hydrangeas are listed as edible in some sources they don’t really rank well as a food. Nevertheless they have been consumed. (See Warning above) The twigs and branches are used in teas and the new growth can be peeled and boiled until tender. Then removed from the water and fried. I presume that the boiling process is intended to be an attempt to remove toxins as well as softening the cellulose to a point where it can be chewed and swallowed. But it doesn’t seem to have been used often as a food. In fact a very large amount of it can result in poisoning.
Where Hydrangeas seem to come into their own is in medicinal values. There isn’t a large range of uses as with most plants that I cover. It’s mostly used as a treatment for urinary issues as a diuretic. The roots are valued by diggers who sell them to the supplement industry. And my honest opinion is that the selling of the roots is probably the best way to benefit from wild hydrangeas unless you’re a beekeeper converting the bloom into honey and propolis. If you read the warning above ( And you really should.) You’ll see that it does seem to have an effect on the cardiovascular system. Native Americans did in fact use wild hydrangeas as a heart medicine. They also seemed to use it topically for burns, sprains and muscle soreness.
So would I actually use hydrangeas? Well, in an apocalyptic situation where I had no other choice I might. Otherwise I think that our Appalachian forest has so many different plants that offer the same benefits without the hazards that it’s not really worth the risks. Now there is a Japanese variety that is being looked into as a treatment for diabetes and malaria but that doesn’t mean that all varieties will be acceptable for this use.
That’s it for tonight’s #foragefriday. Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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