En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Thursday - July 19, 2007

From: Clinton, MA
Region: Northeast
Topic: Medicinal Plants
Title: Comptonia peregrina tea as topical treatment for poison ivy
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have been told that Sweet Fern stewed into a tea is a great topical treatment for poision ivy. Is this true?

ANSWER:

Comptonia peregrina (sweet fern) looks a bit like a fern, but it isn't really a fern. It is a member of the Bayberry Family (Family Myricaceae).

According to the University of Michicgan-Dearborn Native American Ethnobotany database an infusion of the leaves of Comptonia peregrina has been used by several native American tribes (e.g., Delawares, Algonquians, Mohegans) to treat poison ivy. Sweet fern has also had other medicinal applications—headaches, fever, round worms, blood purifier, inflamation and more.


Comptonia peregrina

 

 

More Medicinal Plants Questions

Fiber and dye plants at the Wildflower Center from Round Rock TX
May 24, 2012 - When I visited the Wildflower Center recently I noticed a garden labeled as containing fiber and dye plants, but the individual plants and their uses were not all labeled. I would be very interested ...
view the full question and answer

Use of North American native in India
October 09, 2009 - I got mail from someone who is living in U.K asking me to co-ordinate for getting the "Silphium terebinthinaceum seed" from various places for one Pharmaceutical company as a business. Is it the com...
view the full question and answer

Possible medicinal uses of Spanish Moss (Tillandsia usneoides)
April 13, 2006 - I recently read an article about the healing properties of Spanish Moss. It mentioned reducing bad cholesterol in the human body. What exactly are the properties in this plant that are good for you, ...
view the full question and answer

Texas plants useful to early settlers
June 05, 2012 - I'm working on some interpretation for a prairie heritage trail in SE TX (near Houston). I'd like to know where I can find some good information on plant remedies which might have been used by early...
view the full question and answer

Skin care uses of sunflower seed oil
September 14, 2006 - Just wondering what, if any, were the traditional uses of sunflower in skincare? I thought I read somewhere that the seeds were crushed up into an oil and used on the skin for sun protection? Is the...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center