Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
1 rating

Saturday - February 05, 2011

From: Lehi, UT
Region: Rocky Mountain
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Jersalem artichoke as a medicinal herb
Answered by: Brigid & Larry Larson

QUESTION:

I am having trouble with high cholesterol and coming up on being borderline diabetic and I am overweight. I know that Jerusalum Artichoke helps lower blood sugar. Am into herbs and J.A. is hard to locate, what other plants can help me in these areas? Thank you, Margaret Shumate Carlson

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants wants his readers to know that he is not qualified to give medical advice, which includes making suggestions on herbs and medicinal plants for various ailments. He can only tell you what is best to grow in your part of the United States.   On that note, Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem artichoke) is native to most of the United States, with the exception of the desert southwest.  In Utah, it is actually considered a native of Utah County!  This is a plant we can recommend because it is a beautiful native that can be grown locally by you.  For information on propagating this plant - I would contact your County extension service, the native plant society of Utah, the university, and the American Botanical Council (Austin).  The Wikipedia article on the Jerusalem artichoke indicates that it is a source of fructose and ethanol fuel.  I was amused by the quote from the English planter John Goodyer from Gerard's Herbal, which was rather scathing towards Jerusalem artichoke as a food!

You should always consult your physician before embarking on a herbal course.  I checked a few sources for herbal information.  Ones that appeared reputable were the American Botanical Council, Suite 101, and an article by Jonathan Klemens.  Still, looking at the herbs that were mentioned, only a few were native to the US and none to Utah, which makes them inappropriate to recommend to you.

 

From the Image Gallery


Jerusalem artichoke
Helianthus tuberosus

More Edible Plants Questions

Can poisonous seed of wild plum be safely removed after steaming from Seymour IA
June 20, 2013 - I read on a related questions that you said the pit/seeds of all wild plums are poisonous. My question is this, can I juice the entire fruit for making jelly without removing the pit first? I have a s...
view the full question and answer

Best vegetables to grow in San Antonio
June 06, 2006 - What vegtables are the safest bet for growing in San Antonio? Thanks
view the full question and answer

Spots on non-native naval orange trees from Stockton CA
October 20, 2012 - I have two mature Navel Orange trees. One tree has developed spotty chlorophyl depleted areas that were not on the oranges when they were smaller. In addition, the oranges on both trees are smaller ,...
view the full question and answer

Wild Edible Books for Pennsylvania
February 11, 2014 - I was hoping I could get some suggestions of one or more good books on wild edibles that I can find in Southwest PA. Any help will be greatly appreciated.
view the full question and answer

Problems with chile pequin from Pflugerville TX
July 19, 2012 - Hello there! I have a question about my chile pequin (Capsicum annuum L.) plant. I purchased it last year from the Wildflower Center Fall Plant Sale. It stayed in a pot until three months ago when I p...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.