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

Identity of plant that looks like green onions
April 06, 2013 - I have what looks like green onions growing in my lawn. They have small white flowers. Are they edible?
view the full question and answer

Failure of highbush blueberry plant to produce in New Hampshire
July 25, 2008 - One of my highbush blueberry plants completely stopped producing. What can I do to revive it?
view the full question and answer

Edible plants native to Bexar County, Texas
July 30, 2008 - What types of edible plants are native to Bexar county?
view the full question and answer

Landscaping with water garden from Pendleton SC
August 15, 2012 - Searching for native plants in SC. Your results miss some plants listed on your site. I noticed this reading the Mr. Smarty Plants response to "Edible Plants for North GA" We aren't far apart. ...
view the full question and answer

How Do Persimmons Breed - Starkville, MS
August 14, 2012 - Thank you for your earlier response about the genders of native persimmon trees. We have two, a much larger one that has borne fruit for years and years and a smaller one that I'd just assumed was m...
view the full question and answer

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