GUMWEED (Grindelia spp.)

Family: Asteraceae

Parts commonly used: Young, gummy flower before opening; resinous young leaves.

Properties/energetics: Antispasmodic, relaxing expectorant, anti-inflammatory/Neutral to slightly cooling, moist; bitter, spicy.

Systems predominantly affected:  Respiratory, skin, cardiac.

Uses: An excellent antispasmodic and relaxing expectorant herb most useful for chronic bronchial cough and bronchial infection. Gives relief for hot, dry, hacking coughs and raw, burning sensation in the chest, while increasing lung secretion. Anti-inflammatory to respiratory mucosa, effectively used to treat hay fever. Gumweed can be a mild sedative and cardiac relaxant, decreasing heart pulse and blood pressure. Topical use of the crushed flowers or of the tincture as a poultice is used to treat skin irritation caused by Poison Oak and Poison Ivy; it is a good antidote for the poisons of some insect bites.

Combinations: Combines well with Yerba Santa for a relaxing antispasmodic remedy to relieve tight-feeling, dry, hacking cough and with black cohosh for muscle pains from coughing. Use with Lobelia inflata for relief of acute asthmatic conditions.

Affects on specific body types: A useful remedy for Seer-type lung conditions with tendency toward dry, hacking cough and asthmatic-type breathing. It is particularly useful when asthma or other chronic lung conditions are associated with tachycardia (racing heartbeat).

Precautions: Gumweed’s resins can have an irritating effect on the kidneys, which can be useful at times (as in the case of subacute urinary-tract infections), but the irritating effect of this plant makes it contraindicated in chronic kidney conditions.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 20 to 50 drops three times a day. Externally: Crushed leaves and flowers applied as a poultice or the infusion or tincture applied as a compress. Strong tea blended with clay and Peppermint spirits for use as a topical application for Poison Oak and Ivy. Along with this, take Licorice tea internally.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition