Two herbal plants common to North America have been used for generations for heat related illnesses. Both Lobella and Gelsemium have been shown to bring relief from the fever and headaches due to sunstroke. Descriptions of both plants and how to extract the medicinal properties of each is discussed.
The Lobelia plant is both a relaxant and a stimulant, in small doses it stimulates, in large doses it relaxes. In the past some said the plant was poisonous but it is far from being poisonous it is actually an antidote to poison, whether of the animal or vegetable variety. Strange as it may seem sense it is used to expel poison from the system it actually is very good for irritable stomachs if given in small doses. It removes obstructions from every part of the system and if taken can be felt all the way down to your toes. If suffering from an irritated nervous system it can be invaluable. It has even been used for lock jaw. It helps with fevers and it great for cleaning out the system. This is of great help when suffering from heat exhaustion so the body can heal at a greater rate.
To use this plant medicinally you prepare an infusion, which is made by adding an ounce of the leaf and stem of the plant with a pint of boiling water and letting it steep until cool. Use 1 Tablespoon of the infusion every half hour or so until relief is felt.
Gelsemium sempervirens (L.) Ait. (N.O.: Loganiaceae)
Common Names: Yellow Jasmine, Wild Woodbine, Gelsemium
This is a very common plant. It is found throughout most of North America. It is a woody climbing vine with yellow flowers that bloom starting in March and continues into May. The plant has a very pleasant scent and although it is usually found in the wild it can and is cultivated successfully as an ornamental plant. The plant has a twining stem with long thin leaves that are colored dark green on top and pale underneath. The many roots of the plant, which are the parts that are used medicinally, are tough and splintery. They contain Gelsemium which is a resiny yellow colored oil and also salts of potassium, lime, magnesia, iron and silica.
This plant has been used for years as a nerve tonic, sedative and antispasmodic. Gelsemium medicinal properties are very strong so care must be taken, as always should be when using herbal medicine!) in it’s use so as not to overdo the dosage. Very good for nervous or bilious headaches brought on by too much exposure to the heat of the summertime. Cardiac disorders can be helped with use. Fevers are quieted by it’s use, nervous irritability and over excitement are helped as well. It promotes perspiration and improves circulation without causing nausea or vomiting. Stabilizes the bowels and is very useful for toothache and insomnia, a wonderful sedative. A great woman’s tonic can be made from the root and it is also useful for men when problems are present because of disease such as prostate cancer.