Cow parsnip has an interesting history with its Latin name, Heracleum lanatum, referring to Hercules because of its large size. Though it isn't really used in modern herbalism, North American tribes used it medicinally for poultices to treat bruises, minor cuts and toothache while the leaves were used as a tea for tonic to treat colds, sore throats, cramps and rheumatism. The roots were often crushed and mixed with water to treat dandruff. Apparently the root is currently being investigated for its use in treating psoriasis, leukemia and AIDS. The plant is also known as Indian Celery or Indian Rhubarb as the Blackfoot roasted the young spring stalks for food and the stalks are used in the Sun Dance Ceremony. The plant has been used to create whistles, flutes, straws, yellow dye, and mosquito repellant. Because of its similarity to the poisonous Water Hemlock, caution is highly recommended.
AIRdirondack Art Project