A Post for Gardeners and Doctors

So I could find only one other post besides this one on my blog about the intersection of botany with human medicine, and it’s below.

My wife is an avid gardener and noticed something wild and prairie-like in the back yard. The flower or weed below is one of a bunch growing over 8 feet tall out there:

Compass Plant or Rosinweed

I’m not a gardener or a botanist so I’m only guessing that it’s either a Compass Plant or Rosinweed, two prairie flowers which closely resemble each other. The medical angle is that Rosinweed is of interest to those who know more about homeopathic medicine than I ever will. Supposedly it could interact with Lithium, a well-known mood stabilizer for treatment of bipolar disorder. Because it could have diuretic action, using it with Lithium could lead to Lithium toxicity.

The alert observer will also notice a yellow bug in the Compass Plant (or Rosinweed). I believe that it’s a Goldenrod Soldier Beetle. It has no medicinal value that I know of, but it might be beneficial to gardens, partly because it eats other common pests.

I sort of favor the notion that the plants in our backyard are Compass Plants, mainly because most of the leaves seem to orient themselves along a North-South axis. Supposedly this used to help the early settlers of the country find their way when they got lost.

You can also probably see Giant Ragweed, which I try to steer clear of most of the time because it’s a potent allergen, although I’ve noticed my hay fever gets less intense the older I get. It’s one of the few advantages of aging.

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