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 Herbal Materia Medica: Grindelia 
Grindelia spp.


Names: Gum Plant, Gum Weed, Tar Weed.

Habitat: The USA and S. America

Collection: The aerial parts are collected before the flower buds open.They are dired as soon as possible in the sun.

Part Used: Dried aerial parts.

Constituents: * Diterpenes of the grindelane type, including grindelicacid and its l7-hydroxy derivative, l3-isogrindelic acid,l7-grindeloxygrindelic acid and many others

* Flavonoids; including acacetin, kumatakenin, quercitin and its3,3'-dimethyl ether derivative * Resins.

Actions: Anti-spasmodic, expectorant, hypotensive.

Indications: Grindelia acts to relax smooth muscles and heart muscles.This helps to explain its use in the treatment of asthmatic and bronchial conditions, especially where these are associated with a rapidheart beat and nervous response. It may be used in asthma,bronchitis, whooping cough and upper respiratory catarrh.Because of the relaxing effect on the heart and pulse rate, there may be areduction in blood pressure. Externally the lotion is used in thedermatitis caused by poison ivy.

Ellingwood considered it specific for " asthmaticbreathing." In addition he recommends it for the following patholgies:bronchial coughs, irregular heart beat associated with chroniccoughs, hay fever.

Kings Dispensatory discusses in detail the indications for two otherspecies: "The grindelias leave in the mouth a bitter, acrid sensation, whichpersists for some time and is accompanied or followed by an increased flow ofsaliva. On account of their irritant effects upon. the kidneys, they act asdiuretics. The brain and cord are first stimulated by them, followed by motorimpairment of the lower extremities and a desire to sleep. The number ofrespirations are reduced by them. Grindelia robusta has been foundespecially efficient in asthma giving prompt relief, and effecting cures incases previously rebellious to medication. Occasionally, however, as is,indeed, the case with all the therapeutical agents, it has failed but thecircumstances attending these failures have not yet been determined. It haslikewise been found efficient in bronchial affections, inpertussis, and in some renal maladies. Prof.Scudder was partial to this remedy as a local application in chronicdiseases of the skin with feeble circulation, particularly oldchronic and indolent ulcers. Grindelia squarrosa has been highlyeulogized as an efficient remedy in intermittent fever. and inother malarial affections, also to remove the splenicenlargement which frequently follows those disorders. Why two plantsso closely allied as the G. robusta and the G. squarrosa,and possessing nearly identical constituents, should give such discordanttherapeutical results, is certainly enigmatical. The fact is, that manyphysicians have a great proneness to run after new remedies, especially whenintroduced under some pretentious name, and to place a marvelous credulity inthe statements of interested parties, who are incapable of determining accurateconclusions as to the value of a remedy (note ~ this is a relevant today asit was a 100 years ago!). Webster, however, asserts that the remedy hasa special action upon the splenic circulation, and points out as the case forit one of splenic congestion associated with sluggish hepatic action anddyspepsia. Dull pain in the left hypochondrium sallow skin,debility, and indigestion are the symptoms pointing to its selection.The same author recommends it in chronic dyspepsia due toprolonged malarial influence, gastric pain when the spleen isseemingly involved, and in the splenic congestion of malariacachexia. As a local application, the fluid extract is stated to beof vaIue in the painful eczematous inflammation and vesiculareruption resulting from contact with the poison vineor the poison oak."

Combinations: In the treatment of asthmatic conditions it may be usedwith Lobelia and Pill-bearing Spurge.

Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto lteaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for l0-l5 minutes. Thisshould be drunk three times a day. Tincture: take l-2ml of the tincture threetimes a day.

© David L. Hoffman, M.N.I.M.H.

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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