Medicinal plants cultivated
by Louis Hébert (ca. 1575 - 1627)
The Micmac Indians taught Hébert the medicinal properties of several plants, amongst which were the following four:
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The plant known as Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), has several applications. It is one of the most used plants in American folk medicine. The First Nation Indians have apparently used it to cure an epidemy of typhoid fever. It has also been prescribed as an antidote for the poison of the Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata).
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The common name Jack-in-the-Pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum), is indicative of the plant's appearance. Its "aroma" of stagnant water is useful to attract mosquitoes. First Nation Indians used it to cure their stomach aches by drinking the water in which they had boiled the roots of the plant.
The name of Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) is derived from the French "mollesse" meaning "soft" which refers to the velours texture of its leaves. The sweet-smelling flowers are used as a boiled tea useful in treating general lung ailments. This tea is probably fairly harmless.
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Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis), is the usual name for this plant. Its thick yellow roots were used to treat skin afflictions and bleeding. It was also well known for its properties as a yellow die and pesticide. Have a look at this trivia quiz!