Common Name : western blue virginsbower, Purple clematis
Habitat : Clematis occidentalis is native to much of southern Canada and the northern United States. There are three varieties: var. occidentalis is limited to the eastern half of the species’ range, var. grosseserrata to the western half, and var. dissecta is endemic to Washington.
The plant varies somewhat in appearance. Generally they produce vines and climb on surfaces. The leaves are divided into three thick, green leaflets, which may have lobes or teeth. The flower has no petals, but petallike sepals which are usually either deep purple-blue in western populations or reddish purple in eastern plants. White flowers are rare.
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Height: vine; stems 3-6 feet long
• Flower size: 1-1/2 to 2 inches long
• Flower color: reddish purple
• Flowering time: April to June
A poultice of the pounded, dampened leaves of blue clematis has been applied by the Okanagan-Colville Indians to the feet to treat sweaty feet. They also made a tea of leaves alone or the stems and leaves and used it as a hair wash to prevent gray hair. The Navajo Indians used a cold tea of the plant as a lotion on swollen knees and ankles. The Thompson Indians used the plant as a head wash and to treat scabs and eczema. Most effective when taken at early onset of migraines. Also for cluster and general headaches.
Blackfoot used boiled leaves applied to skin where ‘ghost bullets’ had been removed by shaman; smudge from stem used to revive people who had fainted from being near ‘ghosts’; infusion of plant given to horses as a diuretic. The Flathead used a decoction of entire plant used as wash for sores and itches, or boiled plant rubbed on affected areas; decoction of stem and leaves used as hair restorer or shampoo, sometimes combined with Pterospora andromedea. Kootenay-infusion used as hair wash, believed to make the hair grow longer. Montana Indians used a decoction of leaves as a headache remedy; root used as a stimulant to revive fallen race horses. Okanagan used the leaves and branch mashed and steeped or boiled in water to make a hair wash, said to prevent gray hair; if used every day for a month, said to kill ‘germs’ in hair roots. Stoney used a wash from stems used as eye wash; feathery achenes used as swabs to stop bleeding. Thompson used a decoction of plant used as wash for head and neck scabs.
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
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- A tour of my friend Bev’s Garden (redgardenclogs.wordpress.com)