Symphoricarpos (Snowberry)


Botanical Name : Symphoricarpos albus laevigatus

Family: Caprifoliaceae

Genus: Symphoricarpos

Kingdom: Plantae

Order: Dipsacales

Common Names:Snowberry, Waxberry or Ghostberry

Habitat:  Symphoricarpos has 15 species of deciduous shrubs in the honeysuckle family, Caprifoliaceae. All species are natives of North and Central America, except one native to western China. The name of the genus is derived from the Greek words (symphorein), meaning “to bear together,” and  (karpos), meaning “fruit.” It refers to the closely packed berries the species produce.

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Description:

Symphoricarpos is a deciduous shrub. Its leaves are 1.5–5 cm long, rounded, entire or with one or two lobes at the base. The flowers are small, greenish-white to pink, in small clusters of 5–15 together in most species, solitary or in pairs in some (e.g. S. microphyllus). The fruit are conspicuous, 1–2 cm in diameter, soft, varying from white (e.g. S. albus) to pink (S. microphyllus) to red (S. orbiculatus) and in one species (S. sinensis), blackish purple. When the white berries are broken open, the fruit inside looks like fine, sparkling granular snow.

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Medicinal Uses:

Snowberry was commonly employed medicinally by several native North American Indian tribes who valued it especially for the saponins it contains. These saponins can be toxic, but when applied externally they have a gentle cleansing and healing effect upon the skin, killing body parasites and helping in the healing of wounds. The Native Americans used it to treat a variety of complaints but especially as an external wash on the skin. Any internal use of this plant should be carried out with care, and preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner. An infusion of the stems has been drunk to treat stomach problems and menstrual disorders. A decoction of the leaves has been used in the treatment of colds. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied, or an infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash, in the treatment of external injuries. A weak solution of the stems and leaves has been used as a wash for children whilst a stronger solution is applied to sores. The fruit has been eaten, or used as an infusion, in the treatment of diarrhea. An infusion of the fruit has been used as an eye wash for sore eyes. The berries have been rubbed on the skin as a treatment for burns, rashes, itches and sores. The berries have also been rubbed on warts in order to get rid of them. A poultice of the crushed leaves, fruit and bark has been used in the treatment of burns, sores, cuts, chapped and injured skin.  An infusion of the roots has been used in the treatment of fevers (including childhood fevers), stomach aches and colds. A decoction of the root bark has been used in the treatment of venereal disease and to restore the flow of urine. An infusion of the root has been used as an eyewash for sore eyes. An infusion of the whole plant has been drunk and also applied externally in the treatment of skin rashes. A decoction of the roots and stems has been used in the treatment of the inability to urinate, venereal disease, tuberculosis and the fevers associated with teething sickness

Disclaimer: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.

Resources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symphoricarpos

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_RST.htm

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