Herbs & Plants

Swertia Radiata

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Botanical Name : Swertia radiata
Family: Gentianaceae
Genus: Frasera
Species: F. speciosa
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Gentianales

Synonims:Frasera speciosa

Common Name :Cebadilla,Monument plant, Elkweed, and Deer’s ears.Green Gentian

Habitat : It is native to the western United States, where it grows in mountain forests, woodlands, and meadows. the northwestern United States, where it grows in open areas in mountain habitat.

It is a perennial herb growing from a woody base surrounded by rosettes of large leaves that measure up to 50 centimeters long by 15 wide. It produces a single erect stem which can reach two meters in height. The stem bears whorls of lance-shaped, pointed leaves smaller than those at the base. The plant is monocarpic, growing for several years and only flowering once before it dies. Flowering is synchronized among plants in a given area, with widespread, picturesque blooms occurring periodically. The inflorescence is a tall, erect panicle with flowers densely clustered at the top and then spread out in interrupted clusters below. Each flower has a calyx of four pointed sepals and a corolla of four pointed lobes each one to two centimeters long. The corolla is yellow-green with purple spots and each lobe has two fringed nectary pits at the base. There are four stamens tipped with large anthers and a central ovary.


Cultivation: Requires a moist but well-drained position and a stony peaty soil. Requires an acidic soil. A very ornamental plant.

Propagation: Seed – sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in late winter

Edible Uses:  Root. It has been reported that the N. American Indians ate the fleshy root of this plant, but caution is advised since the roots of closely related plants are used medicinally as emetics and cathartics. See the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses;
An infusion of the dried, powdered leaves, or the root, has been used in the treatment of diarrhea. A cooled decoction of the roots has been used in the treatment of asthma, colds, digestive complaints etc. An infusion of the plant has been used as a contraceptive.  Primarily a medicine for the digestive tract.  Similar to Gentian in its effect, it is more energetic and irritating.  A stimulant to stomach and small intestinal secretions and contractions, it makes a bitter tonic especially useful for the elderly. The dried root is powdered, 6-8 tablespoons added to a pint of brandy and it is steeped for at least a week; a tablespoon is taken before meals.  A pinch of the powder in sweetened water has a similar effect.  One-half to one teaspoon of the root powder boiled in water will act as a laxative-cathartic.  More than a teaspoon can act as an irritant to the large intestine, and in any respect, Cebadilla should be used as a laxative only occasionally.  The root can also serve as a fungicide for athlete’s foot and the like.  Sometimes effective as a tincture for ringworm, but care should be taken when used on children it can irritate the skin.  In New Mexico the powdered root is melted in lard and applied on the scalp to kill lice or rubbed on the legs to kill scabies.

Other Uses:…..Parasiticide...….The root, when ground into a powder and then mixed with oil, has been used as a parasiticide in order to kill lice.

Known Hazards :  When used medicinally, large doses of the powdered root have proved fatal.

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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