Herbs & Plants

Euonymous atropurpurea

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Botanical Name: Euonymous atropurpurea
Family :Celastraceae – Bittersweet family
Genus : Euonymus L. – spindletree
Species: Euonymus atropurpureus Jacq. – burningbush
Kingdom : Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom:Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision; Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Celastrales

Synonym: Euonymus atropurpureus Jacq.

Common Name:wahoo

Habitat : Primarily a species of eastern North America, wahoo at the northern edge of its range occurs from Maine and New York west to Montana in the Great Plains, principally occurring from the Upper Midwest and the Northeast to Louisiana and Florida in the main portion of its range. It is considered rare in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ontario, and South Carolina (NatureServe 2006).

Euonymus atropurpurea is a small to medium shrub or small tree arising from rhizomes, typically ranging to about 4 m in height in Michigan (Barnes and Wagner 1980). The relatively slender, somewhat delicate twigs are green and often faintly lined, but lack corky wings. The twigs bear opposite, thin, elliptic leaves that are finely toothed and have a pointed (short-acuminate) tip. The leaves are a somewhat dull green color above and finely hairy beneath, turning a bright scarlet color in the fall. The flowers, produced in stalked, more or less loose clusters from the leaf axils (bases), are purplish, four-petaled and insect-pollinated. When mature, the four-lobed fruit (which is a capsule) is pink, containing seeds that develop a bright, scarlet aril (a covering or accessory appendage). As the fruit dries and opens, the combination of the pink capsule with the bright red seeds is an indication of ripeness to birds, the primary consumer and disperser.

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Medicinal Uses:
Many  native American peoples used wahoo bark in various ways, as an eye lotion, a poultice for facial sores and for gynecological conditions.  Native Americans introduced the plant to early European settlers, and it became very popular in Britain as well as in North America in the 19th century.  Wahoo bark is considered a gallbladder remedy with laxative and diuretic properties.   It is prescribed for biliousness and liver problems as well as for skin conditions such as eczema (which may result from poor liver and gall bladder function), and for constipation.  In small doses, Euonymin stimulates the appetite and the flow of the gastric juice. In larger doses, it is irritant to the intestine and is cathartic. It has slight diuretic and expectorant effects, but its only use is as a purgative in cases of constipation in which the liver is disordered, and for which it is particularly efficacious. It is specially valuable in liver disorders which follow or accompany fever. It is mildly aperient and causes no nausea, at the same time stimulating the liver somewhat freely, and promoting a free flow of bile. It the past, it was often used in combination with herbs such as gentian as a fever remedy, especially if the liver was under stress.  Following the discovery that it contains cardiac glycosides, wahoo bark has been given for heart conditions. It is also a remedy for dandruff and scalp problems.

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.


Click to access Euonymus_atropurpurea.pdf

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