Native Plants: The Hydrangea and its Many Health Benefits
Benefits of the Native Hydrangea
Native plants are not only easier to grow and maintain but often have many hidden benefits. The hydrangea, for example, is native to the US, and has been used for ages for its wide range of health benefits. The very familiar hydrangea (see photo) is often used just for its beauty, but it has also been used for medicinal purposes by the Cherokee people and is often used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).
Below is a Q and A list for the hydrangea and links to other native plants.
Is the hydrangea only native to the US?
In addition to North America, the hydrangea is native to the Himalayas, South America, and eastern and central Asia.
Can you give a short description?
Hydrangeas (hydrangea arborescens) belongs to a group of woody climbers and flowering shrubs. Mostly deciduous, some of hydrangea species are evergreen.
How has the hydrangea been used for healing?
The hydrangea has been used for a wide variety of ailments including:
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Certain types of diabetes
Immune System problems - Substances from the root of the hydrangea have been used as an alternative treatment for immune system problems.
Scientist believe the root has substances that are capable of combating conditions affecting the immune system.
What is this substance from the root?
The substance from the root is used as a medication and is known as halofuginone. Researchers have found that halofuginone keeps the body from producing harmful white blood cells that are often associated with immune system diseases.
Why has the FDA recently given halofuginone Orphan Drug Status?
This designation is intended to encourage research and development for the treatment of scleroderma. Scleroderma is a chronic autoimmune condition that affects the connective tissues which causes an increase in the production of collagen type 1. Excess amounts of this collagen can lead to disfigurement and can also be deadly.
Are there other medicinal uses for the hydrangea?
Hydrangea has long been used for a number of other medicinal purposes, such as:
- to promote the health of the prostate
- to promote the health of the urinary tract
- to fight infection
- for the treatment of cystitis, prostatitis and urethritis
- The hydrangea root stimulates the kidneys to release fluid and prevent formation of gravel
- The root is believed to be a beneficial blood cleanser which may treat lymphatic conditions
- hydrangea is also used to relieve swelling from arthritis, gout and edema, and to provide relief for chronic rheumatoid arthritis.
For more beneficial plants, and native plants see the links below.
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