Why Get to know this plant:
Found easily on beaches all over Vancouver Island and mainland coastal areas. It is highly recommended for bronchitis and asthma due to its its ability to relax smooth muscle. Two actions of this plant make it very effective to treat the respiratory system: it loosens the mucous in the lungs and relaxes muscles to help expel it – therefore acting as an expectorant. It also can be used to treat the heart by it’s ability to relax smooth muscles and lowering the pulse rate of the heart and thereby the blood pressure.
Externally it can be applied to treat skin irritation such as that caused by poison ivy
Where This Plant grows:
Gumweed grows on dry beaches, coastal bluffs and along ditches or roadsides.
How to Identify gumweed:
Identify this perennial herb by spotting the spikey looking flowers or buds that are sticky to touch. Leaves are large lanceolate shaped and slightly toothed. Flowers are bright yellow ray flowers and bracts are sticky, green and reflexed.
Sticky buds before flowering, have a resinous sap that is beneficial, leaf in early summer before dried out from sunshine.
Antispasmotic, expectorant, hypotensive, antiasthmatic
Make sure that you speak to your doctor before taking gumweed, especially if you have an existing heart condition or are taking heart medication.
Constituents in the plant:
Diterpenes (grindelic acid and others)
Flavonoids (including acacetin, kumatakenin, quercetin);
Volatile oils (0.2%)
Keane, Kahlee (2015) The Standing People: Wild Medicinal Plants of British Columbia. Save our Species publishing. p.40
Hoffman, David (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal MedicineHealing Arts Press. USA. p.553-554.