Thursday, April 29, 2010

iPhone Diary Series

iPhone Diary: 7 April 2009
The flowers of Indian paintbrush are edible and sweet, and were consumed in moderation by various American Indian tribes as a condiment with other fresh greens. These plants have a tendency to absorb and concentrate Selenium in their tissues from the soils in which they grow, and can be potentially very toxic if the roots or green parts of the plant are consumed.

The Chippewa Indians used a hairwash made from Indian Paintbrush to make their hair glossy and full bodied and as a treatment for rheumatism. The high selenium content of this plant has been cited as the reason for its effectiveness for these purposes. Nevada Indian Tribes used the plant to treat venereal diseases and to enhance the immune system. Various other tribes used the plant as its name suggests -- as a paintbrush.

The high Selenium content of this plant makes it potentially toxic if consumed in large quantities. This plant should be avoided as food if found growing in highly alkaline soils, which will increase the selenium levels in the plants. Indian Paintbrush has similar health benefits to consuming garlic if only the flowers are eaten in small amounts and in moderation.

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