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June Flora Spotlight:
Wild Quinine

Wild Quinine
Parthenium integrifolium

One of the most garden-worthy native perennials, wild quinine has all the characteristics one looks for in a good garden plant: good form, excellent foliage, long bloom time and resistance to just about every bug, disease and weather problem there is. Wild quinine grows to a height of about 3 feet and has small, white daisy like flowers that grow in clusters. It grows best in full sun and rich loamy soils . This plant is drought tolerant and is suitable for xeriscaping. 

Wild Quinine is a very valuable medicinal herb. It has traditionally been used in alternative medicine to treat debility, fatigue, respiratory and gastrointestinal infection. The tops of the plant have a medicinal “quinine-like” bitterness and used to treat intermittent fevers. This earned the plant one of its common names, feverfew.

The Catawba and other tribes in the southeastern United States used wild quinine for medicinal and veterinary purposes. The leaves contain tannin, which is thought to be beneficial for treating burns. The leaves were mashed into a moist, thick paste, which was then applied as a poultice for burns. Burns were also treated by placing the whole, fresh leaves over the wounded area. Tea from the boiled roots was used to treat dysentery. Native Americans also used this plant for coughs and sore throats. 

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