Common Milkweed, Asclepius syriaca, is an extremely useful plant to know. Besides being edible and used for its medicinal properties it has a slew of other uses such as making cordage, bowstrings, fishing line, and thread. The dry down in the seedpods can be used for insulation and it makes a great tinder bundle for starting a fire. As for its edibility you can eat the young shoots and flowers but you’ll have to prepare them first to get rid of their bitter and toxic properties. Medicinally, it has been used to induce urination, start menstrual flow, cause vomiting, kills parasitic worms and acts like a laxative.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry.
Common Milkweed Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software. Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Brill, Steve. Wild Edibles Plus. Computer Software. WinterRoot LLC. Version 1.5. 2012. Web. Feb. 15, 2014.
Felter, Harvey Wickes, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D. King’s American Dispensatory, Vol. 1. Cincinnati: The Ohio Valley Company, 1905. pg. 291-292
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 175
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 44
Herrick, James William. Iroquois Medical Botany. Ph.D. Thesis, New York: State University of New York, Albany 1977. Print. pg. 199-200
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 108-109
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 264-265
Peterson, Lee Allen. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants; Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1977. Print. pg. 112-113
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
Wescott, David. Primitive Technology; A Book of Earth Skills, Salt Lake City: Gibbs Smith Publisher, 1999. pg. 35