The Iowan Apothecary

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Read about Iowa’s medicinal plants.  Articles on Iowa’s herbs, published periodically.

Iowa Prairie Driftless | Iowa Herbalist

This “Iowan Apothecary” is called such since I wish to use as much of our immediate native Iowan plants in my practice of herbalism as I can.  All of these plants (except for the cultivated ones) are commonly found throughout Iowa, and which I feel makes up the bulk of the Iowan Materia Medica in the region where I live.  This is called “bioregionalism.”  As I become familiar with more and have access to more, I will add more plants to the apothecary.

Interested in any of these herbs?  Please feel free to contact me for simples or formulas, as I have access/stock of may of these plants.

Agrimonia gryposepala (native)/Agrimonia eupatoria (exotic)

~Alfalfa Medicago sativa (cultivated)

~Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum (Iowa native)

~Anemone Anemone patens (Iowa native)

~Barberry Berberis vulgaris (exotic)

~Black Cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa (Iowa native)

~Black Walnut Juglans nigra (Iowa native)

~Bloodroot Sanguinaria canadensis (Iowa native)

~Burdock Arctium lappa (exotic)

~Canada Yew Taxus canadensis (Iowa native)

~Catnip Nepeta cataria (cultivated)

~Chickweed Stellaria media (exotic)

~Cleavers Galium aparine (exotic)

~Cow Parsnip Heracleum maximum (Iowa native)

~Comfrey Symphytum officinale (cultivated)

~Cottonwood Populus deltoides (Iowa native)

~Dandelion Taraxacum officinale (exotic)

~Echinacea Echinacea purpurea/angustifolia/paradoxa/pallida/tennesseensus (Iowa native/cultivated)

~Eastern Red Cedar Juniperus virginiana (Iowa native)

~Elder Sambucus canadensis (Iowa native), racemosa (Iowa native), or nigra (exotic)

~Estafiate Artemisia ludoviciana (native)

~Evening Primrose Oenothera biennis (native)

~Garlic Allium sativum (cultivated)

~Ginkgo Ginkgo biloba (exotic)

~Goldenrod Solidago canadensis/odorata (Iowa native)

~Ground Ivy Glechoma herderacea (exotic)

~Horsetail Equisetum arvense (Iowa native)

~Jewelweed Impatiens capensis (Iowa native)

~Lemon Balm Melissa officinalis (cultivated)

~Lion’s Mane  Hericium erinaceous (cultivated)

~Marshmallow Althea officinalis (cultivated)

~Motherwort Leonurus cardiaca (exotic)

~Mountain Mint Pycnanthemum virginianum (native)

~Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris (cultivated)

~Mullein Verbascum thapsus (exotic)

~Nettles (Stinging) Urtica dioica (exotic)/urens (Iowa native)

~Oak Quercus spp. (native)

~Peach (Iowa) Prunus persica (Iowa native)

~Plantain Plantago major/lanceolata (exotic)

~Poke Phytolacca americana (native)

~Black Raspberry Rubus idaeus (Iowa native)

~Ragweed  Ambrosia artemisifolia/trifida (native)

~Red Clover Trifolium pratense (native)

~Rosemary Rosemarinus officinalis (exotic)

~Sumac (Smooth/Staghorn) Rhus glabra/typhina (Iowa native)

~Skunk Cabbage  Symplocarpus foetidus  (Iowa native)

~Solomon’s Seal Polygonatium biflorum/multiflorum (Iowa native)

~St. John’s Wort Hypericum perforatum (exotic)

~Sweet Cicely/Sweetroot Osmorrhiza spp. (Iowa native)

~Sweet Leaf (Wild Bergamot) Mondarda fistulosa (Iowa native)

~Sweet Flag (Calamus) Acorus calamus (Iowa native)

~Teasel Dipsacus sylvestris (native)

~Vervain (Blue) Verbena hastata (Iowa native)

~Violet Viola odorata (exotic)

~White Pine Pinus strobus (Iowa native)

~Wild Cherry Prunus serotina (Iowa native)

~Wild Ginger Asarum spp. (Iowa native)

~Wild Lettuce Lactuca virosa/canadensis (native)

~Willow Salix spp. (native)

~Yarrow Achillea millefolium (exotic)

~Yellow Dock Rumex crispus (native)

….more, no doubt, to come

This list of herbs are all plants I work with, have worked with, could work with and/or which I am acquainted with.  All grow right out here where I live, in rural Eastern Iowa; either that or they are sourced from the dense forests and creeks of the beautiful Driftless Region, Northeast Iowa, along the Upper Mississippi.  This area is a secret wilderness that I have found is incredibly overlooked and underrepresented nationally.  I go up there regularly to fish for trout in the cold-fed streams, and I harvest right next to these streams so I can assure that any plants I take from the Driftless of Iowa are found in the most pristine, protected, and untouched areas possible.

This list is by no means the limit of what I know, what I work with or what I have access to!  If there is a plant (or lichen, or fungus) not appearing on this list which you are curious about, feel free to contact me about it.

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