Health Benefits of Mountain Laurel

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Mountain Laurel Quick Facts
Name: Mountain Laurel
Scientific Name: Kalmia latifolia
Origin Eastern United States
Mountain Laurel is found in rocky hills or elevated ground in most parts of United States measuring 4-8 ft. high with crooked stems and rough bark. Leaves are evergreen measuring 2-3 inches long. Flowers are numerous, white found in June and July. Flowers are round which ranges from light pink to white forming in clusters. Several named cultivars have darker shades of pink, maroon and near red pigment. Naturally it is found on rocky slopes and mountainous forest areas. It thrives well in acidic soil and prefers soil pH in the range 4.5 to 5.5. It is used to cure various skin diseases and inflammation.

Also known as calico bush, mountain laurel or spoonwood, it is a broadleaved evergreen shrub which belongs to the heather family, Ericaceae inherent to eastern United States. The range stretches from Southern Maine south to northern Florida and west to Indiana and Lousiana.

Facts About Mountain Laurel

Name Mountain Laurel
Scientific Name Kalmia latifolia
Native Eastern United States
Common/English Name Sheep Laurel, Lambkili, Spoonwood, Mountain Laurel, Calico-bush, spoonwood
Name in Other Languages English: Mountain-laurel, Calico-bush, Mountain laurel, Spoonwood
Swedish: Bredbladig kalmia;
French: Kalmia à feuilles larges
Medicinal Part The leaves
Plant Growth Habit Broadleaved evergreen shrub
Soil Cool, moist, rich, acidic, humusy, well-drained
Leaves Lance-shaped, glossy, 3–12 cm long and 1–4 cm wide
Flowering Season May and June
Flower Light pink to white

Leaves

Leaves are alternate, simple, elliptical and 2 to 5 inches long with entire margin, pointed tip and mid-vein raised on upper surfaces, shiny/waxy green above, yellow green below.

Flower

Flower is monoecious, 3 to 6 inches across and white to rose colored with purple markings. Each flower 1 inch across and have petals forming a distinct firm bowl around the pistil and stamens. It appears in late spring and early summer.

Fruit

Fruit is a round and brown dehiscent capsule, about ¼ inch long which split into five valves when dried and occurs in clusters. It has small seeds when matured in fall.

Twig

Twigs are forked and twisted, green or r ed when young and become brownish red later.

Bark

Bark is thin and dark brown, shredding and splitting on old stems.

Medicinal uses

  • Leaves infusion are used as disinfectant wash and liniment for treating pain, rheumatism, scratches, inflammation and eliminate body parasites.
  • Use the leaves internally for treating hemorrhages, flux and diarrhea.
  • It could be used for treating inflammatory fevers, syphilis, paralytic conditions, neuralgia, angina and tinnitus.
  • Cherokee use the leaves infusion on pain.
  • Use the leaves decoction for diarrhea.
  • Make ointment for skin diseases by stewing leaves in pure lard in an earthenware vessel in hot oven.
  • Use the leaves infusion externally for skin problems and inflammatory problems.
  • Apply the expressed juice of plant sap topically to rheumatic pains.

Precautions

  • When used in excess cause headache, vertigo, salivation, loss of sight, nausea, thirst, slow pulse, palpitations and difficulty in breathing.
  • Indians use the expressed leaves juice or strong decoction to commit suicide.

Externally

Stew with lard as an ointment for various skin irritations.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=23677#null

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia

https://practicalplants.org/wiki/Kalmia_latifolia

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/l/laumou12.html

http://herbs-treatandtaste.blogspot.com/2012/07/mountain-laurel-native-to-usahealth.html

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