Young shoots - raw or cooked. Added to salads or used as a potherb. The large leaves and petioles are boiled and eaten. When eaten in large quantities they act like sleeping pills to cause sleepiness. The young flowering stem can be peeled and eaten raw like celery. Seed - raw or cooked. A highly prized source of food. It can be roasted, ground into a powder and used with cereals when making bread. The raw seed can also be ground into a powder then formed into cakes and eaten without cooking. The seed is rich in oil. Oil. The seed was a prized source of oil for many native North Americans.The roasted root is a coffee substitute.
The root is antirheumatic, diuretic, cathartic, diaphoretic, febrifuge and vulnerary. An infusion of the leaves, roots and stems has been used as a treatment for stomach pains, colds, whooping cough, TB, fevers and headaches. A decoction of the root has been taken at the beginning of labour to insure easy delivery. The juice from the chewed root is allowed to trickle down the throat to treat sore mouths and throats whilst the root has also been chewed to treat toothaches. The smoke from the root has been inhaled as a remedy for body aches such as rheumatism. The root is chewed or pounded and used as a paste on wounds, blisters, bites, swellings and sores. A poultice made from the coarse, large leaves has been used to treat severe burns. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash for poison ivy rash and running sores.The seeds have been eaten as a treatment for dysentery.
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