Latin: Pedicularis (various species)
Parts Used: Aerial parts
Taste/Energetics: Sweet, bitter, cooling
Properties: Antispasmodic, analgesic, anxiolytic, occ. eupohric
Actions: Pedicularis is an herb that is not well known outside of herbalist circles and the underground/head shop world. It is one of the most delightful and beautiful plants one can find in the wild and there are 23 species that grow here in the NorthWest alone and upwards of 500 worldwide. Many of the species have a very nice antispasmodic and analgesic effect that is especially useful for skeletal muscle tension and pain. This is for the person who has overworked or tweaked themselves working too hard in the field or lifting kettle bells. At low doses it has a nice pain relieving quality but at higher doses it can induce greater relaxation, sedation and for a few some disorientation and spaciness.
I hesitate to talk about this plant too much because it is not excessively common, sometimes threatened, and I would never want it over harvested. There are a number of other options for skeletal muscle pain relievers (Jamaican Dogwood, black cohosh, kava, vervain) that are more easy to procure ethically. If you go to a headshop you will find a number of different Pediuclaris species for sale such as Elephant’s Head (P. greonlandica) and the potent Indian Warrior (P. densiflora) and like many offerings here, it is often uncertain how these herbs were procured and there are often issues of ethical harvesting.
Dosage: Ethically harvested tincture is your best bet- a dose as low as 10 drops can be effective to 2 ml, to 3 x/day. Pedicularis can be smoked as well- just a pinch of the dried flowers for good effect. Too scarce to make tea of this precious herb.
Contraindications: Pedicularis has the potential to pick up toxic compounds from other plants via the root system so its key to be careful harvesting this plant. Otherwise, avoid in large doses with sedative drugs, hypotensives, in pregnancy.
Pedicularis monograph by 7song