Lomatium is a member of the Parsley Family as indicated by its characteristic umbel-shaped inflorescence. Often referred to as Indian Celery, other common names this species of Lomatium include Indian Consumption Plant, Bare-stem Desert Parsley, Wild Celery, or Qexmin (sounds like 'guckmeen') as our local First Nations call it.
Lomatium has a rich, deep, and culturally significant history on the Coast where has been used for medicine and ceremonial purposes for thousands of years.
I've witnessed extensive patches of along the sunny open sand dunes of Vancouver Island. The plants sprout up lovely slightly blue-green tinged leaves in the spring growing to 6-8" high. The leaves have a celery-like flavour and can be used to flavour cooking. Tiny yellow flowers begin to open in cluster atop a sturdy umbel stem in May. The plants slowly transform in the summer months as the umbel rises upward like an open hand in offering.
Through the month of June the tiny seeds, light green often tinged with maroon, swell to over a centimetre long and half as plump. The seeds are the medicinal part, and they can be harvested anytime in July and August. I like to pick them when the are big and plump and still green for medicine making. For viable seed it is best to wait until a bit later when they are completely ripe and dry, papery and brown in colour.
Lomatium seeds have been traditionally used on the Coast as a preventative for colds, flus, tuberculosis, and other bacterial and viral infections. Medicinally they are powerfully antiviral, antibacterial, diaphoretic and diuretic. They act as an immune stimulant and help to fight off infection at the onset of illness and speed up recover time. They help you to eliminate toxins through the channels of sweating and urination. The seeds are a warming digestive bitter that can increase digestive fire and stimulate appetite. Taken before menstruation Lomatium can help relieve bloating and promote menstrual flow.
Lomatium can be grown in regular garden soil but prefers fast draining sandy soil and full sun. #lomatium #wildcelery #desertparsley #medicinalherbs #pnwnativeplants #pnwgardening #herbalism #organicgardening #naturesmedicine