Friday, March 28, 2008

Bleedingheart dicentra formosa Pacific Northwest

A few Bleedinghearts dicentra formosa are showing their blooms early. Bleedingheart is one of the first plants I remember my Grandpa & Grandma pointing out to me as a child. The unique shape of the flowers made it an easy plant for me to identify. Bleedingheart likes moist soil and is common on the foothills of the mountains here in the Pacific Northwest. The flowers range from pale to deep pink. The leaves resemble ferns and are just beautiful. When crushed, the bleedingheart smells a little like poppy, they are in separate families but are pretty closely related.

Bleedingheart is one of the plants I want to practice with more this year. I felt a strong attraction to it recently, my mother suffering from an undiagnosed autoimmune condition they think may be fibromyagia or polymyalgia rheumatica.When her symptoms got worse and she was having to take more pain medication, this plant kept coming into the forefront of my mind. She is getting of the medication, I am thinking this plant will be an excellent asset for her.

A third generation curandero friend of mine Charles (Chuck) Garcia
uses bleedingheart frequently both for himself and in his herbal practice. When I asked Chuck for his thoughts on bleedingheart he replied enthusiastically that he absolutely loves the plant. I wanted to share some of his insight. I plan on working with the plant more, look for more from me to come in future blog posts.

Chuck prefers using and making a fresh root tincture 1 to 2, in 150 rum, using anywhere from 10 to 30 drops.
Internally he has found it effective for the aftermath of accidents, attacks, trauma, especially if the after effect is a continued racing heart or the beginning of an asthma attack. It can be useful for quickly induced depression caused by the former. It breaks the cycle of grief-shock, and allows the person to function. He has used it on himself when his mother suddenly passed away and he was barely able to function the week before her funeral.
It can also be used for the type of trauma that causes the body to have hyper sensitivity. Clothes feel like weights...and wool feels like a hair shirt.
He has combined this with California Poppy tincture to help trauma victims sleep.
It can also be used topically, though it may take a bit of time to kick in. Some can be put on cotton ball and inserted it around an abscessed tooth. While the root of yarrow acts much faster, Bleeding Heart goes deeper down the nerve. It can also be used on painful surgical scars as a liniment.

He has found it to be a stop-gap for clients with fibromyalgia and RSDS (like himself) who have to wait for months or years to get effective narcotics legally to deal with the pain.

It tends to slow down the heart a he tends to watch the effect of first time users and try to gauge how slow their heart should go.
For tachycardia clients, he adds- this is a godsend.

Chuck also adds that Moore writes that it is an appetite stimulant and tonic for those who are coming out of a long term illness, but he has never found it to be so.

Thanks to Chuck for his wonderful incite on this awesome herb!

Reference Plants and Animals of the Pacific Northwest, by Eugen Kozloff


Oakmoss Changeling said...

Nice post on an unusual herb. I use Bleeding Heart's close relative Golden Smoke (Corydalis aurea) in a nearly identical way, though I'd be very interested in comparing the two.

Angie Goodloe LMT, Herbalist said...

Thanks Kiva, I will have to work with this plant more, we can share & compare with each other:)

Mystery Ranch said...

So glad I found your blog. I have bleeding heart in front of my house. I make a flower essence of it and use it for releasing painful emotional attachments and for grief. I would appreciate your comments on my blog- and
my website
Especially my Herbalist page which is still developing.