Just about everyone who’s even paid passing attention to gardening has seen (or grown) black-eyed Susan flowers at some point. It’s a hardy, perennial wildflower with striking, yellow, daisy-like flowers and dark-brown centers. They’re incredibly common, and grow wild all over our land without any care.
We know that Native american tribes used black-eyed Susan wildflowers to treat snakebites, earaches, and get rid of parasitic worms. It has a long history of treating colds and the flu, but fewer people turn to this popular wildflower for anything other than filling a glass vase over the last century.
However, before you dive into the medicinal uses of black-eyed suzies, be aware that the flowers, leaves, and roots are the parts used in medicine. The seeds are poisonous and are not recommended for safe consumption.
Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta) belong to the asteraceae family and go by a range of names. Some of the most common nicknames include coneflower, brown-eyed Susan, yellow daisy, brown Betty, and yellow ox-eye daisy.
Their blooming season begins in June and continues all summer until September. This native flower is easy to spot because of its diSTInctive flowers. Those are the bright, yellow flowers surrounding a dark brown, circular, domed center.
The great thing about growing these flowers is that they require little to no work on your end. They’re wildflowers, after all, which means they need little to no help from humans to spread and grow prolifically.
If you decide to grow these flowers in your garden, garden nurseries sell them in a range of colors from orange to red to brown. They also sell them in large or smaller sizes that were selected from the standard wild variants.
Recent studies show that black-eyed Susan root extracts might stimulate the immune system better than Echinacea, one of the best known medicinal herbs. These two plants are in the same family and have many of the same properties, making sense that they share this one.
another study found that black-eyed Susan had antibacterial effects against the germ that causes tuberculosis. It contained the same compounds as are found in Elecampane, which is a potent cough remedy and respiratory herb. While TB isn’t as much of a problem as it was decades ago, this shows how effective and potent this plant truly is.
That also means black-eyed Susans are used to treat some of the symptoms of a common cold. This should come as no surprise because we know that North american tribes used this flower to treat colds for centuries. It’s also prized as a way to prevent colds and influenza, the same ways that Echinacea is used.
While they have a number of medicinal uses supported by modern peer-reviewed studies, black-eyed Susan also has a number of folk uses. These haven’t been studied by modern medicine (yet), but I’m adding it mostly for historical interest.
It was historically used as an antibacterial and immune STImulant, and science has supported those traditional uses, so it’s entirely possible that these traditional uses are just as valid, but without studies, it’s hard to be sure.
One of the best-known uses is to use the roots to create an infusion to treat parasitic worms. This is a traditional herbal remedy created by the Ojibwa tribe, also known as the Chippewa. That’s not the only way that you can use this flower.
Black-eyed Susans have diuretic properties, which means it helps to increase the flow of urine. The stem is an effective treatment for those suffering from high blood pressure, and the entire plant treats ulcers and bodily swelling.
Besides treating parasitic worms, the roots from a black-eyed Susan plant are versatile and treat a range of ailments. You can use the juice from the roots to treat an earache naturally. Make a root infusion or tea and soak a cloth in it. Then, apply it to minor cuts, sores, scrapes, or swelling.
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(I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the internet. Please consult your doctor or a qualified herbalist before trying any herbal remedy, and be sure to do your own research, consulting more than one source to verify information.)
This plant was one of my Grandmother’s favorites and she had a large patch of it in her rock garden for years. I have inherited the property and these are STIll a treasure to see each year. and now with your information, I have found even more reasons to treasure them!
Black Eyed Susans are truly very low maintenance as I can attest to. I generally struggle to keep new plants going…STIll learning what is best for my climate, soil etc…but these beauties just keep coming back year after year, with blooms that last all summer long.
Thank you for this information.
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