Fernleaf Biscuitroot

Suburban Pioneer
Suburban Pioneer Posts: 339 ✭✭✭
edited March 2021 in Growing Medicinals

I recently found a source for live roots of the two types of native Biscuitroot; Fernleaf and Nudicale. I chose to get some fernleaf roots because they're supposed to be the more medicinal of the two species. Has anybody tried growing biscuitroot? I'm going to divide the bundles of roots in half and plant them in two different places on our property to see how the survival and growth rates compare. Biscuitroot is supposed to be highly anti-viral. Anybody experienced with making medicine from it?



  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    I have never grown either plant but several of the Lomatium species grow in my general area. They grow in very dry areas in full sun.

    I haven't made medicine with it but purchase a tincture to keep in my medicine stash. Lomatium is very useful for treating respiratory virus'. It is very often combined with Balsamroot (Balsamorhiza sagittata). In my area Balsamroot grows in the same habitat as Lomatium, often side by side.

    Good luck with growing your plants! Let us know how it goes.

  • nksunshine27
    nksunshine27 Posts: 343 ✭✭✭

    @torey and @Suburban Pioneer same here i have also notice that in the hills they grow more on one side that the other. i found very few biscuit root and read up on them in our area they are very important to the bird so my option was to take the seeds and plant more of them in the wild. Doc Jones also said that some herbs are better found in the wild example would be yellow dock ya i can find it in a pasture were it gets lots of water and easy to dig but the problem is its basically worthless as medicinal meds. so we have to either find it where it turns into good meds. or grow it in those conditions like in the wild, unfortunately we really want to water and take care of the plants when sometimes we need to just let them grow without our interference

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 339 ✭✭✭

    I received my biscuitroots a couple of weeks ago! Potted up four and are starting them on our sun porch. So far, so great! I planted three outside in a somewhat protected area with fairly rich, well-draining soil, and they appear to be pretty happy, too, Going to plant the last root outdoors today and ordered one more in a gallon pot to try in a third area. That was a good suggestion about the balsamroot! I have a couple that I started out last year in a different area, and they look like they survived. I'll purchase more this year and plant them around the lomatium in the section of the flower strip that I set aside for natives. I'll keep you apprised on how well they do! Looking forward to making a new form of powerful medicine if all goes well.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @Suburban Pioneer A lot of the info surrounding the medicinal uses of Lomatium comes from anecdotal reports of how it was used by First Nations during the Spanish flu epidemic. But more recently, studies are being done to determine how and why Lomatium works.

    This is one with regards to Lomatium and Influenza A. https://restorativemedicine.org/journal/lomatium-dissectum-inhibits-secretion-of-cxcl10-a-chemokine-associated-with-poor-prognosis-in-highly-pathogenic-influenza-a-infection/

    This one is just the abstract but it links Lomatium to antibacterial properties against Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.1828?casa_token=Qb02LVZjZAsAAAAA:C0ynf9Fi52HdKg_gkzPBgMxSv6Br5A121t_rfWThrA5Qwh7InFlJr4tLBWKDz5oX7_5fGMJgKsgWz_dT6Q

    Again, just an abstract but it discusses Lomatium's inhibition of rotovirus. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0378874195900373

    Lomatium definitely deserves more research. I think it is awesome that you are growing it.

  • silvertipgrizz
    silvertipgrizz Posts: 1,990 ✭✭✭✭✭

    @Suburban Pioneer

    Where did you get your Fernleaf Biscuitroot?

  • Marjory Wildcraft
    Marjory Wildcraft Posts: 1,613 admin
    edited March 2021

    I've gone out with a wild tender, Nikki Hill, and we harvested it for food. Best time to dig in the late summer when the seeds are about to drop. It's a very compatible food for humans as when you dig the root you help loosen the soil and essentially plants the seeds for the next year(s). Since it often grows in hard dry soils your digging and breaking ground is greatly appreciated by the seeds. It used to be a staple in the high desert areas of the US West. Nikki showed me areas where there was still some patches of it. And she pointed out that the small patch we were looking at used to be a vast plain of biscuitroot that was tended and harvested by the First Nations peoples. There were many such areas full of breadroot. Without human harvesting it was struggling. She told me that she and a handful of other wild tenders intentionally harvested the root to keep the small patches that exist alive. They know it is such an important food source and humans will again someday want them.

    It's one of those great wild foods that isn't that hard to harvest and tastes great right out of the ground - i.e. it doesn't need other processing (like leaching tannis, cooking out toxins, etc.). Although cooking and seasoning if fun.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,632 admin

    @Marjory Wildcraft

    There was a lot more "agriculture" going on by First Nations than settlers' historical accounts would have us believe. I attended an Ethnobotany class a few years ago. In one of the walks we went into the estuary to harvest rice root. But we weren't just harvesting. The bulblets were removed and the "grandfather" bulb was replanted. On another walk, one of the other students asked an elder why she was picking some whole branches of fruit when we were gathering soapberries. The elder replied that she was pruning as she went.

    First Nations weren't thought of as gardening because they didn't have fenced plots with straight rows of different veggies or fruit all in one plot. Instead they maintained the crop where they found it. In the Pacific Northwest where berries are abundant, families had plots that they were responsible for.

    In an area close to me there is a wild "potato" (Claytonia lanceolata) that was commonly harvested by First Nations. Now when you go to the area where this plant lives, it can still be found but the size of the bulbs is nowhere near the size that used to be harvested. The suggestion is now that because the plants fell out of common use (with the more easily obtainable store bought food), they have become crowded and the bulbs are so much smaller. So they need human help to maintain their size through harvesting and at the same time scattering seed, as for the biscuitroot.

    We all need to utilize more traditional foods and maintain our plant diversity in doing so.

  • Suburban Pioneer
    Suburban Pioneer Posts: 339 ✭✭✭

    I agree. And the native form of gardening has served as the inspiration for what I'm trying to achieve on our property. I prefer to forage rather than pick veggies from farm-style rows, but I have to tell you, attempting to re-create a foragable ecosystem, especially one that looks attractive, instead of just planting standard garden veggies in rows is one HECKUVA' lot more difficult! But, it's definitely a labor of love ❤️

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