Grindelia - Gumweed

Torey Posts: 5,640 admin
edited August 2022 in Wild Edibles & Medicinals

I have known for awhile that we had Grindelia growing in this area but I had never identified it before. We were out yesterday (to our local garlic festival) and on the way home, I noticed that some of the Yellow Salsify (it has become a very invasive weed here) was flowering again. Then I spotted what I thought looked like dandelions flowering again. But so many?

So it was a "Stop the Car" moment. I jumped out and went to snap off a stem to take home to identify but by the time I got back to the car, I was already jumping up and down with excitement as I realized that it was gumweed. So sticky! All over the plant but particularly around the flower head. A quick check in the plant ID book I had in the car confirmed it. The species we have here is Grindelia squarrosa, although there are two other species in BC, too, G. stricta and G. hirsutata. 60 species found across North and South America, so there is likely to be a species found in most areas.

So on to the medicinal uses of Grindelia: Mucolytic. Bronchodilotor. Antispasmodic. Smooth muscle relaxant. Breaks up mucous in the lungs. Used in formulas for UTIs. Doc Jones has it on a list of herbal first aid plants for use on lacerations. I also think gumweed honey would be excellent for use on wounds. Energetics: Cooling, moistening.

This is a link to a podcast Rosalee de la Foret did with Lisa Ganora on Grindelia. There is a recipe for a respiratory elixir at the bottom of the page.

Its been raining for a couple of days but as soon as it dries up I will be going for a picking journey for gumweed.