Spiritual Gardens- Fleabane

2 min readAug 28, 2023

Found on the grounds of Solel Congregation, fleabane is a native plant to North America known to have edible and medicinal uses. Native American tribes that have used the plant for medicinal purposes include the Cherokee, Houma, Catawba tribes.

Identifying Fleabane

Coming from the sunflower family, is a biennial or perennial weedy herb. The fleabane’s habitat is moist to very wet conditions. The plant can grow in meadows, flood plains, and stream banks. Fleabane can often be seen at wet roadsides. Fleabane does best in direct sun. The plant size varies depending on habitat.

  • Hemispherical, aster-like flowers ( 1.5–2.5 cm) diameter
  • Blooms in the springtime
  • Yellow center to flowers
  • The yellow center is surrounded with about 100–150 small white petals (5–10mm) long
  • Flowers grow on branches on top of 30–90cm tall stems
  • Each branch can have several flowers
  • Basal leaves on the plant are wider at the bottom
  • Flowers close their face at night
  • Leaves are toothed and hairy
  • Variations in petal color can be found to light pink or purple hues

Medicinal Purposes

  • The Cherokee used fleabane to treat epilepsy
  • Poultices were made to treat headaches
  • Roots may be chewed or made into tea to treat coughs and the common cold
  • Head colds may be cured by breathing in the smoke of the plant
  • Mixed with other herbs it can treat inflammation of nose and throat
  • A tea from the boiled plant can break fever
  • The plant boiled and mixed with tallow can create a balm for skin sores
  • Boiled roots were consumed to treat menstruation trouble
  • The plant was used to treat dim sight, though it is unclear how

Edible Purposes

  • Cow and deer can graze on this plant
  • The leaves can blossoms can be eaten as well as roots (if boiled)
  • They can be boiled, eaten raw, or baked into food
  • They can also be steamed with other greens for a salad
  • Fleabane contains antioxidants and caffeine acid- it is a stimulant!
  • The leaves hold antioxidants
  • The roots are anti inflammatory
  • The flowers can reduce mucus
  • While fleabane can be safe for human consumption, it is toxic for dogs and cats

Myth (Greek)

  • The herb is associated with Hephaestus (son of Hera)
  • Fleabane is considered a fire herb, and dried fleabane was used to begin fires for its association
  • Fleabane was placed at doors to repel fleas (though it is unclear if this is effective)
  • Because it is believed to repel insects, fleabane was also considered a repellent for evil spirits