Other names: Seven Barks, Wild Hydrangea, Hydrangea vulgaris
Habitat: Eastern N. America – New York to Florida, west to Ohio, Oklahoma and Indiana. Rich woods, banks of streams and calcareous rocky slopes.
Hydrangea was used by the North American Indians as a remedy for kidney and bladder stones and is still used for these purposes in modern herbalism. It is considered to both encourage the expulsion of stones and to help dissolve those that remain. The roots are anthelmintic, cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic and tonic. They are used in the treatment of kidney stones, mucous irritations of the bladder, cystitis, nephritis, enlarged prostate and bronchial afflictions. Excessive doses can cause dizziness and bronchial congestion. The fresh roots are very succulent and can be easily cut, when dry they become very tough and resistant. The scraped bark is used as a poultice on wounds, burns, sore muscles, sprains etc. The bark is chewed in the treatment of stomach and heart ailments. The leaves are cathartic, diuretic, sialagogue and tonic.
Description of Hydrangea:
Hydrangea arborescens,Hydrangea is a deciduous Shrub growing to 3 m (9ft) by 2 m (6ft).
It is hardy to zone 3 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jul to August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.
Cultivation of Hydrangea:
Tolerates most soils, thriving in a well-drained loamy soil, but resenting dryness at the roots. Requires partial shade. Does well on very acid soils with a pH around 4.5. In frosty areas it is best to site the plant in a position shaded from the early morning sun. A good bee plant. The flowers are sweetly scented. Plants are best left unpruned. Another report says that the previous year’s flowering shoots should be cut back in early spring. This species is notably susceptible to honey fungus.
Propagation of Hydrangea:
Seed – surface sow in a greenhouse in spring. Cover the pot with paper until the seed germinates. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 8cm long, July/August in a frame. Overwinter in a greenhouse and plant out in late spring. Thick growths make the best cuttings, but these should be placed in individual pots. Good percentage. Cuttings of mature wood in late autumn in a frame. Mound layering in spring. Takes 12 months. Division of suckers in late winter. They can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. Leaf-bud cuttings of the current seasons growth in a frame.
Collection: The roots should be unearthed in the autumn. Clean and slice whilst still fresh as they become very hard on drying. They are harvested in the autumn and it is best to cut them into short sections before drying them.
Culinary uses of Hydrangea:
Edible Parts: Stem.
The peeled branches and twigs have been used to make a tea. The new growth of young twigs has been peeled, boiled thoroughly then fried and eaten.
Actions: Diuretic, anti-lithic.
Part Used: Dried roots and rhizome.
Indications: Hydrangea’s greatest use is in the treatment of inflamed or enlarged prostate glands. It may also be used for urinary stones or gravel associated with infections such as cystitis.
Ellingwood gives the following specific symptomatology for this under used remedy: “frequent urination with heat, burning, accompanied with quick, sharp, acute pains in the urethra; partial suppression of urine with general irritation and aching or pain in the back, pain from the passage of renal sand, are direct indications for this agent. I am convinced after a lifetime of experience that it is more specifically, more universally a sedative to pain and distress in kidneys and urinary bladder than any other one remedy.” He gives the following indications: acute nephritis, lithaemia, backache due to urinary tract problems, urinary irritation.
Preparations & Dosage:
Decoction: put 2 teaspoonfuls of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.
Tincture: 2-4 ml of the tincture 3 times a day.
Combinations: In kidney stones it is often combined with Stone Root, Bearberry and Gravel Root. In prostate problems it combines well with Horsetail and Saw Palmetto.
Other uses of Hydrangea:
Esoteric uses of Hydrangea:
Hex-breaking, love drawing, bringing back a lover, fidelity, and binding.
- Flavonoids; kaempferol and quercetin
- Hydrangin, saponin, volatile oil