DESERT WILLOW - Chilopsis linearis
DESERT WILLOW - Chilopsis linearis
The Chilopsis linearis, more commonly known as the desert willow, is a native to the southwestern United States and Northern Mexico. Its Latin name Chilopsis refers to the lip-like flower and linearis refers to the long narrow leaves. Though its many common names refer to it as a willow, it is not related to the willow species. This willow-like plant typically is a natural protector against flood and erosion damage. It is also an indicator plant, telling us ground water is close to the surface.
The flowers are large, showy, and trumpet shaped, up to 2 inches long, blooming from May to July, and later if there are good summer rains. They form many clusters of pink to lavender colors and have a heavy, musky fragrance.
The parts of the plant used as an herbal medicine are: Leaves dried for tea and salves, leaves dried for extract done as a 1:5 60% alcohol and 40% water, and fresh plant extract (leaves, flowers, and small branch tips) done as a 1:2 70% alcohol and 30% water. Any of the methods are effective, but I prefer fresh leaf and branch extract for a stronger and more versatile approach. I will keep some dry leaf on hand (always) for salves and tea. The dry leaf is very useful in baths and vaginal douches.
Those of us who work with the plant know it as a very effective remedy for its anti-Candida use and its anti-Fungal properties.
Michael Moore writes " As a tea (strong infusion, 2 to 3 ounces, twice a day) or the tincture (1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon twice a day), it inhibits Candida supra infections. After antibiotic therapy or anti-inflammatory drugs, many people get episodes of foul burping; acid indigestion; loose, abnormal stools; hemorrhoids; or rectal aching; and even varicose veins. This can be the result of a subtle and intransigent Candida albicans infection in the upper and lower ends of the intestinal tract. "
It is effective as a wash, with either the tea or a little a bit of tincture added to water, for thrush, or for genital Candida outbreaks. Desert Willow tea makes an excellent vaginal douche for moderate yeast infections. I often like combining with some Yerba Mansa (Anemopsis californica) leaf tea or a little of the extract (Yerba Mansa, root extract) in the douche water.
Lindsey Orellano, collecting Desert Willow for tea, salves and extract making!
Besides Candida infections, I use Desert Willow to help treat Valley Fever.
What is valley fever?
"Valley fever is a disease caused by a fungus that gets into your body through your lungs. It can make you feel like you have a cold or the flu and may cause a rash. Most people get better without treatment.
But if your body's natural defense system (immune system) is weak, valley fever can be deadly. In rare cases it can be deadly even for people with a normal immune system. Valley fever can spread from your lungs to other parts of your body. Those at higher risk for severe illness include pregnant women, people who have HIVinfection, people who take medicines that weaken the immune system, and people who have diabetes. Filipinos, African Americans, Mexican Americans, and Native Americans also have a higher risk of dying from valley fever.
Valley fever occurs mainly in dry desert areas of the southwestern United States, central California, and Mexico. It also occurs in dry areas of Central and South America.
Valley fever is also called desert fever, San Joaquin Valley fever, coccidioidomycosis, and desert rheumatism.
What causes valley fever?
You can get valley fever if you breathe in the fungus (Coccidioides immitis) that causes the disease.
The fungus grows in the soil. It gets into the air when the ground is broken and the dirt and dust spread into the air. People with jobs that require digging in the soil have the greatest chance of getting valley fever. This includes people who work on farms, in construction, and in archeology or paleontology. People who ride bikes or drive all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in the desert also have a higher chance of getting it. Dust storms can spread the fungus into the air, so other people can also get valley fever.
Valley fever is not contagious. You cannot get it from another person or from animals.
After getting better, most people will not get valley fever again. This is called being immune. But valley fever can come back again in people who have weak immune systems and can't fight infection. This includes people who have HIV, are taking medicine that suppresses the immune system (such as prednisone or methotrexate), or have had an organ transplant."
I recommend using the fresh plant tincture of Desert Willow, 30 drops up to 3 times a day, for several weeks, especially if you have been diagnosed with Valley Fever. I would also suggest if you live in the American Southwest, and when the winds kick up and the sky becomes dusty and filled with soil dust, that maybe you take a little, like 15 drops of fresh Desert Willow tincture, up to 2 times a day, for a few days during these conditions. I believe it lessens your chance of getting infected by Coccidoides, the fungus that creates Valley Fever.
DESERT WILLOW - Chilopsis linearis
Over the years, I have learned to use Desert Willow and Yerba Mansa together, sometimes shifting the formula a bit, depending on the person I am working with, but those two plant medicines working together, have been most effective for lessening the effects and most likely eliminating the Valley Fever causing fungus all together.
The basic formula is:
Fresh tincture of Desert Willow 60%
Fresh tincture of Yerba Mansa Root 40%
Combined together to make a Systemic Anti-Fungal Formula
This is usually used (Adult dosage) 20 to 30 drops, up to 3 times a day. Use for several weeks.
This is for someone who has been truly diagnosed with Valley Fever or another systemic fungal infection.
The effectiveness of this formula on Valley Fever, took me into the direction of treating Mold infections in the Lungs. A very serious and debilitating health problem for those living in moist or humid climates. Again, I found this combination of Desert Willow and Yerba Mansa to be very helpful in treating respiratory mold infections.
Sometimes, for these lung molds, I add a little Arizona Black Walnut tincture to the formula, and sometimes Artemisia spp., as well. Usually Artemisia ludoviciana.
My basic Lung Mold Formula is something like this:
Desert Willow tincture 50%
Yerba Mansa Root tincture 30%
Artemisia ludoviciana tincture 10%
Arizona Black Walnut tincture 10%
This is usually taken (Adult dosage) 20 drops, up to 3 times a day, for several weeks.
Again, keep in mind all time frames are a general reference, and each person has specific needs, and adjustments may be needed.
Dosgaes are general in nature, and a living breathing human being is best served by having a dialogue with their medicine taking. Meaning sometimes, the dosages given are too much for one person, and not enough for another. You must learn to feel the medicine in your body. Adjust accordingly to this dialogue.
Desert Willow dried leaf, is also excellent as a wash for wounds, dried leaf can be incorporated into salve making, and overall it is topically anti-fungal and anti-microbial in its effects.
The tea of Desert Willow can be used externally and internally for all the above described uses. Not the best tasting of herbal teas, but very effective.
Another effective use for Desert Willow, are the flowers, dried and used as a tea, are an excellent remedy for hectic coughing fits, especially when there is a flushed face with sensations of lung and chest fatigue, with a rapid, thin pulse. It is reminds me of the respiratory sedation similar to Wild Cherry Bark.
In general, Desert Willow, is an extremely useful plant medicine, very abundant, sustainable, because we only need to prune lightly for its medicine, never needing to kill a single plant!
It is great in first aid situations, anti-microbial, extremely anti-fungal, and has respiratory anti-spasmodic actions.