Wildflowers, Plants and Ferns, Pacific Northwest
Buckbean is a green, glabrous plant, with creeping root stock and ground hugging stem, varying in length according to situation, covered by the sheaths of the leaves, which are on long and fleshy, the leaflets being about 5 cm long and 2.5 cm broad. It blooms from June to August on Mount Washington, Vancouver Island. The flowers reside on the tops of long stalks, up to 45 cm high, longer than the leaves and clustered together in a thick short spike, rendering them very conspicuous. The corollas, 2 cm across, are a rose color towards the edge but white and hairy towards the center, the stamens are a reddish color. The Buckbean is one of the prettiest of our wild flowers in our mountain bogs, where it grows and thrives well, all in all, a very impressive plant.
The Leaves are used to make tea, this tea was used locally to treat a number of medical conditions. It is best to pick and dry the leaves for use as the fresh leaves can cause vomiting. The dried leaf or root tea was traditionally used as a digestive tonic, and was also used to treat fevers, rheumatism, liver ailments, worms, skin diseases, as an astringent to stop bleeding and it was thought it would help a person gain weight.
The plant contains various anti inflammatory compounds and worked well for treating rheumatism. Dry the picked leaves and add 1 tbsp of dried leaves to 1 cup of hot water, steep for 10 to 15 minutes, only drink 1 cup per day, to stimulate appetite, drink 1/2 cup about 30 minutes before eating. You can if needed sweeten the drink with hunny to get past the bitter taste. You can make a cold treatment by letting 2 tsp of dried leave stand in 1 cup of cold water for 8 hours, then use like a cough medicine.