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Gumweed (Grindelia camporum)

Generic Name: Grindelia

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Asteraceae (family), August flower, California gumplant, grindelia, Grindelia camporum, Grindelia robusta, Grindeliae herba, Grindelie, gum plant, gumplant, gum weed, hardy grindelia, rosin weed, scaly grindelia, tar weed, tarweed.

Background

Gumweed is a traditional medicine of California Native Americans, such as the Chumash people. Gumweed was used clinically from the 1880s until 1960 in the United States and the United Kingdom for the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, and poison ivy rash. Gumweed use in clinics was discontinued in 1960 when a new law required medicines to have proven efficacy in clinical trials. The plant contains grindelane diterpenoids of unknown pharmacological activity.

There are no high quality trials supporting the use of gumweed for asthma, bronchitis, dermatitis, or any other condition. High quality clinical trials of gumweed are needed in these areas.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

Tradition

WARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Asthma, blood purification, bronchial irritation, bronchitis, burns, colds, coughs, diuretic, laxative, lice, mouth and throat inflammation, pain, rash, skin diseases, sores, tonic, wounds.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for gumweed. Traditionally, 2 grams of chopped or powdered gumweed, or 2 milliliters of the fluid extract has been used.

Children (younger than 18 years):

There is no proven safe or effective dose for gumweed in children, and use is not recommended.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.

Allergies

Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to gumweed.

Side Effects and Warnings

Based on 80 years of clinical experience and thousands of years of use by California Native Americans, gumweed has a low rate of adverse effects in most healthy people, although this has not been confirmed by clinical trials. Side effects may include slowed heart rate, increased blood pressure, central nervous system depression (in large doses), or lung or kidney irritation.

Plant preparations should not be used in the eye since they may contain bacteria or fungi. Bacteria and fungi can erode the cornea leading to the need for corneal transplants or the loss of vision. Dropping a solution of gumweed in ethanol onto the eye is not recommended due to the possibility of ethanol (alcohol) irritating the eye.

Use cautiously in patients with hypertension (high blood pressure) or heart conditions. Avoid using plant preparations on open wounds unless the preparations are known to be sterile.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

Gumweed is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Taking any alcohol and gumweed preparation is not recommended in pregnant women because alcohol may cause the fetal alcohol syndrome (birth defects).

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