Wild Balsam Apple, Echinocystis lobata, is a medicinal vine that can be misidentified as grapes due to similar leaves. The fruit resembles and smells like a cucumber but can cause vomiting and diarrhea. It was used by American Indians for rheumatism, chills, fever, headache, obstructed menstruation, kidney ailments, stomach troubles, as a tonic and panacea (cure-all). The seeds were used to make beads for jewelry.
Keep your eyes and ears open and your powder dry!
Wild Balsam Apple Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software.Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 25-27
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 40
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 207
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 356-357
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.
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