silk tassel, is a perennial south west, p&j manzanita woodland, woody shrub. Growing up to 12-15 ft tall, with opposite leathery pointed leaves, with unique upward tilt. Round purple berries with silky droopping tassels, hence the name.
Birds eat berries, spread the seeds. Resprouts after fire. This stand was in a seasonal wash with luxuriant new growth. The entire plant taste is bitter, however new-new growth here had the smoky musky bitterness of earth tone predominant, sweet overtones noted, hint of spice. The plant immediately produces saliva in the mouth with a slight numbing of the tongue. Described as a straight medicine plant, not an everyday tea or tonic herb.
Part of plant used in order of strength: 1)root, 2)bark, 3)old growth leaf, 4)new growth leaf. Adjust amount accordingly. Smooth muscle relaxant antispasmodic. It will behoove you to take extra effort to dig up some root, to make a small batch of silk tassle root tincture. addition to fresh leaf tincture. Silk tassel is a common plant and if you are going to do medicine the root is the most powerful part of the plant. The root tincture should always be labeled as such and set aside for personal use in severe situations.
For severe menstrual cramps, lower GI cramping from diarrhea dysentery, extreme pain in a first aid situation, always have on hand and use root tincture. A good generalized formula equal parts golden smoke, ginger and silk tassel. The ginger works both to allay nausea, to provide warmth and movement. Golden smoke works to relieve deep pain and promotes restful sleep, while silk tassel supplies the antispasmodic quality.
Silk tassel is likewise useful in asthmatic coughing fits combined with lobelia, or extreme wet bronchial deep fitful coughing episodes combined with wild cherry bark for sleep. For mild but fairly chronic loose stool, where you are becoming dehydrated, leaf tincture with alum root tincture along with a pinch of salt can allow hydration, and rest recovery.
Silk tassel, especially the root, is a real medicine in herbal form and is one you should become familiar with while going all in. If you feel cold and clammy with dry heaves, you took too much, don’t take anymore.