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Shepherd's Needle Shepherd's Needle

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Unread 11-03-2003, 01:59 PM
Shepherd's Needle

...which is the term used here for the plant Bilden's Pilosa - also known here as Cancer Bush. There is a long history of native plants used for medicinal value - called Bush medicine.

This particular plant was mentioned to me by a patient's family member at the oncology clinic, so when I saw my gyn/onc, I asked if it would be okay for me to make a tisane out of the leaves, or a tea. I am brewing up now!

While my gyn/onc did not say no, he did say the term "alternative medicine" etc., etc. I firmly believe that plants hold many good things in them. And, I have used bush medicine before, many years ago, to increase my energy level, and it worked then.

And Chinese traditional medicine seems to also know about Bilden's Pilosa.

Anyway, found a field of this 'weed' nearby, after I had had positive identification from the botanical gardens here. So, uprooted some to plant in the little garden here, supervised by my 2 very inquisitive dogs!
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Unread 11-04-2003, 06:56 PM
Shepherd's Needle

Wow, this is so interesting. Thanks for the information. I'm going to check out my Chinese medicine texts and ask my acupuncturist about it when I see her again. I'll let you know what I find out.

I also believe in the healing power of plants. Many people, especially physicians, forget that plants were the original medicines. Taxol before being reproduced chemically was from the California yew tree. There is one in our city park, and whenever I'm there I stop and thank it. (Okay, so I'm one of those nutters that talks to plants!)

By the way, how does Bilden's Pilosa taste? Let us know how it goes.
Unread 11-05-2003, 01:30 PM
Shepherd's Needle


Yes, plants were the original medicines. I remember hearing that, way back before Aspirin, Native Americans would chew on a willow stick (leaves??), as they knew that that would cure a headaches; now aspirin uses a synthetic variant of it.

Re: Shepherd's Needle: a good site is Under "Medicinal Uses" for it, you come across "Oncology - Bahamas". I am having half a cup each afternoon.

Shepherd's Needle is sometimes called Picao Preto. One site mentioned something about its use in South Africa, and I noticed that your Roosbois Tea comes from there.

As to the taste, well, I boiled the leaves and flowers of about 4 or 5 plants, for about 20 minutes, cooled and strained the tea, and it has no strong taste at all.

And, in closing, the spirit of the yew tree! I love that, that you thank it!
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Unread 11-05-2003, 04:02 PM
Shepherd's Needle

Wild Rose,

I always forget that you live in the Bahamas . . . with Michael, Catherine, Dylan and crew. ;-) How beautiful it must be there!

I've never heard of Bilden's Pilosa either. Sounds interesting! Thanks for posting this great information about it! :-)
Unread 11-06-2003, 08:10 PM
Shepherd's Needle

Hi Wild Rose,
I'm still doing research on this little plant, but thought I'd share what I've found so far. There is a lot of information on a web site that is a tropical plant data base - In addition to having anti-tumor and anti-inflammation properties, it is a natural source of quercetin!

I also learned it is known by many other names, including venus' needle, venus' comb and tickweed, to name a few. It is a member of the pea/bean family, native to the Bahamas and South Africa, and a necter source for several species of butterflies. Can't fault that!

Oddly I find no mention of it in the books I have on TCM, and nothing in my herbal texts either. Maybe because it is tropical? At any rate, I have a good friend from South Africa who works with plants and flowers, and I am getting in touch with her to see what she can tell us.

More Later......
Unread 11-07-2003, 09:28 AM
Shepherd's Needle


You do great research, something which, for the moment, I am not too much into, but that will return. But, because of your research, I now know what quercetin is! Thank you.

While I will be harvesting! and making some more of this tea today, I view taking it as an adjunct to my chemotherapy. If nothing else, this tea will give me some vitamins.

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