Black-eye Susan’s can be seen growing in fields and along roadsides throughout Nebraska where we are currently living. They are native to North America and bloom from June through to October.
The healer in my novel uses a variety of plants and herbs to make her medicines so I like to research the medicinal properties of plants that I come across to see if they might be something I could incorporate into the world in which she lives.
Traditionally the root of the Black-eyed Susan has been used to rid the body of parasites. First Nations people made a poultice or wash to apply to snake bites. A tea or infusion would be applied topically to soothe minor scraps, sores or swellings.
Infusions of the root have also been used to treat edema (historically referred to as dropsy.) Juice extracted from the root was a treatment for earache.
A yellow dye can be made from the petals of the flowers.
The seeds however are poisonous and should not be used… unless of course, you are planning to kill off one of the characters in a story!
Side Note: The title of this post is also the title of a song written by Richard Whiting and Dave Radford, sung by the legendary Al Jolson. Lyrics can be found here.