Portfolio: Medicinal Plants of the Sicangu Lakota
Lakota Name: caŋĥlóġaŋ hu caŋ swúla uŋ he tukťėkťel yuke -meaning: Small weed stem that exists here and there.
Listen to Lakota Name: caŋĥlóġaŋ hu caŋ swúla uŋ he tukťėkť yuke
Scientific name: Lygodesmia juncea
Common name: Skeleton weed
Medical Use: Skeleton weed was employed medicinally by various native North American Indian tribes who used it particularly as a galactogogue. A galactogogue is a substance which is used to increase the production of milk in humans and other animals. Skeleton weed is not often used as a medicinal herb in modern times. The leaves and stems are galactogogue and tonic. An infusion of the stems has been used to promote milk flow in nursing mothers, in the treatment of smallpox, measles, kidney problems, diarrhea, heartburn and burning coughs and also as a general tonic for children. A poultice of the plant has been applied to bring relief to rheumatic and swollen joints. An infusion has been used as a wash for sore eyes. An infusion of the powdered galls that are found on the plant is diuretic.
Description: Stems up to 50 cm tall, glabrous (having no hairs, projections, or pubescence; smooth), erect (being in a vertical, upright position) branching with milky sap. Leaves alternate, cauline (having, or growing on a stem), leaves reduced and scale like, scabrous (having or covered with scales or small projections and rough to the touch) and subulate (tapering to a point; awl-shaped).
Click on an image to view larger version & data in a new window
Lygodesmia juncea flower courtesy National Park Sercice, seedheads © 2007 Brian Peterson
Seeds: used as gum for chewing.
Flower: Single pink flower heads about one-half inch wide appear at the tips of the branches. Each head contains five flowers.
Global Distribution: North America, Wisconsin and Alberta to Texas.
South Dakota Distribution: common in the dry to moist prairie over the state.
Habitat: The plant prefers lightly sandy, loamy soils and requires well drained soils. It cannot grow in the shade.
I could not find any modern research on plant or active ingredient.
Information on the Internet
- ToL Learner Level:
- Target Grade/Age Level:
- All Grade/Age levels.
- Can be modified for many age/grade levels
State Education Standards
- South Dakota Education Standards
- 9-12.L.1.1. Students are able to relate cellular functions and processes to specialized structures within cells.
- 9-12.L.1.2. Students are able to classify organisms using characteristics and evolutionary relationships of major taxa.
- 9-12.S.1.1. Students are able to explain ethical roles and responsibilities of scientists and scientific research.
- 9-12.S.1.2. Students are able to evaluate and describe the impact of scientific discoveries on historical events and social, economic, and ethical issues.
- 9-12.N.1.1. Students are able to evaluate a scientific discovery to determine and describe how societal, cultural, and personal beliefs influence scientific investigations and interpretations.
- 9-12.N.2.1. Students are able to apply science process skills to design and conduct student investigations. (Synthesis)
- 9-12.N.2.2. Students are able to practice safe and effective laboratory techniques.
National Education Standards
- National Education Standards
CONTENT STANDARD A: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop
- Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
- Understandings about scientific inquiry
CONTENT STANDARD B: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop an understanding of
- Structure of atoms
- Structure and properties of matter
- Chemical reactions
- Motions and forces
- Conservation of energy and increase in disorder
- Interactions of energy and matter
CONTENT STANDARD C: As a result of their activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of
- The cell
- Molecular basis of heredity
- Biological evolution
- Interdependence of organisms
- Matter, energy, and organization in living systems
- Behavior of organisms
CONTENT STANDARD E: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop
- Abilities of technological design
- Understandings about science and technology
CONTENT STANDARD F: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of
- Personal and community health
- Population growth
- Natural resources
- Environmental quality
- Natural and human-induced hazards
- Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
CONTENT STANDARD G: As a result of activities in grades 9-12, all students should develop understanding of
- Science as a human endeavor
- Nature of scientific knowledge
- Historical perspectives
About This Page
Classroom Project: Medicinal Plants of the Lakota Sioux
Lead-Deadwood High School
Lead, South Dakota United States
License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License - Version 3.0
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to , Lead-Deadwood High School
Page copyright © 2008 1sagebrush20
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About This Portfolio
I would like to acknowledge the following individuals for their help with this project:
- Rev. Raymond Bucko S.J., Creighton University Department of Sociology and Anthropology
- My student mentor Devan, Kim Loeffen, Tony Beisiot, Wade Mackey, and Sharon Burns for their technical help.
- F.J. Doody, Buechel Memorial Museum, St. Francis, S.D.
- Ben Black Bear Jr. for his audio of Lakota names, St. Francis, S.D. (Author of the Introduction of Dilwyn Rogers' Book of Father Buechel's research.)
- Katja Schulz Managing Editor ToL
- And mostly, my students for their perserverence!
Lead-Deadwood High School
Correspondence regarding this page should be directed to Robin Cochran-Dirksen at
Page copyright © 2008 Robin Cochran-Dirksen