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Modern use – Onosmodium is offered, in polypharmacy compounds, as an herbal remedy for restoration of libido in women.
It is also offered as a spray and an oral preparation for headaches.
Traditional uses – The Lakota used an infusion of the roots and seeds for swellings in men. The Lakota also used this infusion as a rubbing solution, for men and horses.
The Chippewa used the seeds as a love charm, and to attract money and worldly goods.
The Cheyenne pulverised the leaves and stems and mixed them with grease. This they used as a rub for lumbago and also on numb skin.
As well as using onosmodium for witchcraft, the Hopi also used it smoked for “fits and craziness.”
Other nations used it for inhibiting fertility.
In the 19th century, Gromwell was used as a kidney tonic in decoction. Cook says “Of its soothing and moderately strengthening influence on the renal apparatus, I am well satisfied.”
King’s Dispensatory gives a dosage of a strong infusion of roots and seeds as a solvent for renal calculi. It warns against too long a usage, in view of its highly diuretic effect, thus exhausting the kidneys.
The Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Centre makes the point that while it may have no known economic uses, much of the history of Great Plains plants and their uses by Native Americans has been lost.