Wahoo (Euonymus americanus)
Wahoo is a small, thin shrub with narrow, opposite leaves, green stems, and tiny, inconspicuous flowers that give way to crimson red fruits that look like strawberries. The bush grows no more than 4 to 6 feet tall, and has a loose, sprawling structure with thin, wiry, spreading branches and an open, airy form. The twigs are four-angled and green. The deciduous
leaves are 2 to 3 inches long with fine teeth on the margins. The flowers are inconspicuous, only about a third of an inch across, with five greenish yellow petals. The fruit is a warty red capsule abour 1 inch across that looks like a strawberry, hence the name American Strawberry Bush. When ripe, the capsule splits open to reveal four to five orange-red seeds. In autumn, the leaves turn shades of orane and red before falling. In the winter, the leafless green twigs are very noticeable.
Family: Celastraceae (Staff Tree family)
Other Names: American Strawberry Bush
Flowers: June – July
Parts Used: Stem, root bark, and leaves
Habitat: Shady understory of moist forests of Eastern North America from New York south to Florida, and west to Oklahoma and east Texas.
Propagation: Wahoo prefers a well drained, humus rich soil, slightly on the acid side. Greenwood cuttings taken in summer will root rapidly. The seeds germinate after three months of cold treatment. The root clumps also can be divided to make more plants. This is best done in the winter.
Constituents: Euonymin, euonic acid, crystalline glucoside, asparagin, resins, fat,
Properties: Cardiac, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, and tonic.
Main Uses: Wahoo was a popular diuretic drug during the 19th century. It was also recommended for chest and lung congestion, indigestion, and fever. After the discovery early this century that Wahoo has a digitalis-like effect on the heart, it also became popular as a cardiac drug.
Preparation And Dosages:
Infusion: 1 small teaspoonful of root and bark to 2 cups boiling water, simmered 30 minutes. Take 2 to 3 cupfuls a day 1 hour before meals.
Bark Tincture: (1:5) in 60% alcohol. Take 2 to 10 drops.
Contraindications: Pregnancy and liver disease.
Warning Warning! The fruits are considered dangerous if ingested.