Feeling under the weather? According to High Line gardener Kyla Dippong, the park is a "veritable pharmacy." Many of Section 1's 210 species of plants offer simple remedies, quite a few of which were used by Native Americans long before the advent of the pharmacy as we know it today.
As you continue to battle the cold and flu season, here are a few of our favorite medicinal plants to keep in mind, most of which can be found easily in your local drugstore or herbal remedy shop (but NOT by picking them off the High Line).
American Coneflower (Echinacea pallida): A commonly used immune-system booster. There are many varieties of Coneflowers throughout the park, but this species is the only one used in preventative medicine. It grows only on the lower portion of the Diller-von Furstenberg Sundeck.
Joe Pye Weed (Eupatorium maculatum 'Gateway'): Joe Pye was said to be a Native American healer in the nineteenth century who treated patients suffering from thypoid fever. The plant can be used to reduce high fevers.
The picture below shows Joe Pye Weed as you would see it on the High Line this winter. For images in bloom, visit North Creek Nurseries.
Pearly Everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea): The plants have many medicinal uses, treating everything from dysentery to burns. During the cold and flu season, they can help treat coughs and colds. Like the American Coneflower, the Pearly Everlasting is found only in the lower portion of the Sundeck.
Wild Quinine (Parthenium integrifolium): Historically used as treatment for malaria, the plant can combat fever. Found mostly north of the Chelsea Market Passage. Right now, Wild Quinine seed pods are easily visible in the Chelsea Grasslands.
While medicinal plants can offer many health benefits, it’s important to remember that many are also poisonous when improperly handled. Some require special preparation, and reactions can vary greatly between dosage and person consuming. Consult your doctor before using, and be sure to purchase only from a reputable source.