Herb: Small Reed Mace


Latin name: Typha angustifolia


Family: Typhaceae (Cat-tail Family)



Medicinal use of Small Reed Mace:

The pollen is diuretic, emmenagogue and haemostatic. The dried pollen is said to be anticoagulant, but when roasted with charcoal it becomes haemostatic. It is used internally in the treatment of kidney stones, internal haemorrhage of almost any kind, painful menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding, post-partum pains, abscesses and cancer of the lymphatic system. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women. Externally, it is used in the treatment of tapeworms, diarrhoea and injuries. An infusion of the root has been used in the treatment of gravel.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

Flovering:
June
to July

Habitat of the herb:

Water up to 15cm deep, avoiding acid conditions.

Edible parts of Small Reed Mace:

Roots - raw or cooked. They can be boiled and eaten like potatoes or macerated and then boiled to yield a sweet syrup. The roots can also be dried, ground into a powder and then used as a thickener in soups etc or added to cereal flours. Rich in protein, this powder is used to make biscuits etc. Young shoots in spring - raw or cooked. An asparagus substitute. Base of mature stem - raw or cooked. It is best to remove the outer part of the stem. Young flowering stem - raw, cooked or made into a soup. It tastes like sweet corn. Seed - cooked. The seed is very small and fiddly to harvest, but it has a pleasant nutty taste when roasted. An edible oil is obtained from the seed. Due to the small size of the seed this is probably not a very worthwhile crop. Pollen - raw or cooked. A protein rich additive to flour used in making bread, porridge etc. It can also be eaten with the young flowers, which makes it considerably easier to utilize. The pollen can be harvested by placing the flowering stem over a wide but shallow container and then gently tapping the stem and brushing the pollen off with a fine brush. This will help to pollinate the plant and thereby ensure that both pollen and seeds can be harvested.

Other uses of the herb:

The stems and leaves have many uses, they make a good thatch, can be used in making paper, can be woven into mats, chairs, hats etc. They are a good source of biomass, making an excellent addition to the compost heap or used as a source of fuel etc. The hairs of the fruits are used for stuffing pillows etc. They have good insulating and buoyancy properties. The female flowers make an excellent tinder and can be lit from the spark of a flint. The pollen is highly inflammable and is used in making fireworks. This plants extensive root system makes it very good for stabilizing wet banks of rivers, lakes etc.

Propagation of Small Reed Mace:

Seed - surface sow in a pot and stand it in 3cm of water. Pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible and, as the plants develop, increase the depth of water. Plant out in summer. Division in spring. Very easy, harvest the young shoots when they are about 10 - 30cm tall, making sure there is at least some root attached, and plant them out into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Water up to 15cm deep, avoiding acid conditions.

Known hazards of Typha angustifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.