Asclepias question...nomenclature & trivia

Mike the Tree Doctor mlamana at
Sun Oct 31 18:22:57 EST 1999


You rule! I bet you didn't even look up any of that!

Thank you much...

Mike the Tree Doctor

Roger Whitehead <rgw at> wrote in message
news:VA.00000693.00ec36e7 at rgw...
> In article <381A8DE8.9E6C714A at>, Sandy wrote:
> > Hi, yes it is named after Asklepios the God of healing. His Roman name
> > Aesculapius, hence, Asclepias. I think nearly all the plants in the
> > Asclepiadaceae family have that milky sap which in some cases is
poisonous and
> > in some cases used in medine.
> Here are some points further to Sandy's posting:
> 1. Here's part of what EB says about
> Greco-Roman god of medicine, son of Apollo (god of healing, truth, and
> and the nymph Coronis. The Centaur Chiron taught him the art of healing.
> length Zeus (the king of the gods), afraid that Asclepius might render all
> immortal, slew him with a thunderbolt. Homer, in the Iliad, mentions him
only as
> a skillful physician; in later times, however, he was honoured as a hero
> eventually worshiped as a god. The cult began in Thessaly but spread to
> parts of Greece. Because it was supposed that Asclepius effected cures of
> the sick in dreams, the practice of sleeping in his temples became common.
> [ends]
> That cult lives on in a way in the sinuous shape of the Aesculapian snake
> (Elaphe longissima), which is native to southeastern Europe and Asia
Minor. In
> ancient times it was sacred to Aesculapius; the present isolated
populations in
> Germany and Switzerland are descended from specimens taken to health
> there by the Romans.
> BTW, A (aka A, A and A) was not an oracle himself, and certainly was never
> auricle! That's yer lug 'ole (Just as well, otherwise we'd have to rename
> auriculas.)
> 2. The genus Asclepias (milkweeds and butterfly flowers) is part of the
> Asclepiadaceae family of the order Gentianales. This family contains 250
> and includes common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca - although native to North
> America) and Hoya carnosa, or wax plant. Several members of the Asclepias
> have medicinal properties, the best-known probably being A. tuberosa,
> known as pleurisy root (also as orangeroot and orange milkweed).
> This was one the main ingredients of Lydia Pinkham's famous Vegetable
> claimed to cure any "female complaint" from nervous prostration to
> down". It also contained nearly 20% alcohol, giving middle-class
housewives in
> the last century a discreet way of taking a quick nip. (See
> for more on this.)
> Lovers of late-60s British pop music will recognise Mrs Pinkham as the
> for The Scaffold's "Lily the Pink", whose "medicinal compound" was "most
> efficacious in every case". (See
> and
> for
background and
> lyrics.)
> Regards,
> Roger
> - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
> Roger Whitehead,
> Oxted, Surrey, England

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