We're making lemonade today! Well...erm sumac-ade 😉 A medicinal cold infusion
Staghorn sumac (Rhus typhina)
Is one of the wild edibles that can be foraged all winter long if you choose, although later in the season you lose some of the flavor and color and run a high risk of worms. The red velvet on the outside of the sumac berries is the tasty part. It has a wonderful sweet/tart citrus taste, that some liken to strawberry lemonade. Since it already has that flavor, making a sumace "lemonade" is the obvious thing to do. The seeds and stalks contain bitter alkaloids that are extracted by hot water, so it’s important to only use cold water when making a sumac infusion. It is an excellent source of vitamin C.
Sumac has a long history of use by First Peoples. There are approximately a dozen other species worldwide. All of them are used as medicines. The leaves, bark, roots, and milky latex are all used but the fruits are used the most.
Staghorn sumac is an excellent herb for the treatment of inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract, whether or not they are due to infection. It will reduce inflammation, promote tissue healing, and help reduce infection due to many kinds of bacteria as well as Candida albicans.
Sumac helps to reduce prostate inflammation as well. Sumac is useful for the treatment of fever and respiratory infections. It helps to dry out the sinuses in colds, sinus infections, and allergies. It is a very safe herb and can be used for the treatment of childhood fevers such as chicken pox and measles.
Sumac is an excellent herb for the treatment of cardiovascular conditions. It improves circulation, helps lower blood pressure, and is a mild heart tonic. It reduces inflammation of the blood vessels in conditions like varicose veins, hemorrhoids, and even more serious conditions such as arteriosclerosis. It has also been used in conjunction with diabetes management.
Sumac has a moderate effect on the nervous system. It helps reduce nervousness, anxiety, tension headaches, and general tension throughout the body. It also improves concentration and reduces mental fatigue.
Sumac can also be used topically!