Woody-stemmed deciduous shrub growing to a height of about 10 ft (3 m). Has oval leaves and clusters of small, creamy-white flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Native to the eastern U.S. from New York to Florida, wild hydrangea grows in woodlands and on riverbanks. The root is dug up in autumn.
Hydrangea is thought to contain flavonoids, a cyanogenic glycoside (hydrangein), saponins, and a volatile oil.
History & Folklore
The Cherokee used hydrangea as a remedy for kidney and bladder stones. The 19th-century Physiomedicalist herbal movement used a formula comprising hydrangea, couch grass (Agropyron repens), and hollyhock (Althaea rosea) to treat serious kidney disorders, including nephritis.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Western herbal medicine considers the diuretic hydrangea as being particularly helpful in the treatment of kidney and bladder stones. It is thought both to encourage the expulsion of stones and to help dissolve those that remain. The herb is given for many other troubles affecting the genitourinary system, including cystitis, urethritis, enlarged prostate, and prostatitis.
Do not take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Wild hydrangea is best taken on professional advice.