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Balmony - Turtlebloom
Chelone glabra

Other Names: Balmony, Turtlebloom, Bitter Herb, Chelone, Glatte, Salt-rheum Weed, Shellflower, Snake-head The Hummingbird Tree, Turtle-bloom, Turtle-head, Turtlehead, White Chelone, White Turtlehead, Fishmouth

Habitat: (Chelone glabra) North American native perennial herb growing in shaded, moist lowlands, swamps, bogs, and stream edges from Newfoundland to Manitoba and south to Florida and Kansas. Considered rare or even endangered in some areas, this plant is protected by the U. S. federal government. Cultivation: cultivation is achieved with seed or cuttings, it prefers growing in a shaded bog garden or in a soil that is unlikely to dry out. A favorite of hummingbirds Turtlebloom is an erect plant, growing from 2 to 4 feet high, with smooth, square, branching stems. The leaves are dark green, opposite, 3 to 6 inches in length, oblong and slightly serrated. The flowers grow in dense clusters atop each stem, are produced in late summer or early fall and are showy, two-lipped, white or purplish, cream or rose flowers, the lower lip is bearded in the throat, about an inch in length and resembles the head of a turtle or a snake. It blooms from July to September. Gather leaves and flowers when in bloom. Dry for later herb use.

Properties: Balmony or Turtlebloom has long been used in alternative medicine as an aperient, appetizer, cathartic, cholagogue, detergent, tonic, vermifuge, anti-depressant and laxative. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems and gallstones. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and used in consumption, dyspepsia, debility and jaundice, in diseases of the liver, and for worms in children. It has a tonic effect upon the digestive system and is of benefit in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. It is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavor that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. Externally, the herb is applied as a soothing ointment to piles, inflamed tumors, irritable ulcers and inflamed breasts.


Folklore: Held in high esteem by many Native American tribes as an herb to prolong life due to the resemblance of the blooms to the turtle. The name of the genus Chelone comes from the Greek word meaning a tortoise.

Try these recipes

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take l-2ml of the tincture three times a day



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