Have reposted this video, as it shows common milkweed (Ascelpias syriaca) in bloom in the Minot, ND area last summer. I was visiting my family there, and it’s good to go back to those family memories (my mom is walking in the background during the milkweed part). Click here to see the post that went with the video.
Milkweed has long been a favorite plant. I’ve always dreamed of getting a milkweed-stuffed down comforter from the Ogallala Comfort Company. Their Hypodown® 20:80 mix of A. syriaca and goose down is guaranteed to be reaction free for TEN years and has an even longer overall guarantee. Herb Knudsen started the Natural Fibers Corporation in 1986, of which Ogalla Down is a division. They have now started a new division called Ogallala Escapes, which offers beauty products made with the pressed oil of A. syriaca seeds.
I’ve never bought many beauty products in my life, preferring to make my own, but Ogallala Escapes sent me a beautiful spa package containing many of their products with syriaca oil. These are the most divine skin products i’ve used…and it’s soooo cool to be using this plant externally on my body. Another way I use the plant externally is for its milky/latexy sap, which is great for removing moles/warts/age spots, after some time of applying it daily.
Ascelpias is the Greek God of Healing, syriaca means “of syria”. This is interesting since the plant is native here in North America. My father lived in Syria for a few years and I was able to travel around that country with him. Sitting at the end of the Silk Road I somehow think our common milkweed may someday be recognized for its riches. The syriaca oil is full of rich moisturizers, Vitamin E, and unique fatty acids. One of those beneficial and interesting fatty acids is cis-vaccenic, which is found in young skin but diminishes as we age.
Mae West’s Two Bags Save One Life! life vests during WWII were filled with milkweed floss. The USDA gave onion sacks to millions of American schoolkids, encouraging them to help the war efforts by gathering the floss, which ended up filling over one million Mae West life vests. Native Americans didn’t employ their children to gather milkweed floss for war, but rather widely used it to swaddle their young. It’s been used by the French since the 1600’s.
This perennial plant, widely distributed around the US, has a beautiful wild spirit. I love the Mae West connection, as she and I share a birthday and she’s the only star I’ve gone to see on the Hollywood Walk of Fame while living in the LA-area. It’s all about a girl who lost her reputation and never gave a damn! -Mae West