Ghost Pipe

Ghost Pipe

Monotropa uniflora

Ghost pipes have several medicinal benefits. They have sedative antispasmodic, and diaphoretic effect. Ghost pipe is more inclined towards managing neuronal disorders like psychosis, acute anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and convulsion episodes.

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Indian Pipe
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Above ground parts
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About Ghost Pipe

Ghost pipe is a delicate and exquisite herbaceous perennial from the Ericaceae family that emerges from the forest grounds. Ghost pipe is also known as Indian pipe and is marked by extremely reduced leaves and beautiful yet scanty flowers with translucent petals.

The ghost pipe is entirely white in appearance and gets its food from the roots and mycorrhizal fungi. Its stems take a sharp turn towards the ground and have a single, inodorous flower. Ghost pipes have several medicinal benefits. They have sedative antispasmodic, and diaphoretic effect. Ghost pipe is more inclined towards managing neuronal disorders like psychosis, acute anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and convulsion episodes. Ghost pipe juice when paired with rose water can skillfully treat ulcers, gonorrhea, inflammation of the bladder, and ophthalmic inflammation.

This nutrient-dense herb has salicylic acid as one of its main constituent which aids in inducing analgesia. Salicylic acid acts just like Aspirin to relieve the obstinate pain of different origins like migraine, emotional pain, and overwhelming physical pain. Ghost pipe also helps in repressing the traumatic memories that may trigger anxiety and panic attacks due to sensory overload.

Even the old legends talk highly of ghost pipes where a Cherokee legend discusses this versatile plant as a great tool for warding off selfishness and disputes.

Growing

Ghost pipe is a flowering plant that grows on its own in the wild, under dark environment as it does not need light to carry out photosynthesis. It emerges from early summers to early fall when the weather is still warm and humid with recent rainfalls.

It cannot be cultivated indoors or by any means of human interference. Gardeners are looking for ways to have it cultivated but its mechanism of reproduction is unknown.

Ghost pipe is a perennial plant that grows in wet regions, under the shade of tall trees, and vicinity of mycorrhizal fungi. The acidic and moist soil helps in its emergence, probably from the seeds.

The seeds soon send out shoots that turn into stems. From June till September, ghost pipe blooms and gets pollinated by bees. After fertilization, the flower attains the shape of an upturned seed capsule and the stem dries to depict the appearance of a twig-like stalk.

The seeds get dispersed throughout the forest floor where they adapt the parasitic and saprotrophic lifestyle to survive and grow and propagate its generations.

Harvesting

The flowers are harvested when they are still upturned as the upright flowers are prone to falling dry and turning black. Recent literature advises to use just the roots of ghost pipe which can be harvested any time during the year.

The roots of ghost pipe can be harvested by pulling up the plant and using sharp anvil pruners to cut it.

The ghost pipe roots and flowers are used fresh. They cannot be stored even after being dried as the drying process can turn the petals black. The freshly harvested aerial and underground plant materials are tinctured or decocted readily for usage.

Usage

Due to its eerie appearance and ample spiritual data related to it, ghost pipe has earned this strange name. But on the contrary, ghost pipe has a lot of medicinal perks that can be employed for seeking benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly harvested chopped Ghost Pipe in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.