The Dogwood Tree is an iconic site at the Lake of the Ozarks! They are everywhere in the backwoods and we have a yearly festival honoring the dogwood tree during its time of bloom! One thing we like to focus on here in the Ozark Backwoods is nature and everything in it!
The Dogwood Tree is an iconic site at the Lake of the Ozarks! They are everywhere in the backwoods and we have a yearly festival honoring the dogwood tree during its time of bloom! One thing we like to focus on here in the Ozark Backwoods is nature and everything in it! Many of the plants we encounter on a daily basis have very interesting stories in their history, along with a long line of edible and medicinal uses. Its fun to explore these plants as we encounter them, learn and share their stories and practice their uses. The Dogwood Tree is no exception.
Many know this iconic tree from its bible reference as the tree that supplied the wood used to build the cross Jesus was crucified on. God then cursed this once large and mighty tree to remain small, shrubby, and to only have long twisty branches so that it would never be suitable to build with again. In addition, he gifted the tree with exceptional beauty to remind everyone each year during the time of Passover, when the dogwood blooms, of the sacrifices that were made on that day. The dogwood flower Is unique, resembling a cross, with a crown of thorns in the center, and bears the remains of puncture wounds stained from the blood of Jesus himself on the petal's tips.
If this history isn’t cool enough on its own, did you know this amazing tree is so much more?
The Dogwood Tree, classified as Clade: Eudicots / Asterids > order: Dogwood > Family: Dogwood. aka Cornus florida L. is quite the treat to have in your yard. This beautiful tree is one of the first to bloom in the Spring and has quite the impressive list of uses. For the Native Americans, the blooming of the Dogwood provided the all clear of winter and birth of Spring. The chance of frost has passed and it’s time to get to work tending to Momma Earth!
It has a beautiful hard wood even though this tree has been cursed to remain small, it is still quite mighty and a perfect choice for crafters to create things such as baskets, golf club heads, and other small hand carved & woven items.
The Dogwood has many additional medicinal and functional qualities as well. Did you know that you can peel the end of a Dogwood twig, chew it up a bit, and use it to brush your teeth? I recommend mushing up a fresh strawberry to use as toothpaste! Talk about some natural whitening power! The fruit can be eaten if cooked. This tree has not only been blessed but is a blessing to those who take the time to get to know it. In fact, the fruit, leaves, bark, and root have been used medicinally for centuries.
Quinine has gained a bit of attention in recent years with covid-19 as a potential cure. Traditionally used to treat malaria, many controversial uses have recently been discovered. The bark of the Dogwood Tree contains Quinine and during the Civil War dogwood bark tea became a primary substitute for malaria treatment when cinchona bark was not obtainable from the south.
The bark of the Dogwood straight off the tree is an extremely powerful and even harsh laxative. Simmered in water and ingested the dogwood bark will induce sweating and lower the body temperature as well as treating malaria. In addition, a decoction of the dogwood root can be applied to relieve sore muscles and joints. The leaves of the Dogwood Tree make a great on the go poultice for minor, scrapes, cuts, burns and bruises -- it is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It's thought that the berries act as a sort of neutralizer reducing the effects of some poisons.
The Dogwood Tree has a mild narcotic and analgesic effect making it a good option as a pain reliever for those sensitive to salicylates like aspirin from the Willow Tree. Dogwood bark has even been used in smoking blends to help calm and alleviate pain. A quick search on google will lead to days of reading the history, stories, and medicinal uses of the Dogwood Tree! You will find readings to feed your mind, body & soul full of goodness. If you don’t already have a Dogwood Tree in your yard, I recommend you pick one up!
A great place to pick up a Dogwood Tree is at the Dogwood Festival in Camdenton, MO -- the center of the Ozark Backwoods. Every year the community comes together to celebrate the Dogwoods blooming. We have a parade, scheduled events, a carnival, and craft show featuring area crafters & vendors, a dog show, live music, talent show, and so much more. Coolest part -- they pass out free Dogwood Trees to everyone who wants one! If you’re in the area, I highly recommend you stop by and enjoy the festivities!
Although I have studied plants and medicine for many years, I am not a doctor, and advise you speak with a doctor or licensed health care provider prior to the use of plants. I love to share nature and its beneficial uses with everyone in hopes it will lead to a new found passion, connecting with the earth, getting grounded, and becoming more self- aware and self-sufficient. The information I provide is a collection of knowledge from 15 years of study. I encourage everyone to do their own research and start exploring our world.
A great resource I highly recommend is LearningHerbs.com they have put together quite an impressive collection of information and it is presented beautifully! Always confirm a positive ID prior to using any plants, as a misidentification could potentially be deadly!
Forge responsibly, protect, and preserve nature! It’s up to us guys!
So, this Easter season be sure to look out the window and watch for the iconic cross-shaped, white flowers blooming at the ends of the seemingly scraggly trees and be thankful for the sacrifices so many have made to bring us where we are today. Watch as the woods come to life following the Dogwood's signal. Discover the many uses of the Dogwood, let it be a reminder that we are all blessed, and that nature provides.