Monotropa Uniflora: A Ghostly Encounter

Have you ever seen this perennial plant while foraging or taking a walk?





And when I found out it was more than just an interesting looking plant, I was even more excited!

Monotropa uniflora, or ghost pipe as I like to call it, goes by many different names.


Just a few are Indian pipe, ghost plant and corpse plant.



That last one sounds a little scary, doesn’t it?

This plant can be rare in occurrence, although we’ve been lucky to find it a few times already!
Although generally white in appearance, it can have black specks or in some instances, have a pink or even red color.
The only variety that I’ve encountered so far is completely white, though it begins to turn black after it’s picked.
So what’s so exciting about this odd looking plant?  It’s not just a wild plant – it’s a medicine too!  After doing some research, I found that it can be used for relief of pain as well as a sleep aid.
I read an entry from the blog Living Afield and noted the author’s mention of his positive experience using it to relieve pain.
I live with chronic, disabling pain on a regular basis as a result of my brain surgery, so I was feeling really optimistic about it possibly working for me too.
And after speaking with my Naturopath, I felt more than comfortable giving it a go.  And guess what?  It worked! 
When I tried this plant as a medicine, I used just a small amount and consumed it raw.  While it didn’t have the best taste, it was tolerable.
I’ve found that, when eating raw, it was easier for me to break into pieces and swallow like I was taking a pill.  The effects of this plant came on slowly and when it began to work, my pain started to ease up.  It didn’t completely vanish, but it wasn’t completely there either.  I realize this may make no sense, but it’s very difficult to describe the relief that I felt.  It’s almost as if my pain tolerance increased so that a crippling headache turned into a mildly noticeable one.  I felt as though I was carrying the pain from the headache with me in my back pocket.  I knew it was there, but it was easy to ignore.  I’ve just begun using this plant as a medicine, but I have high hopes for continued use.  I’ve been on many different, heavy, prescriptions for pain and this little, unknown plant has worked as good or better than the array of narcotics I’ve been on.  Fentanyl, morphine and even Oxycontin are no match for this powerful plant (though I do think it’s important to use caution and consult your doctor for guidance).