Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Cedar Fever Potion

Denny and I took our  annual dose of Cedar Fever Potion last night.  Woke up this morning feeling good.

When my friends first hear about the potion, they wonder.  Watch me from the corners of their eyes to see if I'm more than normally irrational.

Leaves and berry of Ashe Juniper, (Juniperus ashei) AKA Damn Cedar --->

But once friends experience a bout of Cedar Fever, the mid-December to late-March malady that slams Texas Hill Country residents, they want to know about the Potion.

If you live in the Hill Country, you can't get away from the Fever.  It's a reaction to the annual mating ritual of the Ashe Juniper trees that cover our hills. From December through March, male trees explode pollen--trees releasing here and there, not all at once.  No, the other males nearby hold off, firing days, weeks or months later.  It's a coordinated plot for a fourth-month yellow mist of misery.

Ashe Juniper thicket behind our home.  Yes, we could cut it down to clear the air-space.  But I believe every yard needs a sanctuary.  Small birds shelter in the thicket when hawks fly overhead or bad weather blasts.  And others, like our seasonal black-chin hummingbirds and year-round cardinals, nest there. 

A continuous rain of pollen may be good for the female trees, but humans burn and shiver, sinuses swell until heads explode, and folks think about dying as a form of relief. I only know this from personal, pre-potion experience.

You might be wondering about the potion. It's a folk remedy passed on by David Will, noted horticulturalist, who knows nearly everything about native plants of this region.  He's not a doctor but I couldn't find any reference saying a dilute solution would harm us.

We're not doctors either but after four years of potion, we're not dead, for whatever that's worth.  

So if you want to check it out for yourself, the recipe is here: Cedar Fever Cure, but you're on your own with risk and all that.

The Fever is a drawback to living in the Hill Country but other places have hurricanes, blizzards, tornadoes, mudslides and earthquakes.  I'll take the quirky beauty of the Texas Hill Country. 

And the potion.  

Copyright 2009-2011 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. There must be something in the air because I have been sneezing like crazy. I suffer from the dreaded Oak pollen allergies. I enjoy the winter, but pay for it in the spring. I've heard of a similar potion for oak pollen.

  2. My husband is always miserable with those cedar allergies. I will approach him with this remedy tonight. Question is, do we have any young leaves this year? I don't think they grew and I'll bet the deer ate the young shoots.
    If this works we owe you one!

  3. I've had cedar fever. As bad as the flu! If a glass of pine-scented water will help me avoid it, bring it on!

  4. We have lots of Eastern Red Cedar around here, but nothing like the problems you describe. Funny how different species have these little malignant side qualities while others don't.


  5. 4 month long cedar fever season - that is brutal! NM has no unique name for juniper pollen season, but most are affected by J. monosperma in Feb +/-. Since it is native from W Arizona to the SE Colo and W TX...westerly winds bring us 400+ miles of wind-blown pollen, so not having one male juniper in the entire city would not help us.

    So far, 20 yrs later, no juniper allergies.

  6. Molds bring me to my knees. Cedar? One year only and then I was cured. But I have seen it's effects on susceptible victims five minutes after stepping outside. Bad business.

  7. How interesting, Kathleen. I've never heard of this.

    Sorry I haven't been around more. Things here at the office have gotten a whole lot busier with our new CEO on board, and I just cannot face a laptop in the evenings, after being on one ALL DAY. My eyes are shot.

    I love you and Denny. Hope all is well.


  8. Hmm, I will have to pass that on to my husband. I am one of the lucky few who do not suffer terribly from cedar fever.

  9. we mixed up the magic cedar tea potion last year for the first time. My husband had amazing result and we are hoping for the same this year too.

    If Rambling Wren (or anyone for that matter!!).... I would be interested in the potion you heard about for the oak pollen. Nasty stuff that is!

    Sincerely, Emily

  10. Phew...Finally caught up on you blog. Where have I been....anyway...this is very interesting. And the potion that i went in search of was also very interesting. Is it yucky?

  11. Kind of a mild minty flavor, not hard to swallow.

  12. Have you had any problem with the toxicity of the berries? I've look them up and they are toxic, does this upset your stomach?

    1. Thsnks for your comment. I wonder if you're checking another species rather than Ashe juniper. Every source I've seen says the berries are edible. Its a moot point since there are no berries in this.

      The solution is very dilute and I haven't had or heard of any stomach issues.

  13. Years ago I took some ceder leaves and took a mouthful and chewed them up and swallowed the juice. I didn't swallow the leaves (only the juice from the leaf) because they have sharp pieces on the leaf. Over the years I've done it over and over. Also, in the summer I have tons of rag weed that springs up in my garden along with wild lettuce and plantains. I will take the ragweed leaves and the wild lettuce and other things and make a salad. The ragweed leaf has a fairly good taste kind of like spinach. I am 77 now and am not bothered by allergies. The plantain is also a fairly good tasting green plant. The American Indians would use the plantain for bites such as spiders or wasps. The plantain will take the poison out of a red ant or spider bite. any questions: cjemeyson@satx.rr.com


My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.