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The Asian milkweed Cynanchum paniculatum is a plant you won't find at your local big box store. In fact, you probably won't find it at your local botanic garden either. This unusual little easy-to-grow perennial produces thin, upright, 3' tall stalks clothed with long, narrow, pointed, alternately-held green leaves. From May through July, the main stalks are home to axillary flower stalks producing panicles of odd, small, green, star-shaped flowers. Cynanchum paniculatum hails from sunny mountain slopes to 3,000' elevation in Japan, China, Korea, and Mongolia. In Asian medicine, it has long been used for the treatment of stomachache, toothache, tracheitis, intestinal parasites, snake bites, as an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and, more recently, to inhibit the growth of cancerous cells. Who needs a doctor when you've got a patch of Cynanchum paniculatum?
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