Dr. Jennifer Williamson

Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea) is growing all over my little mountain. When I first noticed it, I was driving down our road and saw black berries and red stems. Immediately, I thought that it was Elderberries and I just hit the motherload of places to collect them. But, upon further inspection, they are most definitely Dogwood, which is still useful of course, just not in the same way.

Technically you can eat the berry raw or cooked and it contains Vitamin C. The flowers and berries can be made into a brandy, marmalade or syrup. But, the berries might make you vomit, so you probably won’t want to eat too many. An oil can be extracted from the seeds which is also edible

Dogwood is named for its reported benefit of curing hydrophobia, which is a symptom of rabies, and a decoction for washing mangy dogs. Generally, all parts of the plant are astringent, since all parts contain tannins. The berries are mostly considered an emetic, however, one source said that a tea was made from 9 berries to treat diarrhea. I would suspect that it is the tannins in the berries improving the gastrointestinal mucosa so that loose, watery stools are improved.

 A tincture can be made from the bark or leaves and taken internally to treat eczema, skin infections, intestinal parasites, ringworm, colic, and gout. It can also be used acutely to decrease a fever and alleviate chills. The leaves could also be used externally as a poultice to help dry wounds in a pinch, but they can cause some skin irritation in sensitive people. A tea can be made from the bark to make into a fomentation for hemorrhoids. The bark has more of the febrifuge qualities of the plant, so pick the part you want to use accordingly.


Williamson_headshotJen Williamson, ND is a native of Buffalo, New York who earned her Bachelor of Science at Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and a Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Tempe, Arizona. While in medical school, she became very involved in the student community, most notably as the President of the Student Government Association. For her service, upon graduation she was given the Outstanding Leadership Award.

In the spirit of Docere, the Naturopathic principle of the doctor’s role as teacher, Dr. Williamson was an adjunct professor in the Complementary and Alternative Therapies program at Daemen College. She has had articles in a variety of publications, includingNaturopathic Doctor News and Review, SheKnows.com, local Buffalo magazines and papers, as well as her own newsletter, blog and website. While practicing in Buffalo, she also offered over 30 different classes to the public at various events and locations.

In 2012, Dr. Williamson moved to Vermont to expand her practice of Naturopathic Medicine as well as provide an atmosphere that resonates with her medicine for her son, Victor, and husband, David. As a Primary Care Physician at Avalon Natural Medicine, Dr. Williamson focuses on mental/emotional, gastrointestinal, and endocrine disorders. Most of her treatment plans include a combination of nutritional, herbal and homeopathic remedies, but she has also received additional training in Hair Trace Mineral Analysis and Bowel Nosodes.

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