Deer Tongue

topic posted Tue, April 26, 2005 - 10:17 AM by  Petite
Hello everyone,
I am new to this tribe. I have a question for all you beautiful people...
Has anyone ever heard of shredded dried deer tongue? It's called for in a recipe for a bath tea and it's supposed to smell like vanilla.

All I have found so far is real deer's tongue from the chinese herbalists, which I refuse to buy.

Any suggestions? Thanks!
posted by:
Los Angeles
  • Unsu...

    Re: Deer Tongue

    Tue, April 26, 2005 - 12:47 PM
    Deer's tongue refers to a type of fern. This fern is thin and long with a smooth, leathery surface. There are many ferns in the Deer's Tongue family. Here, in Hawai'i, we have Deer's Tongue growing wild in the forest, as well as the indigenous Lau'ae fern and types of mule ferns, all have the same characteristics of smooth and leathery leaves and all release a lovely vanilla-like scent upon drying. The vanilla scent comes from coumarins. Other herbs that contain coumarins and have a lovely vanilla-like scent are Sweet Grass, Tonka Beans and Sweet Woodruff. I would suggest you go for some Sweet Grass in your bath, it is easy to find.

    Good Luck.
  • Re: Deer Tongue

    Wed, April 27, 2005 - 5:21 PM
    Deer's Tongue:

    Vanilla Leaf, wild vanilla, trilissia odorata

    Parts used-leaves

    Herbaceous perennial plant distinguished by a naked receptacle, oblong, imbricated involucre, and a feathery pappus, fleshy basal leaves obolanceolate, terminating in a flattened stalk. Leaves clasping at the base. The leaves are used to flavour tobacco. The fragrance is largely due to coumarin, which can be seen in crystals on the upper side of the smooth spatulate leaves. Most species are used medicinally.

    Medicinal action and uses; Demulcent, febrifuge, diaphoretic

    Of the fern:

    Hart's tongue, hind's tongue, horse tongue, god's hair, buttonhole,

    Scolpendrium vulgare, asplenium scolopendrium

    It is specially recommended for removing obstructions from the liver and spleen, also for removing gravelly deposits from the bladder.

    I would recommend further reading and research to make sure you are getting exactly what you want.

    I am not sure, but I thought San Francisco Herb company used to carry it, at least they did about 10 years ago. There are several other good reasonable sources to wholesale priced herbs.
    • Re: Deer Tongue

      Wed, April 27, 2005 - 5:40 PM
      About Sweet Grass, there is a website, (they are temporarily out of stock) they sell the plants...They donate a portion of their proceeds to Both Veterans and Native American schools. I will include it and you can email them and see when they will have stock available again if you are interested in plants

      ...another source is called Native Scents, entirely owned and operated by Native

      • Unsu...

        Re: Deer Tongue

        Wed, April 27, 2005 - 6:00 PM
        Thanks Linda. I now remember about the 'other' Deer's Tongue.
        When I was the buyer for a large herbal apothecary, I used to order it from Aphrodesia. I am pretty sure that the use in this instance is purly for scent/external, so more research wouldn't really be necessary. It is always good to use the botanical names when one can as it creates less confusion. The ferns that you listed are not the same as the tropical Deer's Tongue ferns which grow here in Hawai'i. Deer's Tongue is just the white man's arbitrary and referential name given to the unfamiliar plants he discovered on his colonizing campaign. There are plenty examples of this type of naming in colonized nations. Here we have Star Apples, Mountain Apples, and Custard Apples...none of which are related to apples and all three are from different families!
        • Re: Deer Tongue

          Wed, April 27, 2005 - 6:47 PM
          Hello St. Walker,
          Yes I am sure you have alot of varieties in the islands that are not available or grown in the states...shipping must be outrageous...I ordered from Aphrodesia a few times about 15 years ago but was not happy with the quality of their product, and since I am studying for my PA horticultural certifate, regardless of whether I am native american or not the botancial names applied to plants do indeed lessen the confusion of varieties, that is why I posted also as many other names, (common and indigenous) that were most often used by those who were not of the horticulture loop. I would guess that the use in this instance also is for the external scent, however being as informed as possible when making a choice is always a nice option and makes additional information available to those who may not have access to it initially, I find it also stimulates interest...what we are here for. I used to own and herbs & spices shop from the late 80's until almost 2000, specializing in hard to find herb plants and varieties and gave talks and classes on many different aspects of usage....I agree about the apples, we also have something here that grows in our northern woods called may apples, of course, totally unrelated to apples grown on trees regardless of how many different varieties and hybrids there are...Thanks for the info on the referential names. Lauri
          • Unsu...

            Re: Deer Tongue

            Wed, April 27, 2005 - 9:33 PM
            "I find it also stimulates interest...what we are here for."
            Agreed, fully :-)
            I could go on and on with you I'm sure.
            My grandmother began teaching me the uses of herbs for medicine when I turned 9 and my study with her continued until I went off to college. Since that time I continue to learn and utilize herbal wisdom every day. Most of my focus for the past 4 years has been on learning the plants of Hawai'i. When I first moved here, from Washington, i felt so out of place without any of my familar plant friends around me! Now I find that I am growing rusty with my mainland herbs.
            I am sure your wisdom is delightful and I wish I could pick your brain in person...
            I definitly appreciate your info as much of the banter on tribe seems to be extra short and to the point. (perhaps for the sake of brevity or maybe out of resistance to type so much?)
            I totally agree with you on the quality of herbs from Aphrodesia...they tend to be poor, but they do have a large variety of non-medicinal herbs for potpurris and such.

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