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Ghost Pipe - Monotropa uniflora

Monotropa uniflora

Ghost pipes have several medicinal benefits. They have sedative antispasmodic, and diaphoretic effect. Ghost pipe is more inclined towards managing neuronal disorders like psychosis, acute anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and convulsion episodes.

  • Plant Family: Ericaceae
  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names: Indian Pipe, Ghost Plant
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: Yes
  • Parts Used: Above ground parts
  • Side Effects: None
  • Herbal Actions:
  • Antispasmodic
  • Diaphoretic
  • Muscle Pain
  • Sleep Aide/Insomnia

About Ghost Pipe

Articles about ghost pipe.

Ghost pipe is a delicate and exquisite herbaceous perennial from the Ericaceae family that emerges from the forest grounds. Ghost pipe is also known as Indian pipe and is marked by extremely reduced leaves and beautiful yet scanty flowers with translucent petals.

The ghost pipe is entirely white in appearance and gets its food from the roots and mycorrhizal fungi. Its stems take a sharp turn towards the ground and have a single, inodorous flower. Ghost pipes have several medicinal benefits. They have sedative antispasmodic, and diaphoretic effect. Ghost pipe is more inclined towards managing neuronal disorders like psychosis, acute anxiety, nervousness, irritability, restlessness, and convulsion episodes. Ghost pipe juice when paired with rose water can skillfully treat ulcers, gonorrhea, inflammation of the bladder, and ophthalmic inflammation.

This nutrient-dense herb has salicylic acid as one of its main constituent which aids in inducing analgesia. Salicylic acid acts just like Aspirin to relieve the obstinate pain of different origins like migraine, emotional pain, and overwhelming physical pain. Ghost pipe also helps in repressing the traumatic memories that may trigger anxiety and panic attacks due to sensory overload.

Even the old legends talk highly of ghost pipes where a Cherokee legend discusses this versatile plant as a great tool for warding off selfishness and disputes.

Ghost pipe is a flowering plant that grows on its own in the wild, under dark environment as it does not need light to carry out photosynthesis. It emerges from early summers to early fall when the weather is still warm and humid with recent rainfalls.

It cannot be cultivated indoors or by any means of human interference. Gardeners are looking for ways to have it cultivated but its mechanism of reproduction is unknown.

Ghost pipe is a perennial plant that grows in wet regions, under the shade of tall trees, and vicinity of mycorrhizal fungi. The acidic and moist soil helps in its emergence, probably from the seeds.

The seeds soon send out shoots that turn into stems. From June till September, ghost pipe blooms and gets pollinated by bees. After fertilization, the flower attains the shape of an upturned seed capsule and the stem dries to depict the appearance of a twig-like stalk.

The seeds get dispersed throughout the forest floor where they adapt the parasitic and saprotrophic lifestyle to survive and grow and propagate its generations.

The flowers are harvested when they are still upturned as the upright flowers are prone to falling dry and turning black. Recent literature advises to use just the roots of ghost pipe which can be harvested any time during the year.

The roots of ghost pipe can be harvested by pulling up the plant and using sharp anvil pruners to cut it.

The ghost pipe roots and flowers are used fresh. They cannot be stored even after being dried as the drying process can turn the petals black. The freshly harvested aerial and underground plant materials are tinctured or decocted readily for usage.

Due to its eerie appearance and ample spiritual data related to it, ghost pipe has earned this strange name. But on the contrary, ghost pipe has a lot of medicinal perks that can be employed for seeking benefits.

  • Tincture - Infuse freshly harvested chopped Ghost Pipe in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Natural Herbal Remedies for Anxiety & Nervous Conditions

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The Forgotten Herb: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Use Ghost Pipe

Ghost pipe (Monotropa uniflora) Flower

Deep within the woodland's mysterious embrace, a hidden gem lies waiting to be discovered - the enigmatic Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora), a plant shrouded in both obscurity and wonder. Often overlooked due to its ghostly and ephemeral appearance, the Ghost Pipe is an ancient herbal ally, offering unique medicinal properties that have been utilized by indigenous cultures for centuries. Yet, despite its storied past, this ethereal plant remains largely unknown to the modern world. In "The Forgotten Herb: A Comprehensive Guide on How to Use Ghost Pipe," we will unearth the secrets of this mystical plant and explore its myriad uses, from traditional remedies to innovative applications in contemporary herbal medicine. Journey with us as we delve into the enigmatic world of the Ghost Pipe, and together, let's rediscover the untapped potential of this forgotten herb.

Ghost Pipe, or Monotropa uniflora, is a curious plant that thrives in the shadowy understory of forests. Unlike most plants, it is non-photosynthetic, taking on a ghostly, ethereal appearance. This unique characteristic is what gives it its common name. But beyond its aesthetic appeal, this plant has been used in traditional medicine for centuries, and learning how to use Ghost Pipe can open up new avenues for natural wellness.

The first step in learning how to use Ghost Pipe is knowing when and where to find it. Ghost Pipe usually blooms between early summer and early fall. It's often found in dense, shady forests and enjoys a symbiotic relationship with certain tree species, such as beech, pine, and oak. As foragers, farmers, and cooks ourselves, we understand the thrill and satisfaction of finding these elusive plants. Remember, sustainable foraging is key, ensuring that we leave enough behind for the ecosystem to continue thriving.

Now, let's explore how to use Ghost Pipe. Traditionally, this plant has been used to make tinctures or teas. While the scientific community is still studying its potential health benefits, anecdotal evidence suggests that it might have pain-relieving properties. To make a tincture, harvest the Ghost Pipe flowers and place them in a jar, then cover with high-proof alcohol. Let this sit for a few weeks, shaking occasionally. This extracts the plant's constituents into the alcohol. Strain out the plant material, and what remains is your Ghost Pipe tincture. When it comes to using the tincture, always start with small amounts to see how your body responds.

If you prefer a more traditional method, you can learn how to use Ghost Pipe to make tea. Simply dry the harvested plant and steep it in hot water. Enjoy the tea as is, or experiment by adding other herbs to create a blend that suits your palate.

At Foraged, we're not just about providing access to these hard-to-find foods. We're about nurturing a relationship between you and the food you consume. We believe that understanding how to use Ghost Pipe and other foraged ingredients can transform your life, enhancing your appreciation for the intricate web of life that sustains us all.

However, we must stress the importance of responsible foraging. Always ensure that you correctly identify any wild plant before consumption and never overharvest. Our mission is to support sustainable businesses and promote a healthier relationship with our food and environment.

In conclusion, learning how to use Ghost Pipe is not just about adding another ingredient to your pantry. It's about embracing a deeper, more meaningful connection with nature and our food. So, why not take a step towards this exciting journey with us at Foraged? Together, we can rediscover the joy of food in its most natural form, while nurturing a sustainable food system for generations to come.

Buy Ghost Pipe

Learn more about indian (ghost) pipe.

A Beginner's Guide to the Unseen: An Introduction to the Ghost Pipe

A Beginner's Guide to the Unseen: An Introduction to the Ghost Pipe

Exploring the Potential Ghost Pipe Benefits: Unveiling the Secrets

Exploring the Potential Ghost Pipe Benefits: Unveiling the Secrets

How to Grow Ghost Pipe: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Grow Ghost Pipe: A Comprehensive Guide

About foraged.

At Foraged, we’re on a mission to empower small-scale food purveyors to grow healthy, sustainable businesses while nourishing everyday people by providing easy access to unique foods.

By supporting Foraged vendors, you're helping to build a better, more sustainable food system for everyone.

Plus, we're committed to doing things the right way - our platform puts the power back in the knowledgeable hands of those who grow, harvest, and create foods most responsibly. 

And we don't just stop there, we also want to make sure you know how to cook and preserve the specialty foods you source from Foraged, which is why we provide educational resources and delicious recipes for you to try.

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Ghost Pipe, a NO PICK

ghost plant benefits

I have a Flora Bucket List of plants and fungi that I want to meet and not so much to gather while I am studying in the PNW, I recently checked off my list Monotropa uniflora commonly known as Ghost Pipe a strikingly beautiful ghostly, otherworldly looking plant that has been gaining a lot of popularity on social media and getting a lot of "INSTAlove".


Many folks wildcrafting this plant will speak of this plant as being "sacred" and attribute its medicinal uses as being a nervine and an analgesic. Folks wildcrafting Ghost Pipe will defend their gathering of the plant by saying they gather only the aerial parts, adding to it catch phrases, "ethical" or "sustainable" to make their audience think that they are respectful of the plant. I have seen an herbalist share on Instagram and Facebook their experiences and coined it as a "spirit teacher plant" and listing its uses followed by "i made a small batch". Following their post was many comments to the likes of "i need this, do you accept venmo, how can i get this" and tagging of friends so they too could jump on the Ghost Pipe wagon. In my opinion these wildcrafters are contributing to the Plant Lust and if the plant was so "sacred" then why not LEAVE IT ALONE and respect the plant and its medicine by leaving it be. Just because you prayed and asked permission of a plant that can not withstand mass wild harvesting does not give anyone the right to take from it. Those who defend their wildcrafting practices by saying they "take the aerial parts" keep in mind that by removing the flowering parts will be removing the future fruit bearing seeds which are the future of baby Ghost Pipes.

Renee Davis wrote an article about Ghost Pipe which she gives a list of a few alternative plants to use in place of Ghost Pipe. Below is an excerpt from her GHOST PIPE RESPECT blog post.

"I too am enamoured and moved by Ghost pipe. So I leave it in its habitat to continue its life. I sit with it, photograph it, and take in everything it has to offer. There’s more magic there than having it ground up in alcohol on my apothecary shelf.

Howie Brounstein said, “It’s easier to gather plants than to not gather them.”

ghost plant benefits

What is Monotropa uniflora Ghost Pipe?

Some folks mistaken Ghost Pipe for a fungi but in fact it is a flowering plant within the Heath Family, Ericaceae. Folks will also say that this plant is parasitic because it does not contain chlorophyll and cannot photosynthesize. Ghost Pipe is in a group of plants known as a mycoheterotrophs, mycoheterotrophic plants are partially or entirely non-photosynthesizing plants, that have a relationship with the mycorrhizal fungus and the mycorrhiza fungus have a symbiotic relationship with the trees where its roots attach to the roots of a photosynthesizing tree, which acts like a bridge between the mycoheterotroph (Monotropa) and the tree. The energy starts with the photosynthesizing tree which feeds the mycorrhizal fungi and in turn the mycorrhizal fungi supports the mychoheterotroph. Because the mychorrhiza and the trees have a symbiotic relationship there is benefit to both the tree and mychorrhiza.

Mycorrhiza accumulate nutrients and water and are like a nutrient bank, they have the ability to store excess nutrients and releasing nutrients and water to the tree as needed.

Mycorrhiza can inhibit invasion of damaging fungi.

Mychorrhiza can help extend the life of the tree root tips.

Mycorrhiza fix nitrogen and provide nitrogen to its host.

Mycorrhiza helps the flora by breaking down substances that the plant cannot use.

Mycorrhiza increase plant tolerance to different environmental stresses.

In return, the flora/tree supplies the mycorrhizal fungus with carbohydrates for use as energy which supports the mycoheterotrophic plant. It's beautiful to think about the vast network of life that takes place in undisturbed areas. Paul Stamets refers to this as "Earths Natural Internet".

Parasitic plants like Doder, Mistletoe and Dwarf Mistletoe find a host and deplete the nutrients and water from its host which will eventually kill the host overtime.

ghost plant benefits

I explained lightly the relationship of a mycoheterotroph plant like Ghost Pipe and mychorrhiza and the symbiotic relationship of mychorrhiza and with trees or other flora producing chlorophyll. Being that Ghost Pipe has a relationship with the mycelium in the soil of where it grows, it can not survive disturbance. Folks who attempt at wildcrafting it in hopes of cultivation will actually be causing harm to the plant as it can not live without that soil association. Folks who say they cut just the aerial parts are removing the chance for it to flower, pollination and go to seed which means future Ghost Pipes. In fact this plant is so delicate that even the mere touching of the plant will cause it to bruise, wilt and die . Those who use the roots, well, it does not take a degree in science to understand that the plant has met its demise when its roots are dug up. On one of our field days at Columbines School of Botanical Studies, Howie Brounstein (herbalist, botanist and founder of Columbines) wanted to show us the impact of harvesting of the plant, he led us to an area where once Monotropa had thrived for years but has since been was dug up. Seeing this is incredibly aggravating to me, I see that as Plant People we should care more about the plants and not let some plant meditation or a "spirit guide you on a summer solstice" (i actually read that on a instagram post recently) to take a plant that cannot withstand harvesting and then sensationalizing it on social media. We should be stewards and care for the land and protect the plants. Not feel the entitlement to take it because it is the ONLY plant that can help you, or because it's becoming trendy to post photos of Ghost Pipe tincture or the aerial parts of the plant on social media. Question your use and research other plants that can be used in place of Ghost Pipe.

I understand that many herbalist back in the day have respectfully used this plant sparingly and when needed. When I have done my research on its use I found dated articles and papers of its use at a time before social media which has contributed to it's popularity. Times are changing and we cannot use the excuses that it has been used for years, herbalist who once taught about it have had a change of heart seeing how popularity has impacted stands. (read the article from Renee Davis link is above)

As herbalism and wildcrafting is increasingly becoming popular, it is understandable that we all want to connect with the earth and its medicine, however the plants and ecosystems deserve our respect and attention of their current status and concern. It is only responsible to educate ourselves on the plants that are rare, threatened, endangered, plants that are impacted by commercialism. Yes, Ghost Pipe is not rare, threatened or endangered per the USDA list of Threatened and Endangered Species, it is a plant that is in review of consideration on the United Plant Savers, Species At-Risk list.

ghost plant benefits

It's expected for those who are gathering Ghost Pipe to be defensive and have explanations of why it is not impacted and defending their wildcrafting techniques. For those who use consider this plant "sacred" and gather it if for self use, there is truly no need to boast about it on social media and add to the growing list of #GHOSTPIPE #MONOTROPAuniflora hashtags and increasing the popularity of the plant. It does not seem so "sacred" when folks share it with the world to see. We have seen the increasingly insane popularity of White Sage Salvia apiana and the impact that demand has brought to the plant. I can go on about White Sage there is a lot of post I have written on it if you search under "ECO-WARRIOR" on my blog categories. Please check out this article by the United Plant Savers, Susan Leopold about What's Happening with White Sage for more insight.

When sharing about this plant it is important to also share the concern of the over harvesting of it and the o ther factors that can affect the plant i.e. loss of habitat like clearcuts, because of the disturbance of the soil Ghost Pipe cannot grow again not to mention the plant thrives under the forest canopy. Climate change , as this plant likes its feet to be wet, the dryer the ecosystem becomes the plant can not survive.

Let's prevent the continued incline of popularity and demand of Ghost Pipe and be a voice for the plants that need protection for its continued growth and success.


I mentioned earlier how delicate Ghost Pipe is. Touching the plant even using a stick will cause it to bruise, wilt and die before it can produce seeds which prevents the future of more Ghost Pipes. I have had folks tell me they made their essence by dipping the flower in the vessel of water rather than cutting the flowers. Others are apparently cutting the flowers for their flower essence. I will not explain in detail of how to make vibrational medicine but in short, with my training of making flower essence, the top of the water filled vessel is covered with flowers, some vessels are larger than others so that means more flowers, remember the flowers will turn into fruit which bear seeds of future babies. How is this sustainable? Another key needed for making of flower essence is full sunlight. After collection of flowers the vessel is placed in direct sunlight sitting nest to the plant where no shadows will cross over it for three to four hours. Ghost Pipe thrives in the old growth conifer forest under the canopy of trees. If you have ever visited the old growth forest then you will know that there is no full sun for three to four hours. Even if there was sun peeking through the canopy it is short lived. I have in the past had to move my flower essence around to avoid the shade of a nearby tree as the sun would move. So I question the authenticity of a flower essence of Ghost Pipe. I just think it's a bunch of hype and folks jumping on the Ghost Pipe wagon.

To close this long post, Please for the love of preserving the plants, if you are currently working with Ghost Pipe consider other flora that can be used in place of it and if you don't have the information reach out to an herbalist who is informed of the plants status. For those new to herbalism and making of botanical medicines, it is only ethical and responsible to do thorough research and not just take from a plant without the understanding of what your impact can potentially have on both land and ecosystem. Just because a plant may appear abundant in that one spot does not mean that it is in fact. Have you expanded your search to expanding outside of the area where you usually see it? I cannot stress more the importance of understanding the flora and the land. If you have a desire to study botanical medicine in depth there are schools that work directly with the plants and ecosystems. The second herb school I went to was Green Wisdom Herbal Studies in Long Beach, founder, herbalist Julie James focuses in cultivating your own herbs along with Traditional Western Herbalism with days in the Apothecary Garden working with medicinal plants. Columbines School of Botanical Studies based in Eugene, Or. is an immersion program studying botany and herbalism with field days in the Cascade Mountains along with lectures in a classroom. Sage Country Herbs is based in Southern California and is also an immersion program studying herbalism and botany in the field.

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Indian Pipe Plant Picture

Ghost Pipe (Monotropa Uniflora)

Proving date: October 2011 Proving completed by: Misha Norland, Mani Norland & The School of Homeopathy Common names: Ghost pipe, Ice-plant, Bird's nest, Fit-plant, Ova-ova, Pipe-plant, Ghost-flower, Corpse-plant.

Download: Full proving Ghost Pipe (Monotropa Uniflora) Download: Proving rubrics Read proving physical symptoms: Monotropa Uniflora Physicals

About the Ghost Pipe

A Plant Reclassified Into the Family Ericaceae.

Loss of connection; obstruction;  breached boundaries; parasites and spongers. For Monotropa patients going with the flow is paramount, while the sensation that sums up their pathology is blockage, manifesting as cramps, congestion, throbbing, jarring. When there is obstruction, nothing gets through. Sensations are of being constricted, pressurised, ready to burst, explosive. Intense waves of pain. Boundaries have been crossed, penetrated. Boundaries are leaking, the patient may feel hijacked, taken over by freeloaders and spongers. An important theme is of parasitism. Provers had many dreams. The most frequently occurring were of morphing from one state into another. Transvestites cross-dressing, being part animal, part human. Also dreams of autism. Patients may feel cut off, numb and isolated. Because a vital connection has been broken, they feel left out, rejected and alienated vs themes of fortification of boundaries, clear sense of direction, and ability to reconnect and become one with the Source. They feel tapped in, carried by the flow, or blocked, having the flow cut off, feeling isolated, numbed-out and alienated.

The plant is also known as ghost plant, Indian pipe or corpse plant. ghost pipe has no chlorophyll, it cannot photosynthesise. It obtains its nutrients from a fungus that in turn lives in association with neighbouring trees. Transport of nutrients occurs through the network of fungal hyphae. Many fungi and trees have this symbiotic relationship, known as a 'mycorrhizal' relationship. In mycorrhizal relationships, the tree provides the fungus with carbohydrates formed from photo-synthesis while the fungus provides the trees with various minerals, especially phosphates. Ghost pipe however, does not appear to give anything back to the fungus or the tree and instead takes nutrients from the fungus that it, the fungus, receives from the tree. Since the fungus has to take more nutrients from the tree to 'feed' both itself and the ghost pipe, Monotropa uniflora can be regarded as a parasite of both the fungus and the surrounding trees. In other words, pipe plants are parasitic on the symbiotic relationship of fungi and trees. Ghost pipe was originally classified into the family Monotropaceae, but after further research was reclassified to be included in the Ericaceae family of plants (heathers). Heathers, shrubs and trees thrive in acidic soil, and some plants in these groups, such as cranberry, blueberry, azalea and rhododendron, are known to have the same kind of relationship with mycorrhizal fungi. Pipe plants are a rare perennial, found in Asia and throughout North America and parts of northern South America, growing in shady woods, in rich, moist soil, or soil composed of decayed wood and leaves, and near the base of trees. The whole plant is ivory-white in all its parts, and resembles frozen jelly. When handled it dissolves and melts away in the hands, almost like ice. The plant has single, short, waxy, white or pinkish stems that are 4–8 inches high and adorned with sessile, lanceolate, semi-transparent scaly bracts. The tip of each stem bears an odourless solitary bell-shaped flower with 4 or 5 petals; at first, before pollination, it is drooping, like a downward facing smoker's pipe. Their resemblance to a pipe has given rise to the names ghost pipe or pipe plant. The stems arise from May until October from a mass of dark fibrous, tangled roots that composed of fungus and plant, each having intimate connection with one another. The flowers are pollinated by bees and after pollination, the flower turns upwards and forms an oval seed capsule. When the fruit has matured, tiny seeds are dispersed by the wind. Once the seeds are released, the plant dries out and turns black and quickly shrivels.

Cherokee legend: Long ago, when selfishness first entered the World, people began quarrelling, first with their own families and tribal members, and then with other tribes. The chiefs of several tribes met together to try to solve the problem of quarrelling. They smoked a peace pipe together, while continuing to quarrel among themselves for the next 7 days and nights. In punishment for smoking the peace pipe before actually making peace, the Great Spirit turned the chiefs into grey flowers making them grow where relatives and friends had quarrelled.

Early 19th century: In 1821, William Hooker – founder of The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew – and his son Joseph Hooker, hypothesised that ghost pipe could either be regarded as being parasitic on tree roots or, like fungi, absorbing nutrients from decomposed organic matter. In the early 1840s, Thomas Rylands learnt that the roots of ghost pipe were not associated with trees but rather to the cobweb-like hyphae of fungi instead. Late 19th century: Franz Kamienski found that the hyphae were connected to the roots of trees as well as to ghost pipe, establishing a symbiosis between fungi and woody plants.   1960s: Eric Björkman and Steve Trudell showed that nutrients and carbohydrates flowed into ghost pipe from the mycorrhizal hyphae network thus demonstrating that these plants are parasitic on the symbiotic relationship of fungi and trees. 2005: Martin Bidartondo, at The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, released research findings on the ecology and evolution of symbioses between plants and fungi. DNA evidence compiled by Bidartondo showed that an ancestral plant mutated and eventually evolved into ghost pipe and other species of Monotropa. John Pastor in 2016, wrote in theclevermoose.com, 'There is a technical term for this sort of mutation in evolutionary theory, namely, “cheater”. A cheater is an individual with a mutation that decreases its reproductive fitness but which benefits from other individuals without that mutation. The white ancestors could not produce seeds on their own, but only if they obtained carbohydrates through the mycorrhizae connecting them with their green relatives. Any population can withstand some small burden of cheaters, but not much. The cheater strategy is probably one reason why ghost pipes are relatively rare.' Emily Dickinson: The reclusive American poet, who dressed in white, has been compared to the ghostly plant that lives alone in the shaded wood. The flowers drew her attention and she once wrote, 'Did you ever know that a flower, once withered and freshened again, became an immortal flower, that is, that it rises again?' Her first book Poems, published posthumously in 1890, had an illustration of ghost pipe on the cover. The plant was known as her very favourite wild flower. In The Passion of Emily Dickinson (1992), Judith Farr writes, 'Toward the end of her life Mrs Todd (Emily’s brother’s long-term lover) painted her a picture of these flowers and she wrote back her thanks, “That without suspecting it you should send me the preferred flower of life, seems almost supernatural, and the sweet glee that I felt at meeting it, I could confide to none.”' Indian pipe 'Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe— 'Tis dimmer than a Lace— No stature has it, like a Fog When you approach the place— Not any voice imply it here— Or intimate it there— A spirit—how doth it accost— What function hath the Air? This limitless Hyperbole Each one of us shall be— 'Tis Drama—if Hypothesis It be not Tragedy— Extract taken from Emily Dickinson’s ’Tis whiter than an Indian Pipe (c. 1879)

Medicinal uses: The ‘root’ is the part that herbalists use and it should be gathered between September and October. It is a tonic and sedative used for convulsions in children, epilepsy, chorea, spasmodic affections, febrile diseases, as a diaphoretic, for restlessness, pains, nervous irritability, acute anxiety and/or psychotic episodes, severe mental and emotional pain, as well as intense nerve pain. The plant has aspirin-like chemicals that no doubt account for its analgesic properties. The juice of the plant is used to treat ophthalmic inflammation, general inflammation, ulcers, and gonorrhoea.  

The proving

When Misha first came across Monotropa in Vermont, USA, he was struck by its appearance – a ghostly apparition of white shrouds on a leafy floor of dim woodland. Closer inspection revealed a translucent flower and stem emerging from the ground. He picked a few and was amazed by the plants' lack of density, which collapsed in his hands as if they had melted. He placed all that was above ground in a bottle and here the plants quickly blackened. At home, a few hours later, he added vodka for preservation, ready for later potentisation. Themes emerged in the proving that related to vulnerable boundaries, loss of control , penetration , loss of direction , disconnection, confusion in finding the right words , and not belonging to the family or group. These oppose other themes of fortification of boundaries, sense of direction, connection, clarity, confrontation and mental tension leading to resolution. The proving revealed another strand running alongside that of Ericaceae, relating to ghost pipe's mycorrhizal relationship – the fungal theme of invasion and expansion, as well as issues such as dependence on water, decomposition, and dissolution. Sankaran describes sensations of fungi as invading, burrowing, digging, excoriating and eroding. Dreams of underground tubes and tunnels, basements, burrowing, up and down , intense waves , rising high and diving deep, are consistent Monotropa proving themes. Michal Yakir assigns Monotropa to Column 4 on her table, which relates to the group or family. She writes, 'The flow is blocked: concept of flow being obstructed or being detached from the Source. Obstructive dreams/delusions included cars driving down narrow roads, barricades, and traffic jams. One can move only in secretive or underground ways.' Provers spoke of safety in the family or the 'Source', and the anxiety of its absence – or a desire to leave this 'nest' and be on one's own – or being obstructed and feeling left out . The consensus in the proving experience was that when it is possible to push through these dark, lurking unpleasant truths and 'bring them up into the light', one can reconnect and become one again with the Source. Scholten describes Ericales as feeling they are tolerated and not really accepted anymore, often living in poor conditions, as they do not need very much; they may long for recognition and compliments, and in the end can become bitter, seeing themselves as unimportant and offering themselves for others. This echoes Edward Bach’s indications for Heather, 'For loneliness, those who are always seeking companionship of anyone who may be available, as if they find it necessary to discuss their own affairs with others'. As ghost pipe relies soley on its hosts for nutrition, the expressions described by Bach seem to be amplified. AIDS is the prominent miasm because the boundary issue is paramount. For ghost pipe to survive it needs to become confluent (lose boundaries) with the mycelium of fungus, that in turn becomes confluent with tree roots for its nutrition. The structure above ground melts away when handled – it loses its boundary – hence the plant's other name, wax plant. The feeling of having no boundaries between oneself and the World – being vulnerable, naked and exposed – is perhaps the most basic feeling of the AIDS nosode. Ghost pipe, flows freely without resistance. It is an attuned calm flow , which is connected to Source. However, when disconnected – through obstruction or detachment – ghost pipe, like the AIDS nosode, becomes weak and separate. This experience was recorded by one prover as, 'I felt like a complete universe was contained within me and that everything external to me was cut off, as though a bubble surrounded me'.

Calm flow - Penetration - Direction - Up and down - Intense waves - Loss of control - Disconnection - Dependence - Left out - Confrontation - Right words

Calm flow - Penetration - Direction - Up and down - Intense waves - Loss of control - Disconnection - Dependence - Left out - Confrontation - Right words Proving Themes
Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Ericales Family: Ericaceae Genus: Monotropa Species: Monotropa uniflora Kingdom Taxonomy
Imagine drifting in a tube. You are flowing freely without resistance. The direction of travel is set. There is nothing to resist, just to relax and go with the flow. This state of connectedness is so perfect that neither fear nor anxiety arise.

Misha Norland

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Ghost Pipe facts and uses

Ghost Pipe facts and uses

It is one of about 3000 species of non-photosynthetic (i.e. heterotrophic) flowering plants. Unlike most plants, it doesn’t have chlorophyll, the stuff that makes plants green. Indian pipe looks waxy and sometimes totally white but commonly it has black flecks and a pale pink coloration. Rare variants may have a deep red color. It is a mysterious, underground except when flowering, perennial common boreal non-photosynthetic flowering epi-parasite. It parasitizes parasitic tree fungi, and is not dependent on one particular fungus, forming associations with at least a dozen different fungi, many of which produce edible mushrooms. It seems completely dependent on its host fungi for organic nutrients. The whole plant is ivory-white in all its parts, resembling frozen jelly, and is very succulent and tender, so much so that when handled it dissolves and melts away in the hands like ice.

Plant Description

Ghost Pipe is actually a herbaceous perennial plant that grows about 10 to 30 centimeters tall. The plant is found growing in complete shade on stable forest floors, usually where green plants do not. It prefers Rich, moist soil, or soil composed, of decayed wood and leaves, and near the base of trees. It is non-photosynthetic and contains no chlorophyll or green parts. Because of its ghostly white appearance, the plant is sometimes mistaken for a fungus. Roots are dark-colored, fibrous, perennial, matted in masses about as large as a chestnut-burr. Stem is 4 to 8 inches high, terete, white (sometimes tinted pink), translucent, fleshy, and hairless. Leaves are sessile, lanceolate, white, semi-transparent that alternate up the stem.

The above-ground portion of the plant consists entirely of delicate white translucent flowers and flower stems, one flower per stem. The flowers first appear as bent white tubes about 1/8-1/4 inch diameter, which slowly elongate, straighten, and display their respective terminal floral buds, at a height of 6-10 inches in clumps of 2-100. Each fragile stem and young flower resembles a white clay pipe. The down-turned flowers are pollinated by bees upside down. They have no fragrance. They flower for about a week and then die, turning black as they do so, hence the name Corpse Plant. They are very tender and succulent, but when picked will melt away and dissolve. If you pick it then it wilts and turns black very quickly. The flower is shaped like a pipe bowl and so it got its name, the Indian pipe plant, although it is also known as the Dutchman’s pipe. It looks like a calumet, the Native Americans’ pipe of peace. Flowering normally takes place from August to November.

After the blooming period, the entire plant becomes dark brown or black, and each flower is replaced by an erect ovoid seed capsule about ½ inches long. This seed capsule is 5-celled and contains numerous tiny seeds, which are easily blown about by the wind after the capsule splits open.

Closer-view-of-Ghost Pipe flower

There is a Cherokee legend about the Indian pipe: Long ago, when selfishness first entered the world, people began quarreling, first with their own families and tribal members, and then with other tribes. The chiefs of the several tribes met together to try to solve the problem of quarreling. They smoked a peace pipe together, while continuing to quarrel among themselves for the next seven days and seven nights.  In punishment for smoking the peace pipe before actually making peace, the Great Spirit turned the chiefs into grey flowers and made them grow where relatives and friends had quarreled.

Traditional uses and benefits of Ghost Pipe

  • An infusion of the root is antispasmodic, hypnotic, nervine, sedative, and tonic.
  • It is a good remedy for spasms, fainting spells and various nervous conditions.
  • It has been given to children who suffer from fits, epilepsy and convulsions.
  • Plant was used by some native North American Indian tribes to treat eye problems, the stem was bruised and the clear fluid of the stems applied to the eyes.
  • Juice from the stems has also been used to treat nervous irritability, including fits and spasms.
  • It has been recommended in the past as a possible opium substitute.
  • An infusion of the leaves has been used to treat colds and fevers.
  • Crushed plant has been rubbed on bunions and warts in order to destroy them.
  • Poultice of the plant has been applied to sores that are difficult to heal.
  • Flowers have been chewed in order to bring relief from toothache.
  • Water extracts of the plant are bactericidal.
  • Powder has been used in instances of restlessness, pains, nervous irritability, etc., as a substitute for opium, without any deleterious influences.
  • It is supposed to have cured remittent and intermittent fevers, and to be an excellent antiperiodic.
  • In convulsions of children, epilepsy, chorea, and other spasmodic affections, its administration has been followed with prompt success.
  • Juice of the plant, alone, or combined with rose water , has been found to be an excellent application for obstinate ophthalmic inflammation, to ulcers, and as an injection in gonorrhea, inflammation and ulceration of the bladder.
  • It has also been used in cases of acute anxiety and/or psychotic episodes due to intense drug experiences.
  • It has been used effectively in treating severe mental and emotional pain due to PTSD and other traumatic injury, as well as severe nerve pain due to Lyme disease.
  • Plant teas ingested for aches and pains associated with colds.
  • Root tea used for convulsions, fits, epilepsy, and as a sedative. Roots also have antispasmodic properties.
  • Tisane can be made with the plant to help with colds and flu.
  • It is a useful first aid remedy that helps ease pain caused by trauma, tension, migraines, or pinched nerves.
  • It also helps relieve skeletal tension associated with migraines and neck pain, as well as sharp, shooting pains associated with pinched nerves.

Culinary Uses

  • The whole plant can be cooked.
  • It is tasteless if eaten raw, but has a taste like asparagus when it is cooked.

Dosage may vary depending on individuals and practitioners. Some herbalists are suggesting this in drop dosages and others in ml dosages. Experimenting with the dosage of this plant for yourself would be a good way to go. Start small and add on until you notice its effects. Also, consider the situation a more acute first aid type situation may require a larger dosage than treating something like a mild chronic pain.








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Ghost Pipe plant

Monotropa uniflora , more commonly known as Ghost Pipe or Indian Pipe, is a unique perennial plant. This plant is non-photosynthetic with a white and waxy appearance, causing it to commonly be mistaken for a fungi [1].

ghost plant benefits

  • 2 Description
  • 3 Habitat & Range
  • 5 References

Ghost pipe was formerly considered to be part of the Ericaceae family, but most recent evidence now puts it in the Monotropaceae family [3].


ghost plant benefits

Ghost pipe plants are perennials that grow in small clusters on the forest floor [5]. They have a stem, with scale-like leaves that grow about 10 - 30 cm tall and on top, curves downward into a white, five parted flower [3]. As the plant ages, the stalk will straighten and the flowers will point upwards. The ghost pipe plant is one of approximately 3000 species that does not contain chlorophyll, which is what gives it the white, translucent coloring [4]. Because it lacks chlorophyll, it does not carry out photosynthesis and is considered to be a saprophyte [1]. "It parasitizes parasitic tree fungi" and has been known to form associations with more than a dozen different types of fungi [4].

ghost plant benefits

Habitat & Range

Monotropa uniflora is native to North America and is found throughout the country (excluding the Rocky Mountain area) and can also be found in Asia [3], Russia and northern South America [5]. Ghost pipe prefers to live in woodland humus [2] and likes rich, moist soil . It is found mostly in shaded areas where other green plants cannot live, as it does not require the sun for photosynthesis [4].

Three early medicine bottles.jpg

Ghost pipe has traditionally been used in many ways to aid in human health. The herbal actions of Monotropa uniflora include nervine, anodyne, diaphoretic, sedative, and antispasmodic. A tincture can be made to ease pain, both physical and emotional and has been recommended as an alternative to opiates[5]. It has been used as a remedy for spasms and to help children who suffer from epilepsy or fits. It is known to calm nerves and restlessness and assists symptoms of PTSD. The flowers can be chewed to help with toothaches and an infusion of the leaves used to treat colds and fevers. The entire plant is edible, but remains tasteless unless cooked, in which case tastes like asparagus [4].

[1] “Indian Pipe (Monotropa Uniflora) Species Page.” http://www.bio.brandeis.edu/fieldbio/Wildflowers_Kimonis_Kramer/PAGES/INDIANPIPE_PAGE_FINAL.html .

[2] “Ghost Pipes (Monotropa Uniflora) - JungleDragon.” https://www.jungledragon.com/specie/1379/ghost_pipes.html .

[3] “Ghost Pipe.” https://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/plant-of-the-week/monotropa_uniflora.shtml .

[4] “Ghost Pipe Facts and Health Benefits,” September 19, 2018. https://www.healthbenefitstimes.com/ghost-pipe/ .

[5] Wisdom of the Plant Devas. “Ghost Pipe: A Hauntingly Rare Plant for Physical and Emotional Pain,” October 4, 2019. https://wisdomoftheplantdevas.com/2019/10/04/ghost-pipe-a-hauntingly-rare-plant-for-physical-and-emotional-pain/ .

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ghost plant benefits

Ghost Pipe Tincture

FREE SHIPPING 48 U.S. States : 1 oz Size Label: Beneficial Botanicals Botanical Name: Monotropa uniflora Other Names: Indianpipe, Indian Ghost Pipe, Indian Pipe, Ghost Plant, Corpse Plant, Pipe Plant, Ice Plant Parts Used: fresh aerial parts Harvesting Notes: tincturing begins right at harvest site Organic: yes Origin: Blue Ridge Mountains, USA Tincture Ingredients: fresh Monotropa uniflora, organic alcohol, spring water

Most Common Uses: physical pain, anxiety, insomnia, migraine headache, muscle spasms

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Ghost Pipe (Monotropa uniflora) is a potent plant and must be used with the upmost respect and thoughtfulness. If you are not familiar with this plant's medicinal properties, it is highly recommended that you read beyond the information provided here. Above all, pay attention to the warnings, and when dosing start with the minimal amount. If you are the type of person that approaches medicinals with the thought "if a little is good, more is better", it is important that you discard this idea and proceed with exercising caution.

Monotropa uniflora is not a mushroom as some might think but is actually a flowering plant. It does not contain chlorophyll but takes its nutrient energy from certain fungi that in turn have a symbiotic nutrient relationship with trees. This is a fragile plant which should only be handled sparingly by the harvester, and the roots should be left for sustainability. Skilled herbalists know that the aerial parts must be harvested fresh, and immediately begin the tincturing process right on site. The unusual color of the tincture is a deep purple and will most likely include particles of the airy plant that are not necessary to filter.

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Use, Effects, and Dosage It is hard to find information on this plant regarding scientific study, other than taxonomy, but we have included some writings from respected herbalists. Still, it is recommended that you continue your own research and consult with a naturopath or other healthcare professional for guidance. For Physical Pain Effects: Ghost Pipe addresses intense physical pain by reducing the sensitivity to pain stimuli as an antinociceptive --a sensory input modulator. According to herbalist and ethnobotonist David Winston, it is not your normal analgesic. He describes it as allowing the acceptance of the pain, knowing that it is there, but simply feeling as though you don't care because it raises the pain threshold. He goes on to say, "I find that Ghost Pipe often makes people feel more grounded and present in the moment when their overwhelming pain has been dominating their experience of their bodies and the world." In the book, "Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections", Stephen H. Buhner includes Indian Pipe as one of the primary herbs for relief from Lyme disease coinfection pain. Dosage: Most herbalists suggest starting with 3 drops to see if the effects will be felt in 15-30 minutes. According to David Winston, for extreme pain, take up to 20 drops per dose. Stephen H. Buhner noted in his book a dosage recommendation of 30 drops, up to 6 x per day, for Lyme Disease coinfection pain. For Anxiety and Emotional Pain Effects: Similarly, as with the description for physical pain, Monotropa uniflora is reported to help with bringing down the intensity of feelings to a level of observation in order to appropriately deal with the cause of the anxiety. According to renowned herbalist and author Stephen H. Buhner, his experience with Monotropa uniflora to address symptoms of Lyme Disease is as follows: “Indian Pipe tincture combats random bouts of sadness, as well as acute anxiety and panic attacks that result from an overload of sensory data or external input. Therefore, it is often helpful in cases of acute onset of anxiety or panic due to over-stimulation from auditory or visual stimuli, which is not uncommon in people with neurological Lyme disease. It may also reduce the anxiety that occurs when a person is trying to process an overwhelming amount of treatment information, thereby enabling them to make more sound decisions regarding what protocol is best suited for their individual needs.” Do sage: According to clinical herbalist, Tommy Priester, start with 3 drops of the tincture. If after 30 minutes the effects are not felt, increase the dosage up to 20 drops. For Insomnia Effects: Monotropa uniflora tincture can be used to assist with sleep where insomnia is caused by an unsettled worrisome mind and/or physical discomfort. Because of its sedative, nervine, and antispasmodic effects, it may help with falling asleep and waking up without a feeling of hangover. It has been described to assist with "letting go of the worry" for relaxation. Dosage: Test the dosage needed by starting with 3 drops up to 20 drops. It is reported to take 15 to 30 minutes for the effects to be felt and begin to assist with falling asleep. For Muscle Spasms Dosage: unknown For Migraine or Chronic Daily Headache (CDH) Dosage: Herbalist and author, Stephen H Buhner recommends a dosage of 30 drops to 100 drops (1 tsp) every few hours. Precautions Some sources cite that daily dosing of Monotropa uniflora should not exceed one month. Not recommended to be taken in conjunction with ADHD medication (stimulants). Not recommended for children due to unknown safe usage amounts. Do not operate machinery or drive a vehicle while taking Monotropa uniflora.

[tab name="Precautions"]

May cause drowsiness. Do not take this tincture while operating machinery or driving a vehicle. Some sources cite that daily dosing of Monotropa uniflora should not exceed one month. This plant tincture is not compatible with ADHD medication, or other stimulants. Not recommended for children due to unknown safe dosage amounts. Overdose, early on-set symptoms, can include blurred vision, dizziness, perspiration, muscle weakness, low blood pressure, hyper-salivation, and paresthesia around the mouth or extremities. Initial management of early overdose symptoms should include the administration of activated charcoal if the ingestion has occurred within the last 2 hours. The dose of activated charcoal is known to be 0.5 to 1 grams per kg of weight in children or 25 to100 grams in adults. Supportive care is usually sufficient for managements. Drug Interactions: No other information available.

[tab name="References"]

American Herbalist Guild, " Ghost Pipe: A Little Known Nervine " Health Benefits Times " Ghost Pipe Facts and Uses " References used from books by Stephen Harrod Buhner, author of "Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging & Resistant Viral Infections" and "Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma".

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The information provided here is intended to supplement, not substitute for, the expertise and judgment of your physician, pharmacist or other healthcare provider and should not be construed to indicate that the use of this herbal product is safe, appropriate, or effective for you. Consult your healthcare provider before taking this herbal product.

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