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Asclepias tuberosa

This lovely herb belongs to the Herbal Materia Medica of North America where white settlers first learned about its uses from Native Americans. Pleurisy root belongs to the Milkweed s a family of plants that is usually distinguished by a white, milky latex that flows in their stems. Pleurisy Root is an exception to the rule as it does not yield and such latex. Native Americans used this herb not only for medicine, but also for food and it is still popular with wildfood foragers. Milkweeds are common in North America, but almost unheard of in Europe, even as a garden plant. Pleurisy Root is particularly common in the South and Southwestern United States. It derived its Latin name 'Asclepias' from Asclepius, the Greek God of medicine who was taught the healing arts by Chiron himself - too well, apparently, for he even managed to raise the dead, which Zeus, father of all the Gods heartily disapproved of and responded to by striking Asclepius dead with one of his thunderbolts. The English name of this herb is a pretty plain and basic reference to its healing use.

Pleurisy root is just what the name implies - a root used to cure pleurisy and similar afflictions of the respiratory system. It seems to have a very specific effect on the lungs that is tonic, expectorant and anti-inflammatory, thus being singularly useful for inflammation and catarrh of the lungs. It eases the pain and facilitates easier breathing in cases of pleurisy. It is mildly diaphoretic and ideal for opening up the pores to relieve suppressed perspiration. It can also be used for diarrhoea, dysentery and acute or chronic rheumatism, although it is rarely employed for these purposes. CAUTION In large doses it acts as an emetic and purgative. Avoid during pregnancy.

Uses: Pleurisy root can be used to attract little folk to the garden and to communicate with spirit beings. It may be used for spiritual healing.

Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children, or if you are unwell, or taking any medication. If in doubt, please ask a medical herbalist or healthcare practitioner.