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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.




BLACKROOT
Scrophulariaceae
a.k.a. Beaumont root, Black Root, Bowman's root, Culver's physic, Culver's root, Hini, Leptandra, Oxadoddy, Tall Speedwell, Tall Veronica, Whorlywort
(Veronicastrum virginicum syn Leptandra virginica syn Veronica virginica)
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PROFESSIONAL USE ONLY!!
FRESH ROOT TOO TOXIC TO USE SAFELY!!

CONTAINS: Root contains leptandrin (violent emtic and cathartic), saponins, phytosterols, tannins, resins, volative oil (containing esters of cinnaminic acids), a glycoside resembling senegin and other glycosides.

A hardy perennial native to the eastern United States in the mountains of the south and rich woods of the north. Stems are 5 to 7 feet tall. Flowers which are nearly sessile with a 4-parted corolla (nearly white in color) and 2 stamens, appear in in July and August on long flower spikes; leaves are deeply lobed, pointed, and appear in whorls; rhizomes are dark brown to purplish black, running horizontally just below the surface of the soil. (A rhizome is an underground stem producing shoots above and roots below; it differs from a true root by possessing buds, nodes, and scalelike leaves (which are not always present). Fruit is an oblong-ovate, flattened capsule containing many seeds.
Some experts believe that the medicinal properties of plants grown in limestone soil are superior to those grown under other conditions.

PROPAGATION: By seed in autumn; by division in spring or late autumn (set divisions just below the surface of the soil); by semiripe cuttings of lateral shoots in late summer.
NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in well-drained, moisture retentive soil in part shade. Flowering stems may need staking. Should be divided every 3 to 4 years. Susceptible to downy mildew.
HARVEST: Rhizomes with roots in autumn of the second year, then dry for use in decoctions, liquid extracts, powders, tablets, and tinctures.
PART USED: Dried and powdered rhizome with roots.
SOLVENT: Water, alcohol
RELATED VARIETY:
Veronicastrum virginicum roseum: A pink blooming variety.



USES

MEDICINAL:
Powerful purgative and emetic (fresh root!); also bitter, alterative, antiseptic, laxative, digestive system tonic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, stimulates production of bile from gall bladder, liver relaxant.
Has a long history of Native America usage to induce vomiting.
Ha been used internally for chronic constipation (often combined with Sweet flag and Goldenseal when accompanied by bloating and flatulence), indigestion related to liver disorders (often combined with dandelion and barberry), and for gall bladder inflammation (for gall bladder pain a poultice is applied over the affected area; also duodenal indigestion and chronic indigestion as a result of bile deficiency. Another combination which has been used for nonspecific liver problems is 1 oz Blackroot, 2 oz Goldenseal, 2 oz Senna, and 2 pints boiling water, combined and simmered until reduced to 1 pint; 2 tbsp were taken 3 or 4 times daily.
Has been used to cleanse intestines and liver of excessive mucous (small doses are taken gradually as large doses are purgative).
Has been used for enteritis and dysentery (combined with Rhubarb root (Rheum palmatum) and given in small doses of decoction every 3 hours).
Has been combined with Quinine and Fringe tree to assist recovery from post-viral syndrome (1 tsp compound tincture taken 3 times daily). Has also been used in the past for pleurisy.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
PROFESSIONALS ONLY!!
(Dose to be determined by professional healthcare provider)
INFUSION = Steep 1 tsp dried, powdered root in 1 cup boiling water for 30 minutes; taken cold, one mouthful before each meal (no more than 1 cup daily). DECOCTION = 1 to 2 tsps dried root in 1½ cups water, simmered 10 minutes; liquid strained and divided into 3 doses taken over the course of the day.
TINCTURE = 2 to 4 drops in water.
LEPTANDRIN (an extract from the root) = Professionals adjust dosage from 1/4 to 1 grain according to age and condition.
POWDER = Used by professionals as a cathartic at the rate of 20 to 40 grains per dose.

HOMEOPATHIC:
Tincture is used for ascites, pain and fever associated with bile production, constipation, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, headache, jaundice, liver affectations, infantile remittent fever, yellow fever.





©2004 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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