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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.

a.k.a Baume de Cheval, Clergyman's friend, Guérit-toutHardback, Hardhack, Hardrock, Heal-all, Horse Balm, Horseweed,
Knob grass, Knob-root, Knobweed, Knot-root, Oxbalm, Richleaf, Richweed, Wild Citronella

Collinsonia canadensis
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NOTE: The root is well tolerated, but the leaves are only used externally as they can cause vomiting in even small amounts. Stoneroot is ALWAYS used in combination with other herbs.

A large-growing member of the Labiatae (mint) family native to North America from Canada to Florida and west to Arkansas found in moist woods. Stems are 4-sided and from 1 to 4 feet in height, with large greenish-yellow, 2-lipped, lemon-scented flowers in loose-panicled racemes. Flowers bear 2 long stamens. The leaves are opposite, oval, coarsely toothed and 4 to 10 inches long. The rhizome is brown-gray, about 4 inches long, knobby and very hard. Four seeds are produced per pod with 50% usually infertile.
The whole plant has a strong odor that is pungent and spicy with lemony notes. The taste is bitter and astringent.
It's botanical name is taken from its discoverer, Peter Collinson, a British scholar who was very interested in North American plants.

CONTAINS: The root contains resin, starch, essential oil, mucilage, wax, saponins, organic acid, and a possible alkaloid. The leaves contain resin, tanning, wax, and volatile oil. The active principle is collinsonin.

PROPAGATION: By seed (stratify 4 weeks) in spring or autumn and by root division. Seeds germinate in 2 to 4 weeks at 65º to 70ºF. Plant out 3 feet apart. To divide the very hard roots, cut segments off with a sharp shovel and replant. Hardy perennial.
NEEDS: Moist, humusy soil in full sun to part shade.
HARVEST: Rhizome and roots lifted in fall. Used for decoctions, liquid extracts and tinctures. The fresh root is said to be the most effective, but the dried form is used as well.
FLOWERS: Greenish-yellow and lemon-scented, 5/8" long and appear July to October.
SOLVENT: Boiling water.


Tonic (for capillaries and digestive system), astringent, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antilithic, vulnerary, hepatic tonic, peripheral vasodilator, alterative.
Decoction of the fresh root has been used for catarrh of the bladder, for leucorrhea, gravel and dropsy.
Has been used in all complaints of the urinary organs and rectum. Once a popular hemorrhoid remedy. For hemorrhoids a salve was made using equal parts Goldenseal and Stoneroot with a small amount of Thuja oil or Tea tree oil. Also used for spasms or fissures of the rectum.
Has been used externally (especially the leaves) as poultices and fomentations for bruises, wounds, sores, cuts and as a gargle (1 part fluid extract to 3 parts water).
Has been used internally for kidney and urinary stones, cystitis, diarrhea, and gastroenteritis.. Combined with Parsley piert, Gravel root, Pellitory of the Wall or Hydrangea for stones and gravel in the urinary system and gall bladder, not only to treat, but for prevention as well.
Has been used for indigestion accompanied by constipation. Has been used to relieve muscle spasms especially of the digestive tract. Also used for headaches caused by poor digestion.
Has been used to strengthen weak veins (ie. varicose).
Tones and improves mucous membranes and especially those of the pelvic area and has been used when circulation to the pelvis is insufficent and accompanied by a feeling of heaviness in that area.
The name Clergyman's Friend comes from the ability to help sore or hoarse throats (as gargle or tincture added to honey and taken 4 or 5 times daily). Formerly, a syrup was used for inflammation of the throat (ie.laryngitis, chronic cough) and for middle ear problems.
Has also been used for headache, chronic bronchitis, colic, cramps, dropsy, indigestion, problems of pregnancy, proctitis, pruritus vulvae, and rheumatism.
Externally, the leaves have been used as a fomentation and poultice for bruises, sprains, wounds, inflammations, contusions, cuts, ulcers, sores and also made into an ointment for rectal application.
Native Americans used the root and leaves as a wash for cuts and wounds.

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
1 to 4 grams of dried root or its equivalent, 3 times daily.
2 to 5 grains (with 2 being average and 5 being the largest dose) 3 times daily.
1 tsp root, cut small or granulated, to 1 cup water just off the boil; steep; drink cold at the rate of 1 cupful throughout the day a large mouthful at a time.
Also taken in capsule form.
TINCTURE = 5 to 20 drops, 3 times daily or 1 to 2 ml 3 times daily.
DECOCTION = 1 tsp root to 1 cup water taken 3 times daily.
FLUID EXTRACT = 15 to 60 drops.
COLLINSONIN = 2 to 4 grains.

Used for alternate diarrhea and constipation with flatulence, chronic nasal, gastric and pharyngeal catarrh due to portal obstruction, constipation (especially in females), constipation of children from poor muscular action of the bowels, depressed arterial tension, diarrhea, dropsy (cardiac), dysentary, dystentary with tenesmus, dysmenorrhea, dyspepsia, general atony of muscles, hemorrhage, hemorrhoids (and associated headaches), heart palpitation (rapid but weak), heart problems, hoarseness and dry cough, irritations, itching anus, labor of childbirth, pelvic and portal congestion, problems of pregnancy, proctitis, prolapse of womb, pruritus vulvae, pruritus during pregnancy with piles, rheumatism, vascular engorgement of rectum. Also used in advance of surgery for rectal problems.
HOMEOPATHIC DOSE =Homeopathic tincture to the 3rd potency (higher potencies if organic heart affectation).

Used as a diuretic.

Native Americans used the leaves to scent their bodies.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH