PLEURISY ROOT (Asclepias tuberosa) is for the most part a medicinal herb. It is a diaphoretic (a substance that causes sweating), expectorant; antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, nervine (slightly sedative), tonic and an excellent sweating agent to break up colds, fevers, flu and all bronchial problems...an excellent therapeutic agent for pulmonary catarrh and difficult expectoration.
Native to America and Canada, Pleurisy Root is a perennial plant that produces orange or yellow flowers. American Indian medical practitioners named this herb after the condition it was used to treat; pleurisy. This plant reduces inflammation, relieves spasms in the airways, promotes perspiration, and helps clear the air passages of secretions.
Pleurisy root was used by Native American tribes both internally as a remedy for pulmonary infections and topically to treat wounds. The Eclectic physicians seized upon these ideas and continued to use the plant primarily for lung problems such as pleurisy and pneumonia. It was also used as a diaphoretic for all manner of infections.
For over a thousand years, indigenous North Americans including the Menominee, Delaware, Cherokee, Mohegan, Iroquois, Navajo, Omaha, Rappahannock, and Ponca used pleurisy root for lung and respiratory infections; also for other ailments. Some tribes used the root for rope and weaving.
Some American Indians used to boil the tubers for food, prepare a crude sugar from the flowers and eat the young seed-pods, after boiling them, with buffalo meat. Some of the Canadian tribes used the young shoots as a potherb, after the manner of asparagus.
Pleurisy root can be of benefit for eruptive skin diseases to bring out the rash and bring down the fever...externally a compress of the tea for acute flare-ups of bursitis in shoulders and knee joints...also has a positive, relaxing effect for intestinal disorders such as IBS.
Pleurisy root was an official medicine in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1850 to 1905... it should be avoided for those taking heart medication and by pregnant women. The plant can be found along roadsides, however, it is far better to plant seeds on your own property for two reasons: one to prevent extinction of the plant, and the other so that when the above-ground part of the plant dies back, you will know where it is in the event you need the fresh root in fall or winter.
The roots of most medicinal plants are harvested in the fall, when the top of the plant has died back. Many roots are gathered at the wrong time of year, and are sometimes only 1/3 as potent as they should be. The seed pods contain hundreds of seeds, each with a silky-soft, fluffy parachute that allows the seeds to float in the wind seeking new places to grow. People used to stuff pillows and clothes with the seed fluff and even use them to make lifevests. They also used the seed fluff as wicks in candles.
PLEURISY ROOT INFUSION
from Advanced Treatise in Herbology by Shook
1 ounce Asclepias tuberosa (Pleurisy root), cut
1 1/4 pints distilled water
Pour boiling water over the herb, cover and allow to stand in a warm place for 20 minutes; then strain.
DOSE: 1/2 teacupful (a little less than 4 oz) in 1/2 teacupful of hot water while patient is closely covered in bed. Repeat dose until free perspiration is produced and apply hot cloths, wrung out of same strength infusion.
This remedy possesses specific action on the lungs, assisting expectoration wonderfully, subdues inflammation rapidly, brings about reabsorption of exudates and exerts a general tonic effect on the whole organism.
In addition to using the above formula, you can also make a tincture from the pounded root infused in vodka. Dig up the root...clean it well and allow to dry, then pound it so that the chemical constituents will be absorbed by the vodka...place the root in a brown quart jar and fill with 100% vodka. Label, date and put in a cabinet, shaking it once a day for six weeks. In lieu of a brown jar you may use a mason jar that is then placed in a brown bag to prevent light from weakening the herbal medicine.
Dose: 20 to 80 drops in water, 3 times daily.
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