Pleurisy Root (Asclepias tuberosa)
Small bright orange clustered flowers crown the leafy, hairy stem.
Flowers: 3/8 inch wide, with 5 curved-backed petals and a central crown, in clusters about 2 inches wide.
Leaves: Alternate, oblong, narrow, 2
to 6 inches long, with juice that is watery, not milky.
Fruit: Spindle-shaped, narrow, hairy, with long, edible seed pods.
Plant height is 1 to 2-1/2 feet.
Family: Asclepiadaceae (Milkweed family)
Other Names: Butterfly weed, Swallow wort, Windroot, Tuber root,
Flowers: May – September
Parts Used: Root
Habitat: Dry roadsides and prairies. Southern New Hampshire to Florida,
Texas, Kansas and Missouri.
Properties: Antispasmodic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, tonic, and mildly cathartic.
Constituents: Glycosides, including asclepiadin and possibly cardiac glycosides,
volatile oil, resins.
Main Uses: Pleurisy root was widely used as an expectorant in the late nineteenth century. It has been recommended for colds, flu, and bronchial and pulmonary problems. Sometimes it was given with cayenne at the beginning of a cold. American Indians chewed the dried root or made a tea by boiling the root as a remedy for bronchitis, pneumonia, and dysentery.
Preparation And Dosages:
Decoction: Boil 1 teaspoon root in 1 cup water. Take 1 to 2 cups a day.
Tincture: Fresh (1:2), Dry (1:5) in 50% alcohol. Take 30 to 90 drops up to 4 times a day, depending on age and condition. At the beginning of a cold, take 5 to 15 drops in hot water and 3 grains cayenne every hour until you feel warm throughout. For children, the dose is 1 to 5 drops.
Caution CAUTION: The fresh root may cause nausea and vomiting.