The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Canada Moonseed

Scientific Names

Canada Moonseed

  • Menispermum canadense L.
  • Menispermaceae
  • Moonseed family

Common Names

  • American sarsaparilla
  • Canadian Moonseed
  • Moonseed
  • Texas sarsaparilla
  • Vine-maple
  • Yellow parilla
  • Yellow sarsaparilla
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    Parts Usually Used

    Leaves and roots
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    A perennial vine; the round, woody, twining vine of the moonseed family, with small clusters of purple berries and crescent-shaped seeds. Climbing woody vine; 8-12 feet tall. Root is bright yellow within. The leaves are smooth, with 3-7 angles or lobes; stalk attached above the base. Flowers small, whitish; in loose clusters; June to August. The fruit is globular, bluish-black drupe upto 1/2 inch across; resemble grapes.
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    Where Found

    Rich, moist thickets, moist woods, hedges near streams. Quebec, western New England south to Georgia; Arkansas; Oklahoma
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    Medicinal Properties

    Bitter tonic, diuretic, laxative
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    Native Americans used root tea for indigestion, arthritis, bowel disorders; also as a blood cleanser and “female tonic”.

    Externally, physicians used root (tincture) as a laxative, diuretic; for syphilis, general debility, and chronic skin infections. Sometimes used as a substitute for Sarsaparilla
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    Poisonous. Fatalities have been reported from children eating seeds and fruits. Some people reportedly confuse this plant with edible wild grapes.
    Care should be taken to correctly identify this herb. The black/purple berries are poisonous. The toxicity of the rootstock is due to its bitter alkaloids.

    Never use this herb without medical supervision.
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    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Buy It! Secrets of the Chinese Herbalists, by Richard Lucas, Parker Publishing Company, Inc., West Nyack, NY, 1987.

    Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

    Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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