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.

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Coral Root

Scientific Names

Coral Root

  • Corallohiza odontorhiza L.
  • Orchid family

Common Names

  • Chickentoes
  • Crawley
  • Crawley root
  • Coral
  • Dragon’s claw
  • Fever root
  • Scaly dragon’s claw
  • Turkey claw
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    Parts Usually Used

    Rootstock
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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Coral root is a native American, perennial plant; this singular, leafless plant has a collection of small, fleshy tubers as roots; the dark brown, branched, toothed, coral-like underground rootstocks send up simple scapes with sheaths instead of leaves; the coral-like stalk is pale yellow with a covering of a sort of sticky wool and scales, answering for leaves, and with terminal racemes of 3-20 flowers. The hood-like flowers are reddish or purplish on the outside, paler and flecked with purple lines on the inside. One petal forms a white lip with purple spots and a purple rim. Flowering time is August to October. The fruit is a large oblong capsule. The plant grows 10-20 inches high and depends on roots of trees and the rich soil of the woods for survival; it has a strong nitrous smell, and mucilaginous slightly bitter, astringent taste.
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    Where Found

    It grows around the roots of trees in dry woodlands from Maine to Minnesota and south to Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Missouri.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Diaphoretic, febrifuge, sedative
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Coral roots are a brownish, chlorophyll-lacking group of orchids, found growing on leaf mold in rich woods throughout the United States. It takes a careful eye to find them. Its scarcity and high price have prevented its general use.
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    Uses

    An effective remedy for skin diseases, scrofula, boils, tumors, fever, acute erysipelas, cramps, pleurisy, night sweats, and highly recommended for cancer. Good for varicose veins. Dip a cloth in the tea and apply externally.

    Valuable in typhus and inflammatory diseases. Combined with blue cohosh for scanty or painful menstruations. For insomnia take the tea before retiring for the night. Native Americans used the tea as a blood thinner.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: steep 1 tsp. rootstock in 1 cup water. Take hot or cold, 1 to 2 cups a day.

    Tincture: take 10-20 drops at a time.
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    How Sold

    Available in a tincture; directions on the label.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

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

    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! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    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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