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!


Scientific Names


  • Dirca palustris L.
  • Mezereum family

Common Name

  • Leatherwood

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Leatherwood is a small North American tree of the mezereum family, with a tough, flexible bark used by the Native Americans for making rope. This branched shrub grows 1-9 feet. Branchlets pliable, smooth, jointed, bark is very tough. Leaves oval to obovate, on short stalks. Yellowish, bell-like flowers appear before leaves. April to May.
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Where Found

Rich woods, along streams. Canada to Florida; Louisiana to Minnesota.
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Native Americans used Leatherwood bark tea as a laxative. minute doses cause burning of the tongue, salivation. Folk remedy for toothaches, facial neuralgia, paralysis of the tongue.
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Leatherwood is poisonous. Causes severe dermatitis, with redness, blistering, and sores. Use only under 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! How Indians Use Wild Plants for Food, Medicine & Crafts, by Frances Densmore, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick Street, New York, NY 10014, first printed by the United States Government Printing Office, Washington, in 1928, this Dover edition 1974

Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 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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