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!

Lion’s Foot

Scientific Names

Lion’s Foot

  • Prenanthes alba L.
  • Prenanthes serpens
  • Nabalus serpentaria
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Cancer weed
  • Canker root
  • Canker weed
  • Rattlesnake root
  • White cankerweed
  • White lettuce

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Parts Usually Used

The entire herb
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Lion’s Foot

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Lion’s foot is a perennial plant; the smooth, purple-tinged stem grows to a height of 2-4 feet and contains a milky juice. The leaves are smooth, thick, and deep green, the basal triangular in shape, the stem ones lanceolate. All are deeply and irregularly toothed. Numerous fragrant pendant flower heads grow in broad, terminal panicles or axillary clusters during August and September. The florets are cream-colored and tinged with lilac. The seed (technically fruit) fuzz a deep rust color.
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Where Found

Found in rich woods of the eastern 3rd of the United States and Canada.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, antiseptic, bitter
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A decoction of Lion’s Foot root is used to treat canker sores, diarrhea and dysentery. In the past, drinking the milky juice was believed to be useful for snakebite. A poultice of the leaves can be used as first aid for snake, dog, and insect bites. Native Americans put powdered root in food to stimulate milk flow after childbirth.
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Formulas or Dosages

Decoction: use 1 tsp. root with 1 cup water. Take 1 cup per day.
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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! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

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! 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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