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!

Ragged Cup

Scientific Names

Ragged Cup

  • Silphium perfoliatum L.
  • Silphium laciniatum L.
  • Compositae
  • Composite family

Common Names

  • Compass plant
  • Cup plant
  • Indian cup
  • Indian cup plant
  • Indian gum
  • Prairie cup
  • Rosin weed

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Parts Usually Used

Rootstock, gum, leaves, resin
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Ragged Cup

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Ragged cup is a perennial plant; the horizontal, pitted rootstock sends up a square, glabrous stem from 4-8 feet high. The large, opposite, ovate leaves, 8-14 inches long by 4-7 inches wide, are coarsely toothed, the lower ones narrowing to margined petioles, the upper clasping the stem with the bases of each pair of leaves united. The yellowish flowers grow in sunflower-like heads on long, forked, axillary peduncles. Flowering time is from July to September. The plant contains a resinous sap. The root yields a bitterish gum, somewhat similar to frankincense.
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Where Found

Grows in rich soils from Ontario to Georgia and Louisiana, and westward to South Dakota and Nebraska. Common in the western states of North America.
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Medicinal Properties

Antispasmodic, diaphoretic, stimulant, tonic
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The gum, or resinous sap, has been used for antispasmodic and stimulant properties. The root can be considered as a general remedy for fevers, ulcers, liver and spleen problems, and physical debility. The root gum is used to sweeten the breath. Leaf tea is an emetic, once used for coughs, lung ailments, asthma. Root tea used for coughs, asthma, gonorrhea.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 tsp. root in 1 cup hot water. Take 1 cup a day.

Powder: a dose of powdered root is 20 grains.

Tincture: a dose is from 5 to 20 drops.
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Of unknown toxicity.
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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! 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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