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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    Ragwort

    Scientific Names

    Ragwort

    • Senecio aureus L.
    • Compositae
    • Composite family

    Common Names

    • Cocash weed
    • Coughweed
    • False valerian
    • Female regulator
    • Golden ragwort
    • Golden senecio
    • Grundy swallow
    • Life root
    • Liferoot plant
    • Ragweed
    • St. James wort
    • Segrum
    • Squaw weed
    • Staggerwort
    • Stammer-wort
    • Uncum
    • Uncum root
    • Waw Weed

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    Parts Usually Used

    Leaves, roots

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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Ragwort is a native perennial plant; the erect, grooved, brown-streaked stem grows from 1-2 feet high and bears alternate, oblong or lanceolate, pinnatifid or lyrate leaves. There are also coarsely toothed basal leaves which are cordate-ovate or reniform, long-petioled and sometimes purplish underneath. Flower heads with golden-yellow rays in flat-topped clusters and brownish disks grow in terminal corymbs from May to July. Highly variable.

    Other varieties: Common groundsel (S. vulgaris); European ragwort (S. jacoboea) The two related plants; common groundsel and European ragwort, have similar medicinal properties and are said to affect the liver (not necessarily favorably). Common groundsel is a widespread weed that can be found in gardens, fields, and waste places all over the world.

    European ragwort is now a naturalized plant of eastern Canada, the northeastern United States and individual localities elsewhere. The medicinal use of these plants without medical supervision is not advisable.
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    Where Found

    Found in marshes, along stream-banks, swamps, and in other wet areas from Newfoundland to Florida and westward to Wisconsin and Texas.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, pectoral, tonic
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    In Sussex, England ragwort is called ragweed.
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    Uses

    Ragwort is used for leukorrhea or suppressed menstruation. Native Americans, early settlers, and herbalists used it to speed childbirth and to induce abortion. Recommended for gravel and other problems of the urinary tract. Useful for rheumatism, sciatica, joint pains, lung ailments, dysentery, diarrhea, dysmenorrhea, lumbago, prostatitis, wounds, bronchial asthma, constipation, ulcers, colic, intestinal problems, blood purifier, high blood pressure, canker sores, chronic sores, coughs, and colds.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Fluid extract: take 1/2 to 1 tsp. in a cup of water.
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    Warning

    Ragwort contains toxic alkaloids which are known to be poisonous to livestock.

    Many ragworts of the Senecio species contain highly toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Care should be exercised to identify Senecio aureus before use and even then medical supervision is warranted. Senecio aureus is distinguished by the heart-shaped leaves at the base of the plant.
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    Bibliography

    Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    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! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    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! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    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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