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Black Root

    Scientific Names

    Black Root
    Black Root
    • Varonicastrum virginicum L.
    • Leptandra virginica L.
    • Scrophulariaseae
    • Figwort family

    Common Names

    ivyBeaumont root
    ivyBowman's root
    ivyCulver's physic
    ivyCulver's root
    ivyPhysic root
    ivyPurple leptandra
    ivyTall speedwell
    ivyTall veronica
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    Parts Usually Used

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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Black root is a perennial plant; the slender, simple, straight, smooth, herbaceous stem grows 2-5 feet tall from a horizontal, woody rootstock. The lanceolate, finely serrate leaves grow in whorls of 4-7; and the tiny white (or purple) flowers are tubes, nearly sessile, and very numerous, grow in panicled spikes, calyx, four-parted corolla, small and nearly white; two projecting stamens on showy spikes. The fruit is an oblong-ovate, flattened, many-seeded capsule.
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    Where Found

    Native to the United States, grows in moist soil, moist woods, and swamps from New England to Minnesota and south to Kansas.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Cathartic, cholagogue, emetic, hepatic, alterative, tonic, antiseptic
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    Biochemical Information

    Lepthandrin in root
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    Legends, Myths and Stories

    Lepthandrin is the extract made from the root; it should be used in lesser amounts, from 1/4-1 grain, adjusting according to age and case. Dose of the powder, as a cathartic, 20-40 grains.
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    Use cautiously. The infusion of the dried root used for sluggish conditions of the liver. The root is a cathartic for chronic constipation, and chronic Hepatic diseases. Used effectively for pleurisy, stimulating vomiting, diuretic, and some forms of dyspepsia. Cathartic for dysentery. Used, also, as a blood purifier or tonic.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Not recommended for use without medical supervision.

    Infusion: use 1 tsp. dried root to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 30 minutes. Take in 3 equal parts, before each meal.

    Tincture: take 2-4 drops in water.

    Formula for Liver Disorders:
    1 oz. Black root (Leptandra virginica)
    2 oz. Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
    2 oz. Senna (Cassia marilandica)
    2 pints of distilled or boiled water
    Reduce water to 1 pint by boiling. Take 2 tbsp. 3-4 times a day increasing the quantity if it fails to operate gently, or decreasing if it operates too much.
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    The fresh root is too toxic to use safely. Dried root should be used. Not recommended for use without medical supervision.
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    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, 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! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    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! 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! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

    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

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