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


  • Bryonia alba L.
  • Gourd family

Common Names

  • Kua-lou
  • Ladies’ seal
  • Tamus
  • Tetterberry
  • White bryony
  • Wild bryony
  • Wild hops
  • Wild vine
  • Wood vine

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Parts Usually Used

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

White bryony is a perennial climbing plant; the prickly stem grows to a length of 10 feet and climbs using spiral tendrils that grow opposite to the leaves. The rootstock is dirty white, spindle-shaped and fleshy and contains milky juice. The leaves are cordate, five-lobed, and rough. Small, greenish-white or yellowish flowers grow in axillary corymbs from June or August. The fruit is a black, pea-sized berry.

Another variety: Red bryony (B. dioica) contains a dangerously poisonous resin.
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Where Found

Cultivated in the United States and Europe, and occasionally found wild in moist areas and vineyards of Europe.
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Medicinal Properties

Pectoral, purgative, anti-rheumatic
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Legends, Myths and Stories

Bryony was considered a wicked plant in the Middle Ages. Medieval con men passed off carved bryony roots as mandrakes, making great profits and deceiving many people, including childless women who bought the root as a fertility drug or charm.
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White bryony is a powerful purgative. In Germany, the rootstock is hollowed out and filled with beer. After 1 to 2 days, the beer is taken, a tsp. at a time, for constipation. The dried root is sometimes used for whooping cough. Also used for rheumatism, epilepsy, dizziness, palsy, dropsy, leprosy, convulsions, cramps, kidney stones, cough, shortness of breath. Externally, used to remove freckles, relieve sunburn, cleanse ulcers, sores, wounds, bruises, boils.
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Formulas or Dosages

Except in an emergency, do not use white bryony without medical supervision.

Infusion: use 1 tsp. granulated rootstock with 1 pint boiling water. Take 1 tsp. every 1 or 2 hours, or as required.

Tincture: a dose is 5-10 drops.
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White byrony purges violently; should have medical supervision.

The rootstock is poisonous in large doses. The berries are very poisonous. 40 berries will kill an adult; 15 berries will kill a child.

Another variety: Red bryony (B. dioica) contains a dangerously poisonous resin.
Do not use either Red or White Byrony without medical supervision.
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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! 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! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! The Nature Doctor: A Manual of Traditional and Complementary Medicine, by Dr. H.C.A. Vogel; Keats Publishing, Inc., 27 Pine Street (Box 876) New Canaan, CT. 06840-0876. Copyright Verlag A. Vogel, Teufen (AR) Switzerland 1952, 1991

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

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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