The pleurisy root produces a white sap and has been widely employed in North America to treat respiratory afflictions. Its name was given by the natives, who have used the plant for ages.
Healing Properties and Warning
This plant’s most essential active component is asclepiadine, a glycoside similar to the foxglove plant. It also contains essential oil, resin, starch, mucilage, and tannin.
The root of the plant has a strong expectorant and sudorific effect. When combined with other treatments, the plant renders good results for bronchial catarrh, acute and chronic bronchitis, and pneumonia.
WARNING! When consumed fresh, the leaves and the stem may cause poisoning since they contain a toxic glycoside that disappears with drying.
Pleurisy Root Varieties
The genus Asclepias includes several American species besides the Asclepias tuberosa L., proper to among which the most outstanding in phytotherapy is the following.
- Asclepias curassavica L.
- Asclepias incarnata L., whose bark provides a textile fiber. The root and the rhizome of both this one and the latter varieties have properties and medicinal uses similar to those of the Asclepias tuberosa L.
- Asclepias speciosa Torr., Asclepias syriaca (milkweed), which are grown for eating as vegetables and to make chewing gum from their latex.
Pleurisy Root Scientific Facts
- Other names: Butterfly weed, Canada root, flux root, tuber root, white root, wind root, orange swallow-wort.
- Spanish: Asclepias.
- Environment: Native to North America, where it grows in sandy, dry soils. In Europe, some varieties of this plant are grown as ornamental herbs.
- Description: Plant of the Asclepidiaceae family, whose stem grows up to one meter high. Its leaves grow in a spiral pattern around the stem, and its flowers are orange or yellow, gathering in umbels on the top of the stem.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: Dried root.
How to use Pleurisy Root
- Decoction with one tablespoon of dried ground root per cup of water. Drink one or two cups a day.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 298. Print.