Part used: Root.
Pleurisy Root is valued in acute lung conditions: bronchitis, pleurisy,
pneumonia, cough with fever. Fluid on lungs. Dry, irritating cough. Spasmodic asthma.
Eruptive fevers (measles, etc.). Intestinal colic.
The roots of most medicinal plants are harvested
in the fall, when the top of the plant has died back. Many roots are gathered at the wrong
time of year, and are sometimes only 1/3 as potent as they should be. Pleurisy Root is also
known as Butterfly Weed; with a bright orange, late summer milkweed-type flower (it is a
milkweed, without the milky sap); the butterflies flock to its flower-clusters. It is an easy and
beautiful plant to propagate; will grow in poor, well-drained soils and any piece of the root
can propagate the plant.
Pleurisy Root, a native of this country, has quite a history of use among the Indians,
pioneers, and Eclectic and Homeopathic doctors. Its effects are best obtained in a tincture or
tea (short decoction or long infusion) form. Its symptomology is related to its cooling nature;
fever and certain forms of inflammation being two symptoms that call for this herb. Not
indicated in cold, chronic conditions.
Pleurisy Root was used as a remedy in feverish lung conditions witrh harsh, dry cough
and/or pain. It is known for its ability to relax the skin pores and reduce fevers. It reduces
fluid congestion in the serous membranes, making it particularly called for as an aid in acute
pleurisy and pneumonia (seek medical help for serious infection). Lung fluid congestion. Dry,
irritating, and/or spasmodic coughs. Acute bronchitis. Dry, spasmodic asthma. It acts as an
expectorant while relaxing and relieving inflammation when membranes are over-dried. Also
in acute rheumatic fevers.
Its action on the skin gives indications for use where the skin is hot and dry. Dry eczema
and other rashes. Was helpful in my family for eruptive skin diseases like chicken-pox to
bring out the rash and bring down fever.
Pleurisy Root's action on the serous membranes has some apllication in abdominal fluid
build-up. Also in the bursa of shoulder and knee joints, especially in acute flare-ups. One
herbalist even uses it externally in these conditions.
Finally, its relaxing effects are felt on the intestinal tract in irritable bowel; regulates bouts
of diarrhea and constipation. Tones up digestion in general.
Pleurisy Root is an example of an herb with a somewhat limited but very important
symptomology and versatility.
Herbs for Anthrax and smallpox noted in history
Just as an add-to-your-knowledge item, I thought I would quote from an old Eclectic
medical text of the use of Echinacea in Anthrax infection (from American Materia Medica
and Therapeutics, 11th Edition, originally published 1898). This is not endorsing the use of
herbs for this deadly disease, especially a modern engineered disease, but pointing up the use
of herbs by doctors in the days when this type of infectious disease was still prevalent.
"In the treatment of Anthrax, Echinacea has proven in a number of cases to be an
exceedingly reliable remedy. Dr. Lewis of Canton, Pa., first reported on it in 1907 in
Ellingwood's Therapeutist, and Dr. Aylesworth of Colorado confirmed all of his statements,
the observations of the two doctors having been made about the same time, each without
knowledge of the other. In these cases, very large doses from one to two drams (referring
to the tincture), frequently repeated, are required."
"In the treatment of smallpox conclusive proofs are now furnished us which declare the
remedy to be of great efficacy, not only in ameliorating all the phenomena of the disease, but
in preventing sequlae. When applied to the skin in the form of a lotion, the pustules are
benign in character, and terminate with a minimum of scar". Other herbs referred to include
Baptisia, Black Cohosh and Thuja.' "