Pleurisy Root

Pleurisy root is a bitter, nutty-flavoured tonic herb that increases perspiration, relieves spasms and acts as an expectorant[238]. It was much used by the North American Indians and acquired a reputation as a heal-all amongst the earlier white settlers[254, 257]. Its main use in present day herbalism is for relieving the pain and inflammation of pleurisy[254]. The root is antispasmodic, carminative, mildly cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, tonic and vasodilator[4, 21, 46, 165]. The root was very popular as a medicinal herb for the treatment of a range of lung diseases, it was considered especially useful as an expectorant[4, 213, 254]. It has never been scientifically examined and warrants further investigation[213]. It has also been used internally with great advantage in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery, rheumatism etc[4]. Use with caution[21], This remedy should not be prescribed for pregnant women[238]. See also the notes above on toxicity. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used fresh or dried[238]. A poultice of the dried, powdered roots is used in the treatment of swellings, bruises, wounds, ulcers, lameness etc[222, 238, 268].