Features: Bitterroot (Apocynum androsaemifolium) is among the sixty species found in North America; many are indigenous to many states and Canada. While bitter (the bitter outside slips off when boiled, as for food), the large milky root was a popular Native American food. It is starchy and nutritious, but the bitter outside slips off when boiled. Despite being perennial, bitterroot has oblong, fleshy leaves and no stem. May to August are the only times the flower is open and appears in the center. It is rose or white in color and appears in the center of the plant.
USES: The bitterroot is regarded as almost infallible by Native Americans as a remedy for venereal diseases. It has been recommended for the treatment of Bright’s disease. It has also been known to relieve cardiac dropsy when everything else has failed, including rheumatoid arthritis of the joints. According to Parkinson, dogbane is a “sovereign remedy against all poisons and against the bites of mad dogs”; hence the name.
Other impurities, including worms, can be removed from the system using bitterroot, and it is helpful in treating diabetes. A very bitter stimulant, bitterroot acts mainly on the liver, clearing the gall ducts, allowing bile to be discharged freely, and stimulating bowel activity. The bitterroot is an unparalleled remedy for jaundice, gallstones, and chronic sluggish liver conditions. If you have irritable stomach conditions, you should not use it. To treat dyspepsia or the liver, a dose of 10 grains (5–6 drops of the extract) twice a day would be appropriate.
Among the most effective and swift remedies available for nervous headaches, this has been used by some practitioners for many years. It can cause vomiting when taken in large doses, but it can be prevented with the addition of peppermint (Mentha piperita), calamus (sweet flag), fennel (Foeniculum officinale), or other carminatives. The recommended dose is 2–5 grains taken thrice daily as a general tonic.
Externally: If applied fresh two or three times daily during spring, bitterroot milk is effective in removing unsightly warts (if circulation is active within the system). Make sure you only apply it to the raised area. It is normal to experience pain, burning, and swelling. Whenever a scab forms, let it fall off naturally; underneath you will find a smooth, unelevated surface. (Moles shouldn’t be treated as warts.)
HOMEOPATHIC CLINICAL: Diarrhea, dropsyness, nausea, neuralgia of the face, vomiting, wandering rheumatism, and worms may be treated with a tincture from the root.
Experience: In Russia, American bitterroot does not grow wild. In the European part of Russia and West Siberia, they have begun cultivating kendir konoplevy (bitterroot) for medicinal purposes. There is a strong emphasis on the use of the rhizome and root for medical purposes in all herbal and agronomical publications.
First described in 1850 by Dr. A. Nelubin in his Pharmacography (Medical Botanics). Several cases of heart disease and diabetes were clinically proven to benefit from this credit. The material was imported from the United States until approximately 1930, but since then, plantations have been cultivated that produce approximately 500–700 pounds of dried material per acre.
As a result of the proper administration of bitterroot, no side effects have been observed clinically. It is used clinically to treat heart defects, high blood pressure, cardiac sclerosis, and second- and third-degree blood circulation disturbances. The medication is only prescribed in ampules.
ECOLOGY: Plants that are naturally poisonous to animals should be avoided.
MEDICINAL: PART: Root.
SOLVENTS: alcohol, though more especially water.
Body Influence: Emetic, Diaphoretic, Tonic, Laxative, Expectorant