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 Black Root:
Herbal Medicine Materia Medica
Leptandra virginica

Part Used : Rhizome and root.

Constituents : Active constituents largely unknown, however it is known to contain:

  • Volatile oil with esters of cinnamic acid, methoxycinnamic acid and dimethoxycinnamic acid
  • Saponins
  • Mannitol, dextrose, tannin etc.
Actions : Cholagogue, hepatic, laxative, diaphoretic, anti-spasmodic.

Indications : Black Root is used as a reliever of liver congestion and for an inflamed gall-bladder (cholecystitis). When jaundice is due to liver congestion, also use Black Root, as it will help whenever there is any sign of liver problems. Chronic constipation can often be due to aliver dysfunction, in which case this herb is also ideal.

Priest & Priest tell us that it is a "mild relaxing hepatic for torpid and congestive conditions, influencing the liver assisting the secretion of bile. It also cleanses the alimentary tract of viscid mucus and stimulates peristalsis" They give the following specific indications :hepatitis, cholecystitis, chronic hepatic torpor, non-obstructive jaundice, to clear the bowels in febrile states, haemorrhoids and skin eruptions.

Ellingwood considered it specific for " malaise from malarial influence, great lassitude and torpor, gloominess or mental despondency." He states that it "has no superior and is certainly under-estimated". In addition he recommends it for the following pathologies :malarial conditions, to tone the gastro-intestinal canal andstimulate the glandular organs, jaundice.

Kings Dispensatory describes its specific indications and uses as "Drowsiness, dizziness, and mental depression, with tenderness and heavy pain in the hepatic region, the tongue is coated markedly white, the skin is yellow, there is a bitter taste, cold extremities, nausea and dull frontal headache; thirst, with inability to drink; restlessness, with insomnia; diarrhea, with half-digested passages, or clay-colored evacuations; enfeebled portal circulation, with lassitude and gloomy and depressed mental state."

Combinations : Black Root will combine well with Barberry and Dandelion Rt. For hemorrhoids combine with Stone Root

Preparations & Dosage : Decoction: put l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb in a cup of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for l0 minutes. Take one cup three times a day. Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

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 About The Author
Whilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......moreDavid Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMH
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