Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a “one dose wonder.” They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.
Medicinal Properties: This plant is able to readily absorb iron from the soil and so has been used to treat anemia. It is mostly known as a laxative and to purify the blood. Externally it has an astringent effect and is useful for treating skin conditions involving pus which needs to be released. Although the leaves are high in Vitamin C, I would look for safer sources (see warning).
How to Use: Avoid the leaves even though some people have been known to cook the leaves like a vegetable, it is not worth the risk. The root is made into a decoction by simmering 1 Tbsp of the crushed root in 2 C. water for 20-30 minutes. Take 1 Tbsp of this decoction in 1 C water as needed every 3-4 hours, not to exceed 3 Tsp a day for 1 week. Dip a cloth into this decoction for external applications.
The seeds can be picked after they turn brown and made into a tea that is fairly safe in small doses.
Parts Used: Root, leaves, seeds
Warning: Do not eat the leaves raw. Even though they are high in Vitamin C, they are also high in oxalic acid, which in large doses has been known to cause kidney damage and death.
How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.