Black Root

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

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Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

Explore Wellness in 2021