HomeHerb DatabaseBittersweet Saturday, December 20, 2014  
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American Bittersweet

  • Celastrus scandens L.
  • Celastrus orbiculatus
  • Staff tree family



Common Names

herbsBittersweet


Parts Usually Used

Bark of root


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Climbing, twining shrub; grows to 50 feet. Leaves ovate to oblong, sharp pointed, fine-toothed. Flowers greenish, in clusters, May to June. Fruit capsule scarlet to orange, splitting, to reveal scarlet seeds.


Where Found

Rich thickets from Quebec to Georgia; Alabama, Oklahoma to North Dakota.


Uses

Root-bark tea induces sweating; diuretic, emetic. Folk remedy for chronic liver and skin ailments, rheumatism, leukorrhea, suppressed menses. Externally; bark used in ointment for burns, scrapes, skin eruptions. American Indians used this plant as above, also used astringent leaf tea for diarrhea, dysentery. Root-bark tea is used for pain of childbirth. Bark extracts thought to be cardioactive.


Warning

Fruits are toxic. All parts potentially toxic. This herb should not be used without medical supervision.

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