- Jeffersonia diphylla L.
- Barberry family
Parts Usually Used
The whole plant, root especially
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Twin leaf is a perennial plant; the horizontal, fleshy rootstock
with matted fibrous roots produces a simple, naked scape, 12-18 inches
tall. Emanating also from the rootstock, the large, smooth basal leaves,
3-6 inches long and 2-5 inches wide, are divided into 2 half-ovate
leaflets. Blooming from April to May, a large, solitary, white, 8
petaled flower terminates the scape. The fruit is an obovate capsule.
The plant is only 6-9 inches tall in flower, but is double that height
Grows in limestone soils and in woods near rivers from Ontario westward
to Wisconsin and southward to Virginia and Tennessee. Too rare to
Antirheumatic, alterative, antispasmodic, antisyphilitic, diaphoretic,
diuretic, emetic, expectorant, tonic
Bitter substance, an acrid and nauseating constituent, pectin, fatty
resin, tannic acid, gum starch, sugar and mineral matters
Twin leaf is used for chronic rheumatism,
nervous and spasmodic problems, neuralgia,
headaches, especially headaches
with dizziness and feelings of tension, stress,
syphilis, scarlatina, scarlet
fever, diarrhea, kidney gravel,
dropsy, urinary infections, and cramps.
In small doses, it is used as an expectorant and a tonic;
in large doses, as an emetic. As a gargle, it is useful for throat
infections. Applied externally as a poultice or fomentation, it will
relieve pain anywhere in the body,
treats ulcers, sores,
and cancerous sores.
Formulas or Dosages
Decoction: steep 1 tsp. root in 1 cup boiling water for 30
minutes, then simmer 10 minutes and strain. Take 1 cup, then follow
with small frequent doses.
Tincture: a dose is from 5 to 20 drops.
Too rare to harvest. Probably toxic.