HomeHerb DatabaseSnakeroot Wednesday, October 22, 2014  
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Snakeroot

  • Eupatorium rugosum L.
  • Composite family



Common Names

herbsWhite snakeroot


Parts Usually Used

Root, leaves


Description of Plant(s) and Culture

A variable perennial; 2-5 feet tall. Leaves opposite, on slender stalks; somewhat heart-shaped, toothed. Flowers are white, in branched clusters; blossoms in July to October.

Do not mistake white snakeroot for black cohosh (Cimicifuga racemosa) sometimes called black snakeroot. Senega snakeroot (Polygala senega L.) is of the milkwort family; black sanicle (Sanicula marilandica L.) is called snakeroot and is of the parsley family; Virginia snakeroot (Aristolochia serpentaria L.) is of the birthwort family. Each of these have the name snakeroot attached to them but they are not the white snakeroot reported on here (Eupatorium rugosum) of the composite family. Seneca and Virginia snakeroot are poisonous.


Where Found

Thickets. Quebec to Georgia; Texas to North Dakota.


Uses

Native Americans used root tea for ague, diarrhea, painful urination, fevers, "gravel" (kidney stones); poultice for snakebites. Smoke of the burning herb used to revive unconscious patients.


Warning

"Milk sickness", with weakness and nausea, may result from consuming the milk of cows that have grazed on this plant. It is considered toxic. Do not use without medical supervision.

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