Asclepias tuberose

As its common name indicates, the root of pleurisy is used as medicine. This brilliant-orange-flowered herb is native to and continues to grow primarily in the southwestern and midwestern United States.

Many plants similar to pleurisy root are known as milkweeds because they produce a milky sap-something pleurisy root does not do.

Pleurisy Root as an Herb for Medicinal Uses

Pleurisy rootPleurisy root has been used in connection with the following conditions:

  • Bronchitis
  • Fever
  • Pleurisy
  • Pneumonia

A pleurisy root tea can be made by lightly simmering one teaspoon of the dried, chopped root in one pint of water for 10 to 15 minutes. One cup of this tea can be drunk twice per day.

Alternately, 1 to 2 ml of tincture of the fresh root can be used three times per day.

A teacupful of the warm infusion (1 in 30) taken every hour will powerfully promote free perspiration and suppressed expectoration. The infusion may be prepared by taking 1 teaspoonful of the powder in a cupful of boiling water. The decoction is taken in doses of 2 to 3 fluid ounces.

Recommended Herbal Recipe

1 ounce essence of composition powder
1 ounce pleurisy root extract

Mix and take a teaspoonful three or four times daily in warm sweetened water.

Culinary Uses of Pleurisy Root

The Western Indians boil the tubers for food, prepare a crude sugar from the flowers and eat the young seed-pods, after boiling them, with buffalo meat. Some of the Canadian tribes use the young shoots as a potherb, after the manner of asparagus.


At the amounts recommended above, pleurisy root generally has no adverse effects. Excessive intake (1 tablespoon or more of the root at one time) can cause intestinal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Pleurisy root should be avoided by pregnant women as it may stimulate uterine contractions.

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