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What Are the Medical Uses of Poke Root?

Poke root, a traditional herb, has been used for centuries to support lymphatic health, relieve joint pain, and enhance immune function. Its potent properties require careful dosing, often under professional guidance. Intrigued by nature's pharmacy? Discover how poke root's medicinal potential could be harnessed for your well-being. What could this powerful plant do for you? Continue reading to explore its healing secrets.
M. Haskins
M. Haskins

Poke root, also known as pokeroot and poke-root, commonly comes from a plant with the scientific name Phytolacca decandra that is native to North America. This plant is known under various names, including inkberry, pokeweed, and pigeon berry. All parts of this plant, including the root, contain toxins that can cause serious side effects if ingested, such as vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, muscle spasms, and in severe cases death. Many medical authorities and medical professionals advise against using any amount of the Phytolacca decandra plant, in any form, because of its toxicity. In spite of its toxicity, there are many medical uses of poke root in traditional folk medicine, where small amounts of dried root are ingested or applied topically to treat conditions such as skin diseases, joint pain, inflammation, and skin and breast cancer.

In traditional folk medicine, poke root is almost always used in dried form and only in very small doses to avoid poisoning. It is important to note that the medical benefits of this root are not scientifically proven. Also, pregnant women and children should never ingest the root or any other part of the plant.

Poke root may be used to treat swollen glands in the throat, breasts and reproductive organs.
Poke root may be used to treat swollen glands in the throat, breasts and reproductive organs.

The medical benefits of ingesting poke root are said to include effects on the lymphatic system that can help with swollen glands in the throat, breasts and reproductive organs. In folk medicine, it is also used to treat various types of infections, such as ear infections, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. Ingesting the dried root is also thought to help with the pain and swelling of arthritis and rheumatism. Proponents of this herb also claim that it can stimulate the immune system and clear the body of toxins. The root can also be used in the form of poke root cream and poke root oil to treat various types of skin problems, like acne, eczema, boils, ringworm, wounds, and scabies.

Poke root cream and poke root oil can be used to treat ringworm.
Poke root cream and poke root oil can be used to treat ringworm.

Poke root contains antiviral proteins that are the subject of medical research to determine if they can be used in the treatment of HIV/AIDS. This research is still highly preliminary and experimental. Some practitioners of alternative medicine claim that the root and other parts of the Phytolacca decandra plant can be used to treat cancer, including breast cancer and skin cancer. However, there is no scientific proof that poke root is an effective cancer treatment. It is not advisable to use any parts of this plant to treat any medical conditions without first consulting a physician.

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    • Poke root may be used to treat swollen glands in the throat, breasts and reproductive organs.
      By: Alexander Raths
      Poke root may be used to treat swollen glands in the throat, breasts and reproductive organs.
    • Poke root cream and poke root oil can be used to treat ringworm.
      By: schankz
      Poke root cream and poke root oil can be used to treat ringworm.
    • Poke root may help treat swollen glands of the breast.
      By: Arto
      Poke root may help treat swollen glands of the breast.
    • Ingesting poke root is said to be beneficial for the lymphatic system.
      By: blueringmedia
      Ingesting poke root is said to be beneficial for the lymphatic system.
    • Poke root has been used in the treatment of tonsillitis.
      By: designua
      Poke root has been used in the treatment of tonsillitis.
    • Some medical professionals advise against using poke root because of its toxicity.
      By: s_l
      Some medical professionals advise against using poke root because of its toxicity.
    • Poke root may be used to treat scabies.
      By: lacamerachiara
      Poke root may be used to treat scabies.