Pleurisy root - Asclepias tuberosa (in the Asclepiadaceae or Milkweed family)
Part used: Root.
Taste/smell: Slightly acrid, sweet.
Tendencies: Drying, cooling.
Dosage: Decoction: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh strength liquid extract: 10-30 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Pleurisy root is indicated for hot, dry skin and difficult, painful breathing accompanying a fever and chest pains that are relieved by bending forward.
Use: (a) Antispasmodic, (b) Diaphoretic, (c) Expectorant.
This herb induces peripheral capillary relaxation. It is used in respiratory conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia, pleurisy and influenza. This is a fantastic diaphoretic. I've seen feverish, dry patients dump buckets of sweat after using this herb. This herb has some similar actions to cactus and lilly of the valley. It seems to slow down and strengthen the heart beat. It may be useful in congestive heart failure.
Contraindications: It is contraindicated in pregnancy due to uterine stimulation reported in animal research. Pleurisy root contains cardiac glycosides and should be used with caution with cardiac conditions. An overdose can cause nausea and vomiting.