Perennial herb growing to 6½ ft (2 m) with large 3-lobed leaves and yellow flowers.
Habitat & Cultivation
Bearsfoot is native to the eastern U.S. It grows from New York southward, preferring rich soil. The root is unearthed in autumn.
History & Folklore
Bearsfoot root was used by Native Americans as a stimulant and laxative remedy. In the 19th century, it became a widely popular healing herb in North America, having a specific use as a treatment for mastitis (inflammation of the breast tissue).
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Bearsfoot is perhaps best known for its use as a hair tonic, having traditionally been a popular ingredient in hair lotions. It is still used in this way, but today the root is more often taken internally as a treatment for nonmalignant swollen glands and especially for mastitis. The root is thought to have a beneficial effect on the stomach, liver, and spleen, and may be taken to relieve indigestion and counteract liver malfunction.