Flowers of Pleurisy Root - Asclepias Tuberosa (Asclepiadaceae)

Medicinal Use of Pleurisy Root – Asclepias Tuberosa (Asclepiadaceae)


Perennial, upright herb growing to 3 ft (1 m). Has narrow lance-shaped leaves and spikes of numerous 5-petaled orange or yellow flowers.

Habitat & Cultivation

This herb is native to the southern U.S. The root is unearthed in spring.

Part Used



Pleurisy root contains cardenolides and flavonoids. It is estrogenic.

History & Folklore

In North American herbal medicine, pleurisy root was considered a cure-all. It was used to treat conditions as diverse as pleurisy, typhoid, pneumonia, congestion, dysentery, colic, eczema, and hysteria. The Omaha ate the raw root for bronchitis and other chest conditions. Many tribes thought pleurisy root was a good remedy for hot dry fevers.

Medicinal Actions & Uses

Though its most specific usage is relieving the pain and inflammation of pleurisy, pleurisy root has other applications. It is useful for hot, dry, and tight conditions in the chest. It promotes the coughing up of phlegm, reduces inflammation, and, in addition, helps reduce fevers by stimulating perspiration. The root is also taken for the treatment of chronic diarrhea and dysentery.

Related Species

A. incarnata and A. syriaca have both been used in Native American herbal medicine to treat asthma.


Do not take during pregnancy. Excessive doses may cause vomiting.