Mountain Rose Herbs

Poke Root

Also known as

Phytolacca americana, Pokeroot, American Poke, Pokeweed, Inkberry, and Pigeon Berry.

Introduction

Poke is a visually attractive 8 to 10 foot (250-300 cm) perennial with dark green leaves, purple stems, and bright red to bluish-black berries. This common understory tree is native to the temperate regions of the United States east of the Mississippi.

Poke was a common herbal remedy long before Europeans settled North America.

Constituents

Primarily jagilonic acid, oleanolic acid, tannins. According to herbalist Todd Caldecott, also contains betalain type alkaloids (betanidine, betanine, isobetanine, isobetanidine, isoprebetanine, phytolaccine, prenetanine), triterpene saponins (phytolaccosides A-1, D2, O and associated aglycones), and at last five cysteine-rich glycoprotein lectins also known as pokeweed mitogens (PWM) Pa1 through Pa5. Other constituents include genins (esculentic acid and phytolaccagenic acid), histamine, GABA, isomamericanin A, PAP (pokeweed antiviral protein), spinasterol, sterols, starch, saccharose, and potassium salts.

Parts Used

Pokeroot is safe for herbal use. Poke leaf is not. Consumption of poke leaves can cause gastroenteritis with intense vomiting and frothy diarrhea.

Typical Preparations

Usually used as a tincture in a dosage of one drop (that’s right, one drop) per day. Do not overdose. Most often found in topical applications like creams, ointments, and oils.

Precautions

To be used only under the supervision of an expert qualified in the appropriate use of this substance. Not to be used while pregnant. Not recommended for internal use. Not to be taken if you have severe liver or kidney disease. Do not apply to broken or abraded skin.

For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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