Black Root - Some Benefits on Usage of Black Root
Common Trade Names
Available as dried root or tincture.
Black root is made from the dried rhizome and roots of Veronicastrum virginicum, which grows in Canada and the United States.
Tannic acid, verosterol (a volatile oil), cinnamic and paramethoxycinnamic acids, gum, resin, mannite, and d-mannitol have been isolated from black root. Early studies yielded a substance called leptandrin, which was thought to be the active component . No recent data support this.
Black root has a bitter, nauseating taste and irritates GI mucosa, primarily because of the herb's tannin content . Tannic acid has astringent properties that act locally on GI mucosa. Tannic acid also forms insoluble complexes with alkaloids, glycosides, and certain heavy metal ions.
Black root also has antisecretory and anti ulcerative effects in the GI tract as a result of an inhibitory action on the gastric enzyme system.
Mannite and d-mannitol are considered osmotic diuretics and work by increasing the transport of sodium and water out of the loop of Henle. Some data also suggest that cinnamic acid exerts some choleretic effect. In animal studies, cinnamic acid injections increased bile acid flow by 50% . Other animal studies confirmed this effect .
Black root is claimed to be useful as a cathartic and an emetic. Because of its purported biliary action within the GI tract, it has been claimed to be beneficial in relieving jaundice and other symptoms related to hepatic or biliary congestion. Human trials are lacking.
Black root possesses cathartic and emetic properties at 15 to 40 grains (1 to 2.6 g); the usual reported dose is 1 g. Tea may be made by mixing
1 to 2 tsp of dried black root in cold water, boiling this solution, and then simmering it for 10 minutes. The dosage of this solution is typically 1 cup t.i.d. The tincture has been administered in doses of 1 to 2 ml t.i.d.
Contraindications And Precautions
Black root is contraindicated in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown. Avoid large amounts of black root, especially in patients with existing hepatic disease, because of the potential toxic effects of tannic acid on the liver.
Points of Interest
Settlers gathered knowledge of black root from Native Americans. The Delaware referred to the plant as quitel; the Missouri and Osage called ithini .
Early American doctors used black root as a cure for bilious fevers
Little information is available about black root's therapeutic uses or efficacy. No human trials have supported therapeutic claims for this herb. The lack of clinical trials limits the usefulness of anecdotal or historical data.
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