Sunday, September 13, 2009

Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberose

Butterfly Weed or Pleurisy Root is a smaller member of the Milkweed family. It is said that the plant hates its roots disturbed, so does not transplant well; but I have transplanted several roots, with two definite successes! I first noticed this plant in a field opposite my house back in the early 1970’s. I really liked it then, but after my kids grew up and my youngest daughter earned her Native American name (loosely translates into Butterfly Woman) I fell in love with it!

In the 19th Century Butterfly Weed was listed as an official medicine in the American Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905. As its other common name implies (Pleurisy Root) has been used in lung diseases and complaints. In bronchitis, pleurisy, and pneumonia it reduces inflammations, and assists in expectoration of mucous. The Cherokee Indians of North America used a root tea to treat diarrhea and heart conditions as well as the lung complaints.