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Search Health Information    Pleurisy Root

Pleurisy Root

Uses

Botanical names:
Asclepias tuberosa

Parts Used & Where Grown

As its common name indicates, the root of pleurisy root is used as medicine. This brilliant-orange-flowered herb is native to and continues to grow primarily in the southwestern and midwestern United States. Many plants similar to pleurisy root are known as milkweeds because they produce a milky sap—something pleurisy root does not do.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Bronchitis
Refer to label instructions
Pleurisy root is traditionally used to loosen bronchial secretions and is thought to be helpful against all types of respiratory infections.

Expectorant herbs help loosen bronchial secretions and make elimination of mucus easier. Numerous herbs are traditionally considered expectorants, though most of these have not been proven to have this effect in clinical trials. Pleurisy root is an expectorant and is thought to be helpful against all types of respiratory infections. It is traditionally employed as an expectorant for bronchitis. However, owing to the cardiac glycosides it contains, pleurisy root may not be safe to use if one is taking heart medications.4 This herb should not be used by pregnant women.

1 Star
Pleurisy
Refer to label instructions
Pleurisy root has a history of use internally as a remedy for lung infections and other problems, such as pleurisy and pneumonia.
Pleurisy root was used by Native American tribes both internally as a remedy for pulmonary infections and topically to treat wounds.5 The Eclectic physicians seized upon these ideas and continued to use the plant primarily for lung problems such as pleurisy and pneumonia. It was also used as a diaphoretic (a substance that causes sweating) for all manner of infections.6 Pleurisy root was an official medicine in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905.7
1 Star
Pneumonia
Refer to label instructions
Pleurisy root has a history of use internally as a remedy for lung infections and other problems, such as pneumonia and pleurisy.
Pleurisy root was used by Native American tribes both internally as a remedy for pulmonary infections and topically to treat wounds.8 The Eclectic physicians seized upon these ideas and continued to use the plant primarily for lung problems such as pleurisy and pneumonia. It was also used as a diaphoretic (a substance that causes sweating) for all manner of infections.9 Pleurisy root was an official medicine in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905.10

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Pleurisy root was used by Native American tribes both internally as a remedy for pulmonary infections and topically to treat wounds.1 The Eclectic physicians seized upon these ideas and continued to use the plant primarily for lung problems such as pleurisy and pneumonia. It was also used as a diaphoretic (a substance that causes sweating) for all manner of infections .2 Pleurisy root was an official medicine in the United States Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1905.3

How It Works

Botanical names:
Asclepias tuberosa

How It Works

Insufficient work has been done to identify the active constituents in pleurisy root or its medicinal actions. No human studies have been conducted to determine whether it is effective for any indication. It is still used by herbalists and some physicians trained in herbal medicine as a diaphoretic (promotes sweating), and for lung infections and conditions of the pleura that lines the lungs.11

How to Use It

A pleurisy root tea can be made by lightly simmering one teaspoon of the dried, chopped root in one pint of water for 10 to 15 minutes. One cup of this tea can be drunk twice per day.12 Alternately, 1 to 2 ml of tincture of the fresh root can be used three times per day.13

Interactions

Botanical names:
Asclepias tuberosa

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • none

Potential Negative Interaction

  • Acebutolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.14

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Amlodipine-Benazepril

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.15

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Atenolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius species contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as atenolol.16

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Betaxolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.17

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Bisoprolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius species contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as bisoprolol.18

  • Digoxin

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as digoxin.19

  • Labetalol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.20

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nadolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.21

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Propranolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.22

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Sotalol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.23

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Timolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.24

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Explanation Required

  • Amlodipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.25

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Bepridil

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.26

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Carteolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta blockers.27

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Diltiazem

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.28

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Esmolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.29

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Felodipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.30

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Isradipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.31

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Levobunolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.32

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Metipranolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta blockers.33

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Metoprolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.34

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nebivolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta blockers.35

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nicardipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.36

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nifedipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.37

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nimodipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.38

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Nisoldipine

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.39

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Penbutolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.40

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Pindolol

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as beta-blockers.41

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
  • Verapamil

    As pleurisy root and other plants in the Aesclepius genus contain cardiac glycosides, it is best to avoid use of pleurisy root with heart medications such as calcium channel blockers.42

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Asclepias tuberosa

Side Effects

At the recommended amounts, pleurisy root generally has no adverse effects. Excessive intake (1 tablespoon or more of the root at one time) can cause intestinal cramping, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea .43 Pleurisy root should be avoided by pregnant women as it may stimulate uterine contractions.44

References

1. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

2. Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory, 18th ed, vol 1. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1898, 1983:288-1.

3. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

4. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

5. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

6. Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory, 18th ed, vol 1. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1898, 1983:288-1.

7. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

8. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

9. Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory, 18th ed, vol 1. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1898, 1983:288-1.

10. Vogel VJ. American Indian Medicine. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1970:287-8.

11. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979:130.

12. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979:130.

13. Felter HW, Lloyd JU. King's American Dispensatory, 18th ed, vol 1. Portland, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1898, 1983:288-1.

14. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

15. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

16. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

17. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

18. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

19. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

20. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

21. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

22. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

23. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

24. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

25. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

26. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

27. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

28. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

29. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

30. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

31. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

32. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

33. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

34. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

35. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

36. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

37. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

38. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

39. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

40. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

41. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

42. Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-Care Professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press, 1996, 213-4.

43. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Santa Fe: Museum of New Mexico Press, 1979:130.

44. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998, 112-3.

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