Introducing Pleurisy Root: A Multi-Use Herb for Stuffy Noses
Despite its strange (and somewhat unpleasant) name, pleurisy root has been used for centuries and celebrated for the fact that it offers its users numerous, multifaceted benefits.
What is Pleurisy Root?
Believe it or not, you have likely seen pleurisy root before. In fact, pleurisy root is an important part of a resilient and captivating plant that is cultivated in flower beds across the world.
Pleurisy root is derived from the Asclepias tuberosa plant, also known as butterfly weed. Indigenous to North America, it is a species of milkweed that blooms with vibrant orange or yellow blossoms, attracting the eye of gardeners and pollinators alike. It’s where the name “butterfly weed” comes from, as it attracts and feeds butterflies and other pollinators that are important to the ecosystem.
Though it is derived from a lovely plant, the herb “pleurisy root” is named for a less-than-lovely reason.
Indigenous communities in North America, including the Cherokee and Iroquis tribes, have traditionally used the rhizome, or root, of the butterfly weed plant and brewed it into a tea to help support the respiratory system. This use continued as North America became populated by settlers, who used the root to combat the symptoms of pleurisy, a condition that causes inflammation and pain within the lungs for breathing.
As a result, the herb was named for what it was used for, and the name “pleurisy root” stuck due to its historical association with pleurisy. Though pleurisy itself is not as common as it was in the past, pleurisy root is still a valuable herb for those looking to support their respiratory system.
Whether you’re looking to expand your herbal knowledge or ease your allergy systems, here are some of the benefits pleurisy root can offer modern users:
A Natural Expectorant
Though it’s an important aspect that helps keep our bodies in good working order, dealing with an overproduction of mucus can be an uncomfortable and, quite frankly, gross problem.
Fortunately, pleurisy root is one of the best natural remedies to use when your nose is stuffy or you’re full of phlegm. A celebrated expectorant, pleurisy root is skilled at loosening and encouraging the expulsion of mucus from the airways, easing symptoms of a cough or cold.
This makes pleurisy root a perfect match for those dealing with allergies or minor, mucus-inducing illnesses.
If you’re feeling stuffed up, pleurisy root is especially effective because it not only facilitates the expulsion of mucus, but helps reduce inflammation in your nasal cavities and respiratory system, as well.
This makes pleurisy root a heavy hitter when allergy season rolls around, but ensures that it is still useful year-round as inflammation is often the source behind discomfort or soreness in muscles.
Supports Female Hormonal Regulation and Alleviates Menstrual Symptoms
In addition to its mucus-busting properties, pleurisy root has been found to have another surprising benefit: it may help regulate female hormones.
Though little information has been published on this idea, some older studies imply that pleurisy root may be a phytoestrogen, which are plant-based compounds that have the same effect on the body as the estrogen hormone.
Additionally, more recent research suggests that pleurisy root contains emmenagogue-esque properties, which stimulates blood flow in the pelvis. This may help regulate an irregular menstrual flow and aleve uncomfortable symptoms associated with your period.
How to Reap the Benefits of Pleurisy Root
For modern herbal enthusiasts, pleurisy root is easily accessible and simple to use. It can be consumed in multiple forms, such as tinctures, supplements, or capsules.
However, if you’re looking to reap the traditional benefits of this herb, the best delivery system is by brewing a piping hot cup of pleurisy root tea. The dried root is steeped in hot water, offering you a comforting and therapeutic experience. Better yet, this traditional method is particularly effective for addressing respiratory concerns, as the hot water and steam work in conjunction with the herb to loosen mucus and soothe nasal and respiratory passageways.
Know the Risks of Pleurisy Root
Just like any herbal remedy, it’s important that you do your research before using pleurisy root. Do not use pleurisy root if you’re pregnant, as it may cause complications evidenced by the plant’s genus having historical use as an abortifacient.