The bitter root and berries of poke, or pokeweed, can be used to support health. It is the lungs, the spleen, and the kidneys that receive the greatest health benefits from the root of this herb. Specifically, poke root can be used to help support blood and lymphatic purification, swollen glands, and joint pain. Concerning bodily activity, poke root may act as an alterative, an antirheumatic, an anti-inflammatory, an emetic, and a cathartic. Biochemically, the root is comprised of saponin, formic acid, tannin, fatty oil, resin, and sugar.
Poke root can be used as a disinfectant, and anti-inflammatory for a great many complaints. Highly regarded by herbalists for its effects upon the glandular system, it can be used to help support a variety of health concerns, from swollen and inflamed glands to breast cysts. It is also widely used in folk practice as an anti-inflammatory for joint pain complaints. The berries are milder in action and are used by naturopathic practitioners to help in weight loss.
For all of the above symptoms a good formula to use is equal parts dried poke root, sarsaparilla root, dandelion root, burdock root and spikenard (Aralia racemosa), ginger, and half part licorice root. Make into a standard decoction and take two or three cups daily.
Some people seem to exhibit greater sensitivity and toxic reactions to poke so the dose should be administered carefully. Characteristically these toxic reactions involve various digestive symptoms that, in a few instances, can prove fatal. It is wise to begin with a small dose and then gradually increase as tolerance permits. The vast majority of herbalists agree that the dried root, especially used in combination with other alteratives, generally exhibits no toxic properties.
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