PHYTOLACCA DECANDRA

Common Name: Poke Root

 BOTANICAL DESCRIPTION:   Phytolacca is a handsome plant growing from 3 to 9 feet high. It is indigenous, with a perennial root of large size, frequently exceeding a man’s leg in diameter, usually branched, fleshy, fibrous, whitish within, easily cut or broken, and covered with a very thin brownish bark or cuticle. When young the stem is green, but as the plant matures it becomes more or less purple. The stem is annual, about 1 inch in diameter, much branched, smooth, stout, and hollow. The leaves are opposite, scattered ovate, entire, 5 inches long by 2 or 3 wide , smooth on both sides, with ribs underneath. The flowers are numerous, arranged in long racemes opposite the leaves. There are no petals, but 5 rounded, incurved, petaloid sepals, whitish, or greenish-white in color. Stamens 10, shorter than the sepals. Styles 10 recurved. Ovary of 10 carpels, green, and united in a ring. The fruit is a handsome, flattened, black, or blackish-purple berry, 10 seeded, and contains a beautiful crimson juice.
 

 

 

 

 (Above: Poke berries & leaves)

 PERSONAL IMPRESSIONS: Poke is very different in appearance than most other plants especially when more mature due to the coloration of the stem and berries. It is one of the first plant every child becomes familiar with because everyone relays the message that the berries are poisonous and should never be eaten. This immediately brings it to the attention of the child and then the purplish juice in the berries squishes on the hands a bright indigo color. Many times it is used to paint the face for temporary aborigine effect. It is very common on freshly cleared ground. Sometimes the land hasn’t been cleared for many years and then as soon as the land is cleared it somehow or other appears. This is dramatic proof of the ability of Mother Earth to retain many different seeds for very long periods, and still they retain their viability. The same seeds stored out of the womb of Mother Earth would quickly lose their usefulness. This is a very interesting phenomenon.

 Once, I had the occasion to meet a very old farmer of good reliability and he explained to me that once they cleared land which they knew hadn’t been cleared for over 100 years and as soon as it rained all sorts of plants came up that they know hadn’t been there since the land was cleared before. According to the Vedic concept, Mother Earth has the ability to retain or manifest her different opulence’s at her discretion. The factors deciding her generosity or withdrawal of these natural resources are the piety or impiety of the inhabitants of this planet. This refers to medicinal herbs as well as many other useful plants and jewels and precious metals.

     Mother Earth is very pleased by those who will take the herbal bounties she offers and uses them wisely. In this way one who gives love and respect to Mother Earth will find a reciprocal relationship.

     The concept of not using herbs for fear of making them disappear is not the proper understanding. The concept should be to use them for the benefit of others and use them in the service of God, who is after all their Creator. In this way Mother Earth is pleased and the herbs will naturally increase. I have seen this in practice when I have began using a certain plant, that then it becomes more and more prevalent. It is difficult for someone without faith to understand these esoteric realizations

 

Mother Earth is very pleased by those who will take the herbal bounties she offers and uses them wisely. In this way one who gives love and respect to Mother Earth will find a reciprocal relationship.

     The concept of not using herbs for fear of making them disappear is not the proper understanding. The concept should be to use them for the benefit of others and use them in the service of God, who is after all their Creator. In this way Mother Earth is pleased and the herbs will naturally increase. I have seen this in practice when I have began using a certain plant, that then it becomes more and more prevalent. It is difficult for someone without faith to understand these esoteric realizations

 

 

 

 

 

(Above --Poke Berries)

 MEDICINAL USES: Poke root is noted first and foremost for its effect on the Lymphatics. All glands are also benefited by its judicial use. It is very effective for the glandular conditions of the throat and sexual glands. It is specific for the mammary glands. It also acts on the skin. In large doses it can be poisonous or fatal. So it is an herb which although very wonderful in its medicinal applications must be used with common sense.  

This herb poke root is very common all over the US. It seems to grow mostly around disturbed ground. Such as around houses, barns, gardens etc. Also it will readily proliferate on any freshly cleared ground and attain a great height on piles of cleared matter such as occurs when land has been bulldozed and the dirt and trees piled.

     The most active part is the root. I have used the whole plant for various purposes, but the root is the most active and important medicinal agent. Although the leaves are very useful as a poultice, whereas the root is to irritating and would definitely cause blistering. The root is sometimes used to burn off skin cancer. So one should be aware of the irritating nature of the root when applied to the skin. Of course it is sometimes used in this way as an escharotic to actually burn off the skin cancer. The leaves are used in poultice in cases of breast cancer to act more gently to help promote the suppuration of the tumor.

     The poke root taken internally is very renowned in its use in cancer and especially in mammary indurations. These lumps in the breast have in our experience responded quite well to Poke root in combination with Iris. I have seen cases where the person had scheduled biopsy but by using the poke and iris combination the lumps dissipated before the scheduled appointment.   This is due to the specific of poke on the mammary glands. In one peculiar case a physician had a case of greenish discharge from the breast of a non-lactating mother from Alaska. The person who contacted me was a pharmacist and he related that the lady had spent so much money and time traveling around to different physicians to try and cure this condition. The physicians being unable to ascertain the cause or dissipate the symptoms had basically told her according to the pharmacist that she should simply accept it as it wasn’t life threatening. She had a hay farm and raised alfalfa hay during the season. So the pharmacist thought it might be due to associating with the alfalfa. At any rate I recommended the poke and iris combination because of its specific use in glandular disorders and Poke’s affinity for the mammary gland. The secretion cleared up within a week or so and she was amazed as was the pharmacist. Later the same pharmacist reported another case of the same abnormal discharge from another lady which was also cured using this combination.

 

 

 

 
 

(Above, Poke Leaves and Plant)

 

 



( Poke Berries)

 

 

 

 

Poke root is also very useful in Goiter. Again I combine it with Iris because they both affect the thyroid greatly. Many times persons who are using the syntroid are able to decrease their intake of this drug with the use of Poke and Iris. Poke is specifically indicated in any hard lymphatic enlargement. It also retards tumor growth. It is very useful internally in combination with other alteratives in all skin diseases such as eczema, psoriasis, etc. It is very helpful along with Iris in the condition where young people get pimples or even acne. It is very useful in this regard.

     So the main gist of the effectiveness of Poke is as a cleanser to the lymphatic system, particularly of the throat region such as in chronic tonsillitis. I have seen several cases in juveniles where the poke and Iris combination has cleared up this chronic condition without having to resort to removal of these glands. This is important because these glands are instrumental in removing toxicity from the digestive apparatus. So, the cleansing effect of poke in this regard is a good example of how herbs simply allow the body to due its job. The inability of the body to cleanse itself normally is the major cause of disease and therefore poke should be understood to be a very important herb in the cleansing especially via the lymphatic system which is after all especially meant to cleanse and eliminate waste.

 

The tonsils are situated in such a way that as we sleep all the waste from the body comes via the lymphatic system and is eliminated via the tonsils. This waste settles on the base of the tongue and that is what is referred to as cotton mouth. One should use a spoon or similar metal utensil, they do make tongue scrapers, to cleanse the tongue before doing anything else . Unless you want to recycle. In many countries around the world these tongue scrapers are used more than tooth brushes and twigs from healthful trees such as Neem are used as tooth brushes and the tongue scrapers are usually made of copper, silver, or stainless steel.
 I usually combine poke root with other herbs both for their therapeutic effect and because I am always afraid that someone might take to much of poke root if it was full strength. So the combination is used to try and avoid taking more than the maximum dosage in the adult of about 30 drops. Of course under physician care one can take up to 60 drops sometimes, but this could be dangerous as poke root can cause death if taken in too large a dose at one time. However, Poke is quite safe taken in 15 to 20 drops doses and can be frequently repeated. When frequently repeated in the smaller dosage range poke is quite effective. Poke is quickly eliminated from the system and so accumulation is not a problem. I have used poke for many years in Cancer, skin disorders, mastitis, lumps in the breast, thyroidism, anemia etc with much success and never have recorded a case of poisoning any human, although once in an animal which as dying from mastitis, we injected it in the mammary gland and due to the large size of the animal, I feel that I probably did overdose her and she died shortly thereafter. This was of course greatly regrettable, but since there was very little hope of the animals survival, since I found her quite late, I was trying to be very active to save her life. Unfortunately I underestimated the toxicity. First I probably gave too much and second I was use a syringe to give via the milk bag. This evidently proved to be a very quick way to introduce the drug into the cows system. Of course, I was trying to save her in an emergency situation, but I failed because I wasn’t understanding enough of the potency of poke even on such a large body. So, this is the only time I ever had a bad result with poke, but it was sobering to realize that even though the animal was very close to death, still I really think the mastitis was starting to improve, so I became more enthusiastic to use some larger doses in hopes of getting quicker results. I would not discount the use of poke in mastitis in this method, but share this so one would understand that even when treating a cow poke should be used judiciously and the dosage carefully monitored.
 Poke berries are quite useful in arthritis. I combine them with other arthritic herbs such as magnolia cones, yucca and bears foot. The berries are not as active as the root and in the past were reported to be used to reduce obesity.

     In anemia, I combine poke root with Polymnia uvedalia (Bearsfoot), and Yellow dock. This formula has proven very successful. Poke root is a sure blood builder.

     The tincture of the root is the only medicinal form because poke root loses its potency from drying. The dosage should be 15 to 30 drops in an adult and used only very carefully in any larger doses and if dryness of the mouth is experienced this means you are at the maximum dosage.
Website Builder