Poke root, also known as pokeweed, pokeberry, and pokebush, belongs to the Phytolacca genus native to South America. It is largely considered an extremely poisonous plant with berries that should never be consumed.
Since the plant is regarded highly toxic, there isn’t enough scientific evidence on its health benefits. Therefore, most people rely on traditional use, anecdotal evidence, and the experience of experts like herbalists.
Even with its potential dangers when used internally, poke root has an impressive range of health benefit both for topical and internal use. It is effective as a treatment for pains, aches, rheumatism, and even as a support for the immune and lymphatic systems.
The Health Benefits of Poke Root
Let’s take a closer look at some of the health benefits of poke root.
When used under the supervision of a professional herbalist or medical doctor, poke root is believed to be effective in boosting the immune system. It is a given that a strong immune system is very important for overall good health and wellbeing. A healthy immune system can protect the body against seasonal health conditions like flu and cold. It also helps to speed up recovery from sickness.
In fact, one of the most effective ways to boost the immune system is by consuming a nutritious diet that consists of vegetables and fresh fruits. However, some herbs like poke root may provide the body with the extra boost it needs.
Relieves Rheumatism and Muscle Pain
Under expert supervision, poke root can be helpful in relieving muscle ache and soreness. This is because the herb has a positive effect on the lymphatic system possesses anti-inflammatory properties as well.
The fact is, when the lymphatic system is functioning at its best, it can help flush out toxins that are present in the muscles. The herb also has the ability to treat painful and swollen joints resulting from ailments such as gout, arthritis, and rheumatism.
Supports the Lymphatic System
One other health benefit of poke root is that it keeps the lymphatic system functioning at an optimal level. Not many people know the importance of the lymphatic system and how it plays a vital role in a person’s health.
The lymphatic system is mainly involved in safeguarding the body from outside threats, including infections, bacteria, and cancerous cells. It also helps to regulate the body’s fluid levels and keep the immune system healthy.
In some instances, poke root is used to treat endometriosis, a painful health condition that affects women in which the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is a condition that mostly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic tissue. In fact, some studies indicate that about 11% of women from the age of 15 to 44 suffer from endometriosis.
Some herbal experts believe that improving the lymphatic system can help in the treatment of endometriosis since it has a healthy lymphatic system that can boost immunity. As a matter of fact, endometriosis has been linked to a compromised immune system. It is believed that using poke root to boost the immune system can help combat endometriosis.
Improves Skin Health
One of the side effects linked to a weakened lymphatic system is common skin conditions such as acne. While there are currently no studies on the benefits of poke root on the skin, there is a lot of anecdotal evidence on how the herb can better the skin’s appearance and health.
How to Use Poke Root
Poke root is commonly taken in the form of a tincture but can be applied directly on the skin in the form of a compress. And since the herb is potentially harmful, it should never be experimented upon. It is important not to use this strong herb without expert supervision. There is no standard dosage for the herb but the recommended amount can vary based on the health condition that is being treated as well as personal details like age and weight.
It is also advisable to purchase poke root supplements from a trustworthy source. Make sure to carry out some research online on the best quality and safest herbal product. Having purchased your poke root supplement or tincture, be sure to carefully read the instructions on dosage written on the package. Also, never take more than the recommended amount of the herb. And like we always advise, talk to a medical doctor or herbal expert before taking any herb internally.
To be on the safe side, on the first day, add between two and four drops of poke root powder to a small amount of water, stir, and drink it. You can repeat the exercise at bedtime. If on the second day, the infection or ailment has not cleared up, repeat the same doses in the morning and night. Ordinarily, you should feel better within two days. However, avoid using poke root for more than 5 days consecutively.
Side Effects of Poke Root and Precautions
Generally, poke root is regarded as unsafe for use internally. Therefore, if you are considering using the herb, it is very important to talk to a doctor or herbal expert first.
It essential to also know the following:
- All parts of poke root are poisonous, particularly its root.
- There have been reports of poisoning from drinking a tea prepared from poke root and leaves. The berries of the plant are extremely toxic as well and should be kept away from children.
- The consumption of poke root can lead to low blood pressure, extreme thirst, nausea, abdominal pain, vomiting, and incontinence.
- Due to its potential harm, pregnant women and nursing mothers must steer clear of poke root.
- Infants and children should never be given products or supplements containing poke root.
It is important to keep in mind that poke root is very powerful and should not be used without consulting an expert herbalist or medical professional.