Botanical Name: Phytolacca americana
- English: Poke Root
- Also, known as: Pigeon Berry, American Pokeweed, Gewöhnlicheker Mesbeere, Pokeweed, Herbe De La Laque, Poke Sallet, Poke Berry, Poke, Inkberry, Cancer Root, American Nightshade, Pigeon Berry, Fitolacca, Great Pokeweed, Pokeberry, Red Ink Plant, American Nightshade, American Spinach, Baie de Phytolaque d'Amérique, Bear's Grape, Branching Phytolacca, Cancer Jalap, Chongras, Coakum, Coakum-Chorngras, Cokan, Crowberry, Épinard de Cayenne, Épinard des Indes, Faux Vin, Fitolaca, Garget, Herbe à la Laque, Hierba Carmin, Inkberry, Jalap, Kermesbeere, Laque, Phytolacca Berry, Phytolacca americana, Phytolacca decandra, Phytolaque Américaine, Phytolaque à Baies, Phytolaque Commun, Phytolaque d'Amérique, Pigeonberry, Pocan, Poke, Pokeweed berry, Pokeweed root, Raisin d'Amérique, Red-Ink Plant, Red Plant, Red Weed, Scoke, Skoke, Teinturier, Teinturière, Vigne de Judée, Virginian Poke.
Harvested: Wild or crafted
Parts Used: Root
Phytolacca americana, commonly known as pokeweed, common poke or scoke, is a vigorous, herbaceous perennial plant in the pokeweed family. This is regarded as one of the most important of indigenous American plants, and one of the most striking in appearance. It is growing up to 8-10 feet tall with a spread to 3-5 feet wide. It has large, alternate, lanceolate and simple green leaves on red or purplish stems and a large white taproot. Leaves are 5-10” long spreading to 2-4” wide. The flowers are green to white, each flower composed of five showy petal-like greenish-white sepals, 10 stamens and a pistil composed of united carpels followed by deep purple to almost black berries covering the stem in clusters and resembling blackberries. Fruits are a food source for songbirds as well as other birds and some small animals. It has very large taproots which will grow to 12” long and 4” thick.
The young shoots are used as poke salad and the leaves as a folk medicine or tea. In both cases, the plant material should be boiled at least twice to get rid of the toxin, according to literature reports. Failure to do so has caused poisoning in humans. Ingesting a few berries does not cause problems, but larger quantities, if uncooked, can be toxic to humans. Cattle, horses, sheep, and particularly swine, have been poisoned by ingesting pokeweed plant material.
How to use:
The young shoots are used as poke salad and the leaves as a folk medicine or tea. In both cases, the plant material should be boiled at least twice to get rid of the toxin, according to literature reports. Failure to do so has caused poisoning in humans.
There are different ways to use powdered herb.
Food Preparation: You can add powdered herbs to any super food, herbal smoothie, sauces, spreads and even cookies. Also for children, you can mix powdered herbs with honey or glycerin to make a paste. The thicker the paste, the more potent and herbal in taste. The sweet taste of honey and glycerin will help the medicine go down. This method is also known as "Electuaries".
Capsules: Encapsulating your own powdered herb at home, give you assurance that the contents of the capsules are pure herb and no filler or any other products. These capsules can be taken with liquid.
Poultice: Poultice can be made with an herbal powder and liquid (mostly water) to form a paste which is then applied to the skin. This method is very helpful for skin conditions.
Herbal shot: Powdered herb can be mixed with water, fruit juice or other liquid to make herbal shot.
You should consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.
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This information has not been evaluated by Health Canada.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.