Butterfly weed/pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa)
Parts used: Roots
Benefits: About a month ago I was hiking at a state park in Tennessee, and I came upon this glorious orange flower. I had to take a picture of it because I was so enchanted with its beauty and I intuitively knew that it had some medicinal benefit. I researched it when I got home and what do you know, it’s a standby in folk medicine and Native American herbalism! Pleurisy root is effective against respiratory infections, where it reduces inflammation and assists expectoration. It can be used in the treatment of bronchitis and other chest conditions, as well as pneumonia, influenza and - as the name suggests - pleurisy. The roots should be unearthed in early or mid-spring, then cleaned, split and dried in a shady spot. It combines well with cayenne, lobelia and grindelia in the treatment of respiratory congestion.