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Each spring I LOVE focusing on detoxification. Our bodies are designed to do this, and nature tells us by sending up such beautiful green shoots and edible flowers, as well as by providing roots that are ready to be discovered (dug up!) and harnessed.
We’re living on our friends’ farm now, and I’m learning from them about new spring edibles for both humans and wildlife. The bees see the kale blossoms, a first spring food for them. We see them too; and when we pick and eat we are aiding in the process of flushing out toxins and regenerating our systems’ productivity.
In addition to picking and eating wild mustard green blossoms, lots of lemon balm and fresh mint, and occasional kale blossoms this year, I’m using red root to support my body’s detoxification process. (Two of its common names are Mountain Lilac and Desert Lilac. Its Latin name is Ceanothus americanus.)
Sure enough, herbalists gather red root in the early spring. Its harvest time is an indication of when our bodies will benefit from its constituents.
Red root’s been used for thousands of years, especially in Asia. It’s known to widen blood vessels, promote healthy cellular growth, and be rich in antioxidants.
Perhaps most importantly, as someone who’s spent years healing and repairing my gut, I get “all ears” when I learn of an ancient method that increases cellular growth and reduces inflammation! When that herb also helps to usher out toxins, it’s a hard herb to resist.
Red root works well with sluggish lymph systems, clearing away dead cellular tissue and stimulating circulation. The lymphatic system is not only responsible for carrying waste from the body. The lymphatic system is also the heart of the immune system and even delivers nutrition: triglycerides as fuel to the body between meals.
It’ll Warm You Up!
I notice personally an increase in “digestive fire,” especially during and after lunch, which is the one meal that I usually keep very small because my digestion has been historically less active.
It is a warming herb, a benefit for those of us who often feel cold and/or with chronic conditions– especially those conditions that relate to digestion and the immune system! (Is this you? It IS me, one of the reasons this herb has been so helpful.)
What I’ve noticed personally since I began taking red root is that I run warmer, by a lot. For the first time in my life, the boys in my family are asking me if we can close the windows?! I’ve got them open for cool, fresh air and the boys who are usually “dying” from being too hot are actually getting cold before I do! This happened within one week of taking red root twice daily.
Red root helps with constipation, kills unhealthy bacteria in the mouth, and even relieves menstrual pain.
Red root is not recommended for acute conditions internally, but rather lingering issues of skin, lungs, belly, lymph nodes.
Red root is considered a safe herb to use over a long period of time. I like using it in the spring (and summer) months, when the sun is already promoting detoxification in my body and nature is telling us to harvest and use the plant.
Red root may also be beneficial for those with fibrocystic breast disease/tissue, mastitis, mononucleosis, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, and tonsillitis. When I read this list I was amazed how many of these conditions have affected my family over the years, and just how useful this herb can be to those of us with chronic issues. How much I would have liked to have learned of this herb and its properties years ago! Chronic sore throats, too heavy of periods, enlarged lymph nodes, swollen tonsils, a chest cough that won’t go away are all great examples of when to consider using red root.
(Tangentially, the way I first learned of red root was 15 years ago, using a red root salve topically, recommended by my midwife, with a castor oil hot pack, for mastitis. It always worked, usually with the first 40 minute application. This is an example of when red root is used for an external acute condition. It is also used acutely and externally to aid in blood coagulation, situations of excessive bleeding.)
May it be a helpful herb in your life, and please share below accordingly.
Cautions with red root- It can interfere with anti-coagulant medication, as red root acts to improve blood coagulation.
Dosage- Herbalists use a variety of doses with red root, ranging from very small amounts of the tincture (5 drops, 2 x a day) to 30 to 90 drops 4 x a day, which one herbalist said can cause an upset in digestion if used long term. Red root also aids in digestion when used in *small doses; I personally use *30 drops 2 times daily, between meals on an empty stomach. However, red root can also be used after a high fat meal, (especially after pork that has not been marinated), which can affect the coagulation of blood cells.
How will you use red root? Have you used it before? I’d love to hear.