herb of the month: Red Root (continued from left)
indications: Red Root is an aromatic bitter and slightly warming herb that yields a deep red tincture and is associated with the blood. It helps move the blood and lymph more freely throughout their channels, helping with swollen lymph nodes or the ill-effects of sluggish, fatty blood. The ability of Red Root to stimulate and support this fluid movement makes it potentially useful in many situations, such as treating hemorrhoids, varicose veins, broken capillaries, breast/ovarian/testicular cysts, heavy menstruation or supporting swollen spleens due to viral infections. Many herbalists find that it is used best in formula with other supporting herbs. Because of its astringency it has also been used by Native Americans and early American doctors to stop bleeding.
Beyond the western lymphatic Spleen, Red Root has a special connection with the Spleen in Traditional Chinese Medicine - the organ that moves the fluids around the body and plays an essential role in digestive metabolism by drawing the nourishment from digesting food into the body. Thus Red Root can address stagnant, irritated damp digestion that comes with cold, dry symptoms. Matthew Wood talks about the Greek connection of spleen with 'melancholia' - similar to TCM spleen ideas that excessive thought and introspection can bring about a 'Spleen' imbalance marked by sluggishness of direction, purpose and creative flow. He recommends smaller more energetic doses for this.
cautions: Can be irritating in higher doses; use carefully if undergoing medical treatment for any disease.
note: This information is not a replacement for a trained herbalist. Please consult your medical professional before treating yourself or others with this or any other herbal remedy.