Herb latin name: Phytolacca esculenta


Synonyms: Phytolacca acinosa esculenta, Phytolacca kaempferi


Family: Phytolaccaceae (Pokeweed Family)



Medicinal use of Phytolacca esculenta:

The roots contain saponins. They are abortifacient, antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiinflammatory, antiphlogistic, antitussive, diuretic, expectorant, hypotensive and purgative. A decoction is used in the treatment of oedema, beri-beri, lumbago, rheumatism, abdominal distension and numbness of the throat. Use with caution, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

Flovering:
July to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Valleys, hillsides, forest understories, forest margins and roadsides at elevations of 500 - 3400 metres. It is also found in cultivated land houses, moist fertile lands and as a weed.

Edible parts of Phytolacca esculenta:

Leaves - they must be cooked and are used as a spinach. Only the young leaves should be used since they become toxic with age. Root - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

A red ink is obtained from the fruit.

Propagation of Phytolacca esculenta:

Seed - sow autumn or spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed, it might be worthwhile trying an outdoor sowing in a seed bed in early spring. Grow the plants on in the seedbed for their first year and plant them out the following spring. Division in March or October. Use a sharp spade or knife to divide the rootstock, making sure that each section has at least one growth bud. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Valleys, hillsides, forest understories, forest margins and roadsides at elevations of 500 - 3400 metres. It is also found in cultivated land houses, moist fertile lands and as a weed.

Known hazards of Phytolacca esculenta:

The leaves are poisonous. They are said to be alright to eat when young, the toxins developing as they grow older.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.