Pleurisy root. Milkweed. Butterfly weed. asclepius tuberosa. The same plant that hosted monarch butterflies and bees this summer is getting uprooted. Not to worry, I have plenty to spare. I’ve learned that, in addition to being the plant for monarchs, butterfly weed can also be eaten, both leaves and pods, and the root can be dried and used for medicine.
According to herbalists, a tea or tincture made from this plant’s root is used to treat lung conditions like coughs, bronchitis, yes, pleurisy, even asthma, as it is said to relax the bronchioles and liquify mucous secretions.
I’m planning to dry some of the root in its simple, intact form. I may also powder some of the dried root. You can also make a tincture from the pounded root infused in vodka.
In the field:
Dug and ready to be washed:
Peeled, chopped, processed in a blender to a coffee-ground approximation:
To read more about this fascinating and multi-use plant, read here. Pillows stuffed with the silky seed fibers? Insulation? Glue? Wart remover? Rope? I’m getting all tingly.
I’m not an herbalist. Seek the advice of one to determine if and how you should use this plant. Consult a physician before using any medicinal preparation. Not for use in pregnancy or lactation, by seniors, infants, or people with heart conditions or those taking MAOIs. Read that really fast.