Herbs & Plants

Symplocarpus foetidus

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Botanical Name : Symplocarpus foetidus
Family: Araceae
Subfamily: Orontioideae
Genus: Symplocarpus
Species: S. foetidus
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Alismatales

Common Names: Eastern Skunk Cabbage, Clumpfoot Cabbage, Foetid Pothos, Meadow Cabbage, Polecat Weed, Skunk Cabbage, or Swamp Cabbage

Habitat : It can be found naturally in eastern North America, from Nova Scotia and southern Quebec west to Minnesota, and south to North Carolina and Tennessee, and also in northeastern Asia, in eastern Siberia, northeastern China, Korea and Japan. Skunk cabbage is protected as a state endangered plant in Tennessee

Eastern skunk cabbage has leaves which are large, 40–55 cm long and 30–40 cm broad. It flowers early in the spring when only the flowers are visible above the mud. The stems remain buried below the surface of the soil with the leaves emerging later. The flowers are produced on a 5–10 cm long spadix contained within a spathe, 10–15 cm tall and mottled purple in colour. The rhizome is often 30 cm thick…...


Medicinal Uses:
The roots are a traditional folk remedy for tight coughs, bronchitis and catarrh.  It acts as a mild sedative and has been employed to treat nervous disorders.  As employed in respiratory and nervous disorders, rheumatism, and dropsy, the rootstock was official in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 to 1882.  Skunk cabbage may be used whenever there is a tense or spasmodic condition in the lungs.  It will act to relax and ease irritable coughs.  It may be used in asthma, bronchitis and whooping cough. As a diaphoretic it will aid the body during fevers. Less commonly, skunk cabbage is used as a treatment for epilepsy, headaches, vertigo, and rheumatic problems and as a means to stop bleeding.  The leaves can be used fresh as a vulnerary.

In the 19th century the U.S. Pharmacopoeia listed eastern skunk cabbage as the drug “dracontium”. It was used in the treatment of respiratory diseases, nervous disorders, rheumatism, and dropsy. In North America and Europe, skunk cabbage is occasionally cultivated in water gardens. Skunk cabbage was used extensively as a medicinal plant, seasoning, and magical talisman by various tribes of Native Americans. While not considered edible raw, because the roots are toxic and the leaves can burn the mouth, the leaves may be dried and used in soups and stews

The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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