Herbs & Plants

Aristolochia reticulata

Botanical Name: Aristolochia reticulata
Family: Aristolochiaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Piperales
Genus: Aristolochia
Species: A. reticulata

Common Names: Red River snakeroot, Texas Dutchman’s pipe, or Texas pipevine

Habitat: Aristolochia reticulata is native to Southern N. America – Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas. It grows on moist woodlands. Moist, sandy soils at elevations of 30 – 600 metres.

Aristolochia reticulata is a evergreen and deciduous woody vines and herbaceous perennials, growing to 0.4 m (1ft 4in).The smooth stem is erect or somewhat twining. The simple leaves are alternate and cordate, membranous, growing on leaf stalks. There are no stipule. It is in flower from May to July. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and is pollinated by Flies.


Suitable for: medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. Prefers a well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter, in sun or semi-shade. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil. Most species in this genus have malodorous flowers that are pollinated by flies.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is aromatic, bitter, diaphoretic, stimulant and stomachic. The dried rhizome of Aristolochia reticulata is sometimes sold as serpentary for the treatment of snakebites. It is used as a tonic to calm the stomach, promote urination, and increase perspiration. The active ingredient is aristolochic acid, a potent gastric irritant that, in large doses, can cause respiratory paralysis.

Known Hazards: The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity. According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cell activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys. Another report says that it is an active antitumour agent but is too toxic for clinical use, causing gastric irritation and, in large doses, respiratry failure. Another report says that aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells.

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


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