Herbs & Plants


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Botanical Name : Jeffersonia diphylla
Family: Berberidaceae
Genus: Jeffersonia
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Ranunculales

Synonyms :  J. binata. Podophyllum diphyllum.

 Common  Names: —Jeffersonia, rheumatism root, helmetpod, ground-squirrel pea, yellowroot.
Habitat: .—
Jeffersonia diphylla is native to Eastern N. America – New York and Ontario to Alabama and west to Wisconsin.   It is very rare in the wild, it is found in limestone soils and rich woods near rivers.

Description.—Twinleaf    is herbaceous perennial plants and only about 6 or 8 inches in height when in flower but reaches a height of 18 inches at the fruiting stage. The long-stemmed, smooth leaves are almost completely divided into two leaflets and arise directly from the base of the plant. The white flowers measuring about 1 inch across. which appear early in spring, are borne singly on a slender stalk arising from the root and are followed by a leathery, somewhat pear-shaped capsule containing many seeds. Twinleaf has a thick, knotty, yellowish-brown, horizontal root. stock with man fibrous, much-matted roots.

The leaves and flowers of this plant are smooth and emerge directly from the base of the plant. Jeffersonia has showy white flowers with eight petals; the flower resembles Bloodroot, a small poppy. The flower last only a short time after blooming in April or May, and gives way to a green pear-shaped capsule with a hinged top. The characteristic leaves are large andnearly divided in half, giving rise to its common name, Twinleaf.

They are uncommon spring wildflowers, which grow in limestone soils of rich woodland. Jeffersonia was named for United States President Thomas Jefferson, by his contemporary Benjamin Smith Barton. This genus was formerly, incorrectly grouped in genus Podophyllum. Twinleaf is protected by state laws as a threatened or endangered plant in Georgia, Iowa, New York, and New Jersey.

Cultivation :
Landscape Uses:Rock garden, Woodland garden. Prefers a light sandy, peaty or humus-rich woodland soil and a rather shady situation. Suitable for a choice position in a cool leafy soil. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. A slow-growing plant. Plants have an extensive root system and resent disturbance. They should be pot-grown and planted into their permanent positions as soon as possible. Special Features:North American native, Attractive flowers or blooms.
Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as possible in late winter or the spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring

Medicinal Uses:  

Though Twinleaf ( Jeffersonia) is a poisonous plant, it has had a variety of medical uses throughout history. One of those uses is hinted at by an archaic common name of Jeffersonia diphylla, Rheumatism root. The “roots” of both species contain berberine, a known anti-tumor alkaloid.

The whole plant is antispasmodic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and tonic. An infusion is used in the treatment of diarrhoea, dropsy, gravel and urinary problems. The root is emetic in large doses and expectorant in smaller doses. The root contains berberine, which has been shown to have anti-tumor activity. A poultice of the plant is applied to sores, ulcers and inflamed parts.The Cherokee used a tea for dropsy, urinary problems and on sores and inflammation.

Known Hazards: Twinleaf ( Jeffersonia) is a poisonous plant.

Native Americans utilized Jeffersonia diphylla for a variety of medicines. The Cherokee reportedly used an infusion of this plant for treating dropsy and urinary tract problems, it was also used as a poultice for sores and inflammation. The Iroquois used a decoction of the plant to treat liver problems and diarrhea.

The whole plant was used in early American medicine as an antispasmodic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and general tonic. The “root” was once also used as an emetic in large doses, and as an expectorant in small doses. Modern medicine does not currently utilize this plant.

Traditional Chinese medicine uses Jeffersonia dubia for strengthening the stomach and bringing

Disclaimer: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