Stone root (botanical name, Collinsonia canadensis) is a perennially growing herb that grows up to a maximum height of four feet. This herb has a solitary, straight stem that is square in form. The leaves of stone root are oval-shaped, jagged and appear in opposite pairs on the stem and it ends in a cone-shaped, divided group of little, tubular, pale yellow flowers that appear during July/September. The blooms of this herb have a potent lemon-like aroma. It may be noted that a passionate English merchant botanist Peter Collinson (1693-1768) was the first to discover stone root. In effect, Collinson had intense interest in carrying the plant to England and growing new American plants.
As mentioned earlier, stone root has a potent lemon aroma that has helped the plant to earn the common name richweed. In effect, the lemon-like aroma of this plant is considered to be the most striking characteristic of this plant that is native to America and belongs to the mint family. The leaves as well as the rhizome (the underground stem) of stone root were once brewed to prepare therapeutic teas and rinses or ointments for treating wound and cuts for numerous generations of the Native Americans as well as the pioneering while settlers from Europe in the rocky regions of Kentucky, Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Like in the case of several other plants, the dissimilar names offer vital background. The common name stone root denotes either to the herb's knotty, rock-hard rhizome or to the mountaineers brewing the rhizome of the plant to prepare an herbal tea, which was used in the form of a diuretic in treating stone afflictions, such as bladder or kidney stones. The plant's names having ‘horse' and ‘ox' actually denote to the large size of this species.
Both the Indians in North America as well as the white settlers from Europe used several preparations with stone root to heal wounds. They applied these preparations topically in the form of a wash or poultice. The rhizome of the herb was brewed to prepare an herbal tea, which when served hot not only worked as a diuretic in treating kidney and gallstones, but was also used as a common tonic, in the form of a purgative as well as a remedy for headache.
Root, leaves, rhizome.
Stone root possesses tonic and diuretic properties and is mainly used to treat kidney stones. In addition, this herb is also recommended to combat fluid retention by the body. Stone root has also been employed to lower the back pressure in the veins, which facilitates in avoiding the formation or deterioration of hemorrhoids as well as varicose veins. Since stone root also possesses astringent attributes, its use helps to constrict the internal lining of the intestines and may also be useful for treating disorders of the digestive system, for instance, mucus colitis and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Freshly obtained roots and leaves of this herb are employed in the form of poultice to heal cuts, bruises and sores.
The rhizome of stone root is also brewed to prepare an herbal tea which was earlier used in the form of tonic and also diuretic. It also served as a home-made remedy for constipation and headaches.
It has been found that stone root is nervine and, hence, has a particular impact on the nervous system as well as the mucous membranes - it facilitates in removing the blockage and, thereby, enhancing the circulation of the capillaries. This particular effect is very remarkable when the mucous membranes of the lower bowels and throat are in a relaxed state. Stone root is a very effective medication for treating tender throat, laryngitis, pharyngitis accompanied by relaxed as well as weakened circulation of the capillary. Stone root may be blended with other herbs indicated for treating the above conditions for better results, especially in the case of atonic dyspepsia (indigestion accompanied by damaged tone in the stomach's muscular walls), irritable state of the heart owing to debility and catarrhal gastritis accompanied by flawed circulation. This herb is mainly used in treating as well as preventing the formation of stone and gravel in the urinary tract as well as the gallbladder. Stone root may also be used in the form of a preventive measure. However, it is also good when the body requires help in passing stones or gravel.
Conventional practitioners of herbal medicine have employed stone root to treat catarrhal gastritis (gastritis accompanied by excessive mucus secretion), hemorrhoids, aches in the rectum, dysentery, rheumatic inflammations, fistula, ulcers, inflammation within the ear, vaginismus (painful spasm of the vagina), severe cystitis and also in the form of a heart tonic.
Members of the Iroquois, a native of North America also known as Haudenosaunee, as well as people of other Eastern nations have traditionally used the root of this herb in the form of a stimulating medication to treat diseases of the heart and kidneys. In addition, they also used the stone root rhizome for treating common lethargy. Stone root leaves and roots have also been applied topically as an anti-inflammatory medication, while the leaves of the herb have been ingested to promote vomiting.
To treat hemorrhoids effectively, stone root may be used individually or in combination with other herbs like witch hazel, particularly when the patient experiences a sensation of constriction, burning or heat in the region of the rectum. This herb is also effective in healing hemorrhoids during pregnancy accompanied with reduced venous circulation in the region of the pelvic viscera. In addition, stone root has also been employed prior to and following surgery for hemorrhoids. In this case you need to blend equal proportions of the fluids extracted from stone root with witch hazel extracts and it should be taken in dosage of 1 ml to 1.5 ml of the blended extracts once in every two hours. Moreover, the distilled extract of witch hazel may also be used as an injection into the rectum or may be used in compress to keep it in contact with the external piles while the patient is asleep.
Herbalists consider stone root to be an excellent medication for treating persistent gastritis or dyspepsia (indigestion) as well as absence of appetite, spasmodic state of the stomach and intestines, particularly wherein the circulation is flawed and digestion is accompanied with pain as well as symptoms of anxiety prior to taking meals, and also when the patient has a liver congestion as well as a propensity to hemorrhoids. This herb is also indicated for curing constipation, particularly when the patient has a feeling of constriction, burning, heat in the region of the rectum. In addition, it is a very effective remedy when the patient had desiccated, solid feces accompanied with the constriction of the sphincter as well as constricted and throbbing perineum (the region in front of the rectum).
Stone root is also a highly effective herbal medication to treat persistent pharyngitis or laryngitis, when the walls of the larynx are relaxed and accompanied with deep discoloration and weakened circulation of capillary, particularly in medical condition that is conventionally called the ‘clergyman's or minister's sore throat'. In such conditions, the patients have a sensation of a tickling in the throat and spontaneous coughing, frequently a result of excessive use of the voice.
Moreover, the perennial herb stone root is held in high esteem for its effectiveness in curing persistent catarrhal ailments of the mucous tissues of the larynx, pharynx and nasopharynx (the fraction of the pharynx at the back and over the soft palate).
Stone root is also taken internally following evening meal or prior to going to bed at night to treat incontinence of urine. Perhaps owing to the comforting effect the herb has on the mucous membranes, it is used in this manner. In addition, this herb is also used for various medical problems endured by females, especially menorrhagia (profuse menstrual discharge), dysmenorrhoea (painful menstruation), prolapsed uterus (dislocation of the uterus), threatened abortion, vicarious menstruation, leucorrhea as well as pruritis-vulvae (itching of the vulvae) owing to varicosis or varicosity.
It may be noted that stone root is regarded as a heart tonic that is non-stimulating, but helps in enhancing the power as well as nature of the heart. Previously, the herb was employed for treating functional heart problems and it was believed to be particularly useful at the time when the heart became weakened owing to prolonged fevers, excessive strain or owing to rheumatic inflammation.
Habitat and cultivation
The herb stone root is indigenous to the damp swamps of the eastern regions of North America.
It is quite easy to cultivate stone root and occasionally it is grown as a showy plant in gardens. However, cultivating the species in the form of a crop is somewhat difficult, as it takes a very long period to produce sufficient rhizomes which would make cultivating and harvesting the plant profitable. It is ideal to sow the seeds of stone root outdoors in a cold frame or, alternately, in a covered flat, during the later part of fall or early spring. It takes around eight to ten weeks for the stone root seeds to germinate. The plants of this species produce flowers between the period of July and September. It is advisable to transplant the seedlings in their permanent position outdoors when they have grown sufficiently large to be handled. It may be noted that stone root plants succeed well in places that are variegated with moist and shade in an acidic soil. Stone root grows excellently when grown amidst trees with shallow roots, for instance maples. The roots of the plant, which possess therapeutic attributes, may be harvested in the second or third year of their growth or much later. The root can be dug up in autumn.
The herb stone root may be used in a number of ways for medicinal purpose - in the form of a decoction and tincture.
Decoction: To prepare a decoction with stone root, add one to three teaspoonfuls of the dried out root of the herb in a cup of water and boil it. Simmer the mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes, filter the solution and drink it thrice every day.
Collection and harvesting
The rhizome and roots of the stone root plant, which possess therapeutic properties are dug up during the autumn.