Phytolacca americana

Pokeroot, one of the most significant plants native to America, forms the basis for the homeopathic remedy phytolacca. This is a huge herb-like plant growing perennially to a height of 10 feet or three meters. Indigenous to the eastern regions of North America, pokeroot has a very distinctive appearance.

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The plant has an outsized and fleshy taproot that is white in color. The stems of pokeroot are usually hollow having a green or red color. The leaves are big, but very simple. The plant bears white flowers, while the color of its fruits or berries varies from purple to virtually black.

Although the berries of the pokeroot plant form an excellent source of food for the songbirds, the different parts of this plant are considered to be extremely poisonous both for humans as well as livestock. For the farmers, this plant is a nuisance. Despite this, some parts of the pokeroot plant are used for different purposes, including medicine, food and also as a poison.

Despite being extremely toxic, the indigenous tribes of North America used the pokeroot plant for an assortment of purposes, especially medicinal. In fact, they used this plant to treat a wide variety of health problems, including hemorrhoids and rheumatoid arthritis.

According to ancient medical documents, this plant has been traditionally used to treat various health conditions, such as diphtheria, syphilis, adenitis (inflammation of any gland), conjunctivitis and emesis (vomiting) and also as a purgative. In addition, people have been using pokeroot even to cure cancer. Extracts from the plant were applied externally to cure scabies.

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The homeopathic remedy phytolacca is closely related to ailments or disorders of the gland. It may be prescribed for treating firm and tender neck glands accompanied by throat aches, especially while swallowing. People suffering from this condition may also have inflamed, excruciating and tarnished deep red tonsils, while the tip of the tongue may turn reddish.

Phytolacca is also effective for treating tender parotid glands, especially when an individual is suffering from mumps, as well as mononucleosis (a condition wherein there is existence of a great number of monocytes in the blood). People suffering from these conditions experience breathing problems and suffocation and emptiness in the chest. They feel as if the chest has been constricted and repressed making it almost impossible to breathe.

Phytolacca is an ideal remedy for mastitis (breast inflammation) accompanied by pain, firmness and a burning sensation in the breast. In such conditions, the pain gradually spreads all over the body when women are breast-feeding. In addition, this homeopathic medication is also effective in treating conditions like hard lumps and ulcers in the breast as well as breast cancer. Phytolacca may also be used to cure psoriasis (an inflammatory skin condition distinguished by scaly patches).

As aforementioned, in homeopathy, phytolacca, prepared from the root of pokeroot plant, is an appropriate remedy for murky, red, burning, inflamed and throbbing throats accompanied with pain that spreads to the ear while swallowing.

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In addition to these associated symptoms, the patient may also endure hot tears, the tip of the tongue turning dark and reddish, nasal and sinus discharge from one side as well as excruciating pain all over the body. Practitioners of homeopathic medicine also prescribe phytolacca to patients suffering from firm joints accompanied by tender heels and spasms as if the person is being given electric shocks.

At the same time, the patients may suffer from lethargy, a dominating emotion in such cases. Turning to the homeopathic remedy phytolacca helps to provide quick relief from these painful symptoms. In fact, the condition of people who require phytolacca most deteriorates significantly when they are exposed to cold or the weather turns humid.

When people who require the homeopathic medication phytolacca fall sick, they also suffer from a number of emotional conditions, such as tetchiness, exhaustion and weepiness. Alongside, such individuals also endure a number of physical symptoms, especially tiring weakness that not only depletes all vigour, but also hinders clarity of thoughts.

They also suffer from aches that typically begin as well as go all of a sudden. In some cases, such patients may also have halitosis or foul breath. Women experience a spiky and acute, but unsteady pain while breast feeding, when their condition actually deteriorates most.

Parts used

Freshly dug out roots of the pokeroot plant during the fall are used to prepare the homeopathic remedy phytolacca. The fresh roots are chopped into fine pieces and subsequently marinated or steeped in alcohol for some time to obtain the medication. As with any other homeopathic remedy, phytolacca does not possess any of the properties or even the slightest trace of the pokeweed root.


Compared to other homeopathic medications, phytolacca, prepared from the fleshy root of the pokeroot plant, is a minor remedy that is used to treat an assortment of ailments. This remedy is primarily used to treat gland ailments, particularly those related to the breast - tumours, both benign and malignant and/ or mastitis accompanied by pain causing a sensation as if the breast has been stitched and the wound is raw.

Women suffering from mastitis experience swollen and firm breasts and the stitching pain radiates all over the body. Their condition worsens when they are breast feeding. In addition, homeopathic medicine practitioners recommend the use of phytolacca for people suffering from tonsillitis and pharyngitis, wherein the color of the throat turns deep red and the tenderness spreads to the back of the ears, making swallowing difficult.

The homeopathic remedy phytolacca is also prescribed for a number of other purposes, including weight loss. Advocators of this medication claim that it is also effective for facilitating weight loss as well as curing ailments, such as tonsillitis, fungal infections, agonizing menstruation, mumps, syphilis, fluid retention as well as rheumatoid arthritis. Some people also claim that this homeopathic remedy is also helpful in treating cancer.

In effect, the use of phytolacca berries for weight loss in tablet form is a very recent development in homeopathy. This form of phytolacca is not prepared from the root of the pokeroot plant, but freshly obtained American yoke berries that enclose elements which help obese people in getting rid of their extra flab. It has been proved that taking this medication along with a number of exercises intended for weight reduction is highly beneficial for people struggling with obesity.

As discussed earlier, this homeopathic remedy is mainly used to treat gland problems, such as distension with heat and inflammation. Besides, being an useful remedy for glandular problems, including breast problems, phytolacca or pokeroot weed is a potent medication for treating problems related to fibrous tissues, scarred tissues and muscles.

The widespread gland problems that can be cured using phytolacca include tonsillitis, throat ulcers, sore throat, distended or swollen tonsils, inflammation of the breasts and chest, swelling or soreness of the lymph node as well as burning and throbbing parts of the skin.

In addition, this homeopathic remedy is very useful for treating other frequent glandular ailments, such as mastitis in breast feeding women, sties (tender swelling of the eyelid) and other problems related to the eyes.

Practitioners of homeopathic medicine also prescribe phytolacca to provide relief from different types of pains. In effect, this remedy is beneficial for people suffering from lower back pain, spasms or shooting pains in the right shoulder, especially when it ensues a firmness and problem in lifting the arm, stiffness of the muscles owing to a humid weather as well as debility and a blunt soreness in the region of the kidneys. In addition, turning to phytolacca also helps to get relief from shocking aches all over the body.

The homeopathic remedy phytolacca as well as the herb pokeroot (American yoke), which forms the basis of this medication, is a very effective detoxifying agent. Using the homeopathic medication and/ or the herb helps to get rid of the waste and toxic substances from the body. This particular attribute of the herb is also useful in preventing various skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis.

In other words, the internal contagions like boils as well as disorders on the skin surface caused by wastes and toxic substances produced by the body can be effectively treated using this homeopathic medication. In addition, phytolacca has also proven to be helpful in curing arthritis. In order to get relief from the arthritis pain, you may take up to ten drops of the root extract of this herb around once to thrice every day.

In homeopathy, pokeroot is also used to treat emotional problems, especially depression. In fact, many homeopathic medicine practitioners have successfully used this herb to cure certain unsocial activities of people, including absence of willingness to socialize and a total indifference towards the normal activities in one's life and social customs.

It is generally accepted that such behaviour in a person is associated with the need for interest in his/ her life. In other words, it denotes depression and turning to phytolacca helps to alleviate the problem.

Caution: There are some warnings for those intending to take the homeopathic remedy phytolacca to treat any condition they might be enduring. As the berries of pokeroot plant are toxic for humans, it is advisable not to use the homeopathic medication phytolacca prepared from the plant's berries unless it is prescribed by a qualified and competent medical practitioner.

In addition, you should always take care to ensure that the homeopathic preparation you are using has been made by a manufacturer of some standing.

Young pokeroot berries are edible if they are boiled several times in different waters prior to consumption. Usually, you boil the freshly obtained young berries in water, take them out from the water and boil them again in fresh water.

This process is followed a number of times with a view to get rid of the toxicity of the berries before they are eaten. It may be underlined that you should never eat ripe or mature pokeroot berries since it is not possible to get rid of their toxicity even after boiling them in the above mentioned process.

As with using any other medication, taking pokeroot often results in a number of side effects, including a few life-threatening ones. Generally, people taking this medication may experience nausea, diarrhea, severe vomiting, convulsions, low blood pressure, breathing troubles and a number of other adverse after-effects.

In fact, some symptoms of toxicity owing to the use of phytolacca may even prove to be fatal. Hence, it is essential to consult an experienced homeopath before taking this medication.


The pokeroot plant, which forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy phytolacca, is native to North America and is found growing naturally in open fields and wastelands as well as along the periphery of human settlements. In recent times, the pokeroot plant is even found to be growing in places inhabited by people and its growth in such areas seems to be increasing.

This plant is propagated by its seeds which do not need any stratification and are generally scattered by the birds that feed on the berries of the pokeroot plant. This species of plant is well adjusted to growing on a wide variety of soils, ranging from rough to fine, and in conditions having reasonable dampness.

The pokeroot plant can tolerate high calcium soils, but cannot endure saline soils. The pH tolerance level of this plant varies between 4.7 and 8. Pokeroot plant grows as well as thrives well both under sunlight and shady conditions and can even endure fires because of its aptitude to re-grow quickly from its large fleshy roots.

While the large, fleshy roots of this plant are used to prepare the homeopathic medication phytolacca, almost all the parts of pokeroot possess therapeutic properties. Although the plant is toxic by nature and often harmful to livestock as well as humans, its berries are used to prepare medicinal juices, while the leaves can be crushed to make poultices.

In addition to forming the basis of the homeopathic remedy phytolacca, the roots of the pokeroot plant have diverse uses. One can prepare herbal teas, tinctures as well as tonics with the roots of this plant to cure a number of ailments.


From A. Prakash - Aug-31-2014
I have been taking phytolacca berry mother tincture for weight loss for the past 1 year (15 drops in water twice a day). It showed dramatic results within 6 weeks with decrease in abdominal fat being the most visible feature and an overall toned body shape. I maintained a steady weight for my height but lost fat in inches.
However, after 6 months I began to develop muscle weakness and tender, painful joint symptoms. I stopped the medication on the advice of my physician for 2 months and then restarted it again with a lower dosage.
Although I know that this remedy works for weight loss, I'm concerned about the long-term effects on my body, for example the inability to absorb fats could have consequences that I am not aware of.
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