Native Americans used beth root to reduce postpartum bleeding. For this reason, some people call it birthroot. Others call it stinking Benjamin because its dark purple flowers smell like rotting flesh. Following the early doctrine that “like cures like,” the plant was applied to gangrenous wounds to try to halt the infection.
Bethroot’s active agents come from the dried roots, rhizomes (underground stems), and leaves of Trillium erectum, a low-lying perennial of the Lily family (Uliaceae). The plant grows in Canada and Eastern and Central United States.
Common doses of Beth root
Bethroot comes as a powder, powdered root, and fluid extract. Some experts recommend the following doses:
- 1 tablespoon of bethroot powder in a pint of boiling water taken “freely in wine glassful doses.”
- 1 dram of powdered root taken orally three times a day.
- 30 minims of fluid extract as an astringent or tonic expectorant.
Why people use Beth root herb
- Abnormally long or heavy menstrual periods.
- As an expectorant
- Bloody diarrhea
- During childbirth and delivery
- Skin irritation
- To stimulate the uterus
Side effects of Beth root
Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of bethroot:
- stomach upset
Beth root also may cause toxic effects on the heart.
Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don’t use bethroot while taking drugs used to treat heart problems.
Important points to remember
- Avoid bethroot if you’re pregnant because it may stimulate the uterus.
- Don’t use bethroot if you’re taking drugs prescribed for a heart condition. This herb may affect heart function.
- Consider discontinuing the herb if you experience stomach upset.
What the research shows
Little scientific evidence supports beth root’s traditional uses in promoting childbirth and delivery, managing postpartum bleeding, or treating snakebites, skin irritation, and many other problems. Medical experts can’t consider beth root or its components medically useful until it has been studied carefully in humans.
Other names for Bethroot : –
Other names for beth root include birthroot, cough root, ground lily, Indian balm, Indian shamrock, Jew’s harp, purple trillium, snake bite, squaw root, stinking Benjamin, trillium, trillium pendulum, and wake-robin.
A product containing bethroot is sold under the name Trillium Complex.