Beth Root or Bethroot is a perennial herb that is primarily found in North America. It has been used for hundreds of years for its health advantages. It was once coined the “birth root” because it was most commonly used by Native Americans to help during labor.
Beth root proposes a variety of health benefits, but it was also used in witchcraft to help get rid of negative energy and used as protection. Its most noted benefit was the ability to help with many women’s issues, like excessive bleeding, regulating the cycle and to help with strengthening the womb before and after childbirth.
Botanical Name and Family of Beth Root
Beth root is known scientifically as Trillium erectum. It belongs to the Liliaceae or Lilly family and has often been referred to as Birthroot, Coughroot and Three-Leaved Nightshade.
What Is Beth Root?
Beth root is an herb that is native to North America. An abundance of Beth root can be found in Kentucky, Indiana, Tennessee and Ohio. The root and rhizome are used for making medicine. The leaves contain a crystalline substance called raphide and calcium oxalate crystals and, therefore, are not recommended for consumption.
Practitioners of the traditional medicine treated bleeding of different origins with Beth root preparations.
Most often, Beth root was used to relieve uterus hemorrhages following childbirth. Other female conditions were also treated with the use of Beth root including excessive menstruation and uterus bleeding. Having been used by Native Americans for hundreds of years to treat different health conditions, Beth root is considered an endangered species in some states today.
Active Ingredients Found in Beth Root
Beth root contains fixed oils, volatile oils, saponins, sapogenins, starch, gum, resin and tannic acid.
Health Benefits of Beth Root
Traditionally, Beth root has been used to deal with heavy and painful menstruation. It was also prescribed as an anti-inflammatory agent, an expectorant and a remedy for bleeding hemorrhoids, diarrhea, varicose veins and bruises.
As mentioned, this herb was used by American Indians to treat gynecological conditions including irregular menstrual periods, menstrual pain, excessive vaginal discharge and to aid childbirth.
Beth root was used topically to relieve insect bites. It was also a popular folk remedy for bleeding, snakebites and skin irritations as well.
How to Use Beth Root
The dried root is used medicinally most often, though the leaves and even the fragrant flowers may be collected to prepare herbal remedies as well. The young sprouts can be eaten fresh in salads and the root of this herb can be made into a tincture, syrup or a tea. Dosing depends on an individual’s age, weight, health, etc., which is why it is always a good idea to speak to an herbal practitioner in regards to dosing to prevent any side effects.
Side Effects of Beth Root
Beth root can cause certain irritations like vomiting and irritation of the stomach and intestines if ingested improperly. Some people also report skin irritation. It may cause miscarriage in pregnant women and can aggravate heart problems.
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Liberman S, Chang FC, Barusch MR, Noller CR. Saponins and Sapogenins. XX. Bethogenin and Trillogenin, New Sapogenins from Trillium Erectum. J. Am. Chem. Soc. 1942:64 (11); 2581–2583 DOI: 10.1021/ja01263a016