Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health

Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health

Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica)

Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) is known as other names: American Wormgrass, Carolina Pink, Indian Pink, Lonicera marilandica, Maryland Pink, Starbloom, Pinkroot, Œillet de la Caroline, Raíz Rosa, Rose Indien, Spigelia anthelmia, Spigelia marilandica, Spigélie du Maryland, Starbloom, Wormgrass, Wormweed...

The pinkroot is a perpetually growing herb that is distinct for its ornamental flowers. The plant usually grows up to a height of one to two feet and has a number of four-sided smooth and purple colored stems each of which end with a single sided barb containing four to twelve decorative flowers. The leaves of the herb are without stalks or stems and grow alternatively and opposite to each other on the main stem. Normally, the pinkroot leaves are slightly oval shaped with pointed tips and grow two to four inches long. On the other hand, the pinkroot flowers are extremely showy and blossom during the May-July period. These flowers are funnel or tube shaped in appearance and grows up to two inches long. The pinkroot flowers comprise two blazing hemispheres - red in the exterior and bright yellow inside.

Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health
Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) Picture

The pinkroot grows in rich, dry soils on the edges of woods. The entire plant is collected in autumn and dried, but only the rhizome and rootlets are official in the United States Pharmacopceia, though in several other pharmacopoeias on the Continent, in which Spigelia is official, a closely allied species is named and the flowering plant is specified. The pinkroot rhizome is tortuous, knotty and dark-brown externally, with many thin, wiry motlets attached to it and the short branches on the upper side are marked with scars of the stems of former years; internally, the rhizome is whitish, with a darkbrown pith; the rootlets are lighter coloured than the rhizome, thin, brittle and long. Odour, aromatic; taste, bitter, sweetish, pungent and somewhat nauseous.

Used extensively by Native Americans as a vermifuge, pinkroot was gathered for trade with the white settlers by the Creeks and Cherokees. From the late 18th century onward, it became a major de-worming herb in North America and Europe.

Although the pinkroot proved to be highly effectual in curing intestinal worms, the popularity of the herb began to wane in the early part of the 20th century as the physicians were apprehensive about the infrequent side affects of the medication. Doctors found that people who were administered the herb or its extracts often complained of dizziness, swift heartbeat, diffused or unclear vision and even convulsions or violent shaking of the body or the limbs owing to acute muscle contractions.

Constituents Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica)

The pinkroot herb encloses alkaloids (primarily spigeline), a volatile oil, tannin (a plant chemical used in tanning) and resin. It may be noted here that spigeline not only causes irritation, but also induces a vomiting tendency in the stomach.

Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health
Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) Flower Picture

The pinkroot also holds a bitter and pungent substance that is soluble in water as well as alcohol, but not soluble in ether (an organic amalgam related to the hydrocarbon group). The herb also encloses little quantity of wax, fat, mucilage (a thick water-based blend), albumen, myricin, a viscid (a thick and sticky substance), saccharine material, lignin (a composite polymer found in plant cell walls), sodium salts, potassium and calcium. It may be mentioned here that the effects of the venomous alkaloid spigeline present in pinkroot is similar to those of nicotine, coniine and lobeline.

Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health

Although the pinkroot is reported to have several remedial uses, presently herbal practitioners use the herb primarily to throw out worms, especially tapeworms and roundworms, from the intestines. In fact, herbalists also recommend the use of pinkroot along with other herbs like senna and fennel with a view to make certain the removal of both the worms and the root too. It may be mentioned here that the root of the pinkroot herb is said to be potentially noxious if it is absorbed by the stomach.

Several of the Spigelia species act as worm-expelling herbs. These include S. flemmingania, native to Brazil, and S. anthelmia, native to the Caribbean, Venezuela, and Colombia, which also contains isoquinoline alkaloids useful in the treatment of heart disease.

The pinkroot root has also been used as a febrifuge and for malaria.

Homeopathic remedies are used as a calmative during states of excitement.

Benefits Of Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) For Health
Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) Picture

Chemical analysis of the pinkroot has shown that it comprises proved medical elements like spigeline, lignin, tannin, albumin and myricin. Latest researches conducted on pinkroot have shown that some of these ingredients have properties that may be used to treat HIV, cancer and coronary ailments. The other remedial properties of pinkroot consist of anti-bacterial, anti-diarrheic, antioxidant, anthelmintic and laxative. The pinkroot is accepted most for its anthelmintic properties and is considered to be a very powerful medication for tapeworm and roundworm.

However, if the administration of the drug is not followed by any saline aperient, pinkroot may often lead to horrid and grave side effects. If taken in large doses, the pinkroot is said to produce narcotic effects that may cause enhanced heart action, giddiness, lightheadedness or vertigo, unclear or diffused vision, muscular spasms, convulsions and even prove to be fatal.

With children, pinkroot is a safe and efficient drug to give to children, if administered in proper doses and always followed by a saline aperient, such as magnesium sulphate. In large doses, these are increased, both circulation and respiration being depressed and loss of muscular power caused, and cases have been known resulting, in children, in death from convulsions.

Pinkroot (Spigelia Marilandica) Side effects and cautions

The dried root of pinkroot seems safe for most people when used short-term along with a strong laxative. The dried root can be unsafe, however, if it is not taken with a strong laxative. It’s important to get pinkroot out of the body quickly because it might still contain some poisonous chemicals, even though it is dried.

It’s unsafe to use pinkroot, even the dried preparation, if you are pregnant. For pinkroot to be effective, it must be used along with a strong laxative. But strong laxatives can be harmful during pregnancy. For this reason, pinkroot should not be used in pregnancy.