Scientific Name(s): Veronicastrum virginicum (L.) Farw.
Common Name(s): Black culver's root, Black root, Bowman's root, Brinton root, Culveris root, Culvers physic, Hini, Leptandra, Leptandra-wurzel, Oxadody, Physic root, Tall speedwell, Tall veronica whorlywort
Culver's root is a tall, herbaceous perennial consisting of a simple, erect stem growing from approximately 0.9 to 2 m tall. Whorled leaves (from 4 to 7) terminate in spikes of white flowers approximately 8 to 25 cm long, which bloom in July through August. The purple flower variety is termed Leptandra purpurea. Native to North America, but growing elsewhere, black culver's root prefers meadows and rich woodlands. The medicinal parts of the plant include the dried rhizome with the roots.Dwyer 1986 This plant was assigned by Linnaeus to the genus Veronica, but later was put in genus Leptandra by Nuttall, which is now used by present-day botanists. A revision of the genus is needed.Dwyer 1986, Hocking 1997 Synonyms are V. sibiricum L. Pennell, V. sibirica L., Leptandra virginica (Nutt.).
The first documented use of culver's root was when Puritan leader Cotton Mather requested it as a remedy for his daughter's tuberculosis in 1716. Culver's root was used by early physicians as a powerful laxative and emetic. Native American tribes also used the plant and drank tea preparations to induce vomiting and to help cleanse the blood. Herbalists have used culver's root for its ability to increase the flow of bile from the liver.Dwyer 1986
Chemical analysis studies report constituents from genus Veronicastrum and VeronicaSwiatek 1968 and the presence of aucubin from Veronica species.Shimada 1971 Culver's root is known to contain volatile oil, cinnamic acid derivatives (such as 4-methoxy cinnamic acid, 3,4-dimethoxycinnamic acid and their esters), tannins, and bitter principle leptandrin.Hocking 1997 Asian studies involving Veronicastrum sibiricum list the constituents mannitol, resin, gum, phytosterols, glycoside, and saponins as also being present in the plants.Lee 1987, Lin 1995, Zhou 1992, Zhou 1992
Uses and Pharmacology
Black culver's root has been used for years as a liver tonic, for liver or gallbladder disorders, and to promote bile flow. Culver's root is also a stomach tonic, aiding in digestion. It is used both for diarrhea and chronic constipation, and hemorrhoids as well.Dwyer 1986, Hocking 1997
Anti-ulcer activity in rats given related species Veronica officinalis L. has been demonstrated.Scarlat 1985
Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of black culver's root for its listed uses.
There are no recent clinical studies of culver's root that provide a basis for dosage recommendations.
Pregnancy / Lactation
Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.
None well documented.
No health hazards have been associated with proper administration. Avoid using with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, internal hemorrhoids, menstruation, and pregnancy.Brinker 1998
Research reveals little or no information regarding toxicology with the use of this product.
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