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Culver's Root

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

Clinical Overview

Use

Black culver's root has been used as a liver tonic, for liver or gallbladder disorders, and to promote bile flow. It has also been used for various GI problems; however, no studies are available to confirm these uses.

Dosing

There are no recent clinical studies of culver's root that provide a basis for dosage recommendations. Classical dosage was 1 g of the rhizome.

Contraindications

Avoid using with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, internal hemorrhoids, menstruation, and pregnancy.

Pregnancy/Lactation

Information regarding safety and efficacy in pregnancy and lactation is lacking.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

No health hazards have been associated with proper administration. Avoid using with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, internal hemorrhoids, menstruation, and pregnancy.

Toxicology

No data.

Botany

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.).

History

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

Chemistry

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

Animal data

Anti-ulcer activity in rats given related species Veronica officinalis L. has been demonstrated.Scarlat 1985

Clinical data

Research reveals no clinical data regarding the use of black culver's root for its listed uses.

Dosing

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.

Interactions

None well documented.

Adverse Reactions

No health hazards have been associated with proper administration. Avoid using with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, internal hemorrhoids, menstruation, and pregnancy.Brinker 1998

Toxicology

Research reveals little or no information regarding toxicology with the use of this product.

References

Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Medical Publications, 1998.
Dwyer J, Rattray D, eds. Magic and Medicine of Plants. Pleasantville, NY: The Reader's Digest Assoc., Inc. 1986;156.
Hocking G. A Dictionary of Natural Products. Medford, NJ: Plexus Publishing, Inc. 1997;438, 846.Lee S, et al. Chemical components of the root of Veronicastrum sibiricum Pennell. Saengyak Hakhoechi. 1987;18(3):168-176.
Lin W, et al. Structures of new cinnamoyl glucoside from the roots of Veronicastrum sibiricum. Yaoxue Xuebao. 1995;30(10):752-756.
Scarlat M, Sandor V, Tămaş M, Cuparencu B. Experimental anti-ulcer activity of Veronica officinalis L. extracts. J Ethnopharmacol. 1985;13(2):157-163.4021513
Shimada H, Nomura S, Hisada Y, Nishihara J. Studies on the constituent of plants of genus Pedicularis, Veronicastrum, and Veronica (Scrophulariaceae) [in Japanese]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1971;91(1):137-138.5101906
Swiatek L. Aucubin content in medicinal plants from Veronica species [in Polish]. Acta Pol Pharm. 1968;25(6):597-600.5730631
Zhou B, Meng X. Chemical constituents of Veronicastrum sibiricum (L.) Pennell. Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi. 1992;17(1):35-36, 64.1524664
Zhou B, Meng X. Determination of the active constituent in Veronicastrum sibiricum (L.) Pennell [in Chinese]. Zhongguo Zhongyao Zazhi. 1992;17(2):102-103, 127.1418522

Disclaimer

This information relates to an herbal, vitamin, mineral or other dietary supplement. This product has not been reviewed by the FDA to determine whether it is safe or effective and is not subject to the quality standards and safety information collection standards that are applicable to most prescription drugs. This information should not be used to decide whether or not to take this product. This information does not endorse this product as safe, effective, or approved for treating any patient or health condition. This is only a brief summary of general information about this product. It does NOT include all information about the possible uses, directions, warnings, precautions, interactions, adverse effects, or risks that may apply to this product. This information is not specific medical advice and does not replace information you receive from your health care provider. You should talk with your health care provider for complete information about the risks and benefits of using this product.

This product may adversely interact with certain health and medical conditions, other prescription and over-the-counter drugs, foods, or other dietary supplements. This product may be unsafe when used before surgery or other medical procedures. It is important to fully inform your doctor about the herbal, vitamins, mineral or any other supplements you are taking before any kind of surgery or medical procedure. With the exception of certain products that are generally recognized as safe in normal quantities, including use of folic acid and prenatal vitamins during pregnancy, this product has not been sufficiently studied to determine whether it is safe to use during pregnancy or nursing or by persons younger than 2 years of age.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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