Saturday, May 10, 2014


TRILLIUM-Trillium Erectum, Trillium Pendulum, Trilliam Grandiflorum, Trillium Sessile, Trillium Catesbaei, Trillium Nivale, etc.

Also known as:  beth root, birthroot, wake-robin, indian balm, ground lily, white trillium, toadshade, etc.

Parts Used:  root, leaves

Meridians/Organs affected:  spleen, heart, lungs, female reproductive

Properties:  astringent, expectorant, alterative, antiseptic, antispasmodic, emmenogogue, parturient, diuretic, ophthalmic, anodyne, emetic, stimulant, tonic

Trillium is a part of the Liliaceae family.  It has leaves and flower petals that come in threes.  It is commonly found in rich, rocky, damp soils and shady woods.  Flowering from April to June depending on its location, this plant has a very lengthy lifespan.  It takes 17 years to come to full maturity and can live to well over 70 years.  In many parts of the usa it is considered an endangered species due to irresponsible wild crafting.  It takes up to seven years for one plant to regrow after it has been plucked from the earth so it should be respected and used wisely.

The trillium flower contains three white petals that eventually turn pink/purple at full maturity.  The flower produces a pale green berry.  Trillium is native to the usa and is dispersed throughout the usa mostly by ants and white-tailed deer.  It is said that wherever trillium grows is a perfect place for ginseng as well.

Trillium is a plant with mixed history.  The Native Americans considered it to be a sacred plant and used it for female issues, hemorrhaging following childbirth, and heavy menses.  It also was often used to facilitate childbirth.  The root of the plant is what is used most for medicinal purposes although the leaves are used at times as well.  A decoction of the root bark has been used for earaches and an infusion of the root has been used to promote menstruation and help with cramping.  The raw root also was grated and applied to aching joints or to the eyes to reduce swelling.  The roots were often boiled in milk and drunk for dysentery and diarrhea.  Trillium is considered a tonic for menopausal women and for the female system, in general.  The root was used in early America as a cough syrup and to keep gangrene from forming or spreading.  It also was used as a poultice for skin diseases.  The leaves were boiled in lard and applied topically to tumors, anthrax and ulcers.  The young leaves also were considered edible and were used in place of spinach or in salads.

Trillium contains a saponin called diosgenin that has a close relationship to human sex hormones, cardiac glycosides, vitamin D, and cortisone (probably one of the reasons it works so well for inflammatory conditions).  An infusion of equal parts of lycopus virginicus(also known as American Water Hoarhound or sweet bugleweed) and trillium was said to cure diabetes although no clinical studies have been done to substantiate these claims.  Trillium is used also to help with chronic mucus discharges, leucorrhea, bronchial issues and nosebleeds.  Trillium us most commonly used, though, as a tincture, tea or syrup.  Pregnant women are advised against taking trillium as it can promote menstruation.

As is customary with my posts I am including some links here for your perusal and use.  Enjoy!

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