Crawley Root

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Crawley Root

Botanical Name: Corallorhiza odontorhiza (NUTT.)
Family: N.O. Orchidaceae

Synonyms: Dragon's Claw. Coral Root. Chicken Toe.
Part Used: The root.
Habitat: Indigenous to the United States, from Maine to Carolina westward.

Description: This parasitic plant has been used by herbalists for centuries. It grows in rich woods at the roots of trees.

It is singular and leafless, with muchbranched and toothed coral-like root-stocks, the root being a collection of fleshy, articulated tubers, the scape about 14 inches high, fleshy, smooth, striate, with a few long purplish-brown long sheaths, the flowers, 10 to 20, greenish brown in colour, on a long spike, blooming from July to October, with a large, reflexed, ribbed, oblong capsule.

The root is the official part; it is small and dark, with a strong nitrous smell and a slightly bitter mucilaginous astringent taste, the fracture is short and presents under the microscope a frosted granular appearance.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Crawley Root is one of the most certain, quick and powerful diaphoretics, but its scarcity and high price prevents it being more generally used. It promotes perspiration without producing any excitement in the system, so is of value in pleurisy, typhus fever and other inflammatory diseases. In addition to being a powerful diaphoretic, its action has a sedative effect. It has been found efficacious inacute erysipelas, cramps, nightsweats, flatulence and hectic fevers generally, and combines tonic, sedative, diaphoretic and febrifuge properties without weakening the patient, its valuable properties being most marked in low stages of fever.

Dosage: 20 to 30 grains of powdered root given in very hot water every two or three hours. The powder should be kept in wellstoppered bottles as it is subject to deterioration from insects.

Combined with the resin of Blue Cohosh, it is an excellent remedy for amenorrhoea, dismenorrhoea, afterbirth pains, suppression of lochia and for febrile conditions of the parturient period, and combined with extract of Leptandra or Podophyllum resin, it acts well on the bowels and liver, and if mixed with Dioscorea is excellent for bilious and flatulent colic.

Fluid extract, 15 to 30 drops.

Other Species:
It is considered that the varieties Corallorhiza multiflora, C. Wisteriana, C. verna and C. innata possess similar properties.