Swamp Milkweed

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Swamp Milkweed

Botanical Name: Asclepias incarnata (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Asclepiadaceae

Synonyms: Flesh-coloured Asclepias. Swamp Silkweed. Rose-coloured Silkweed.
Part Used: Root.

Description: A herb growing in wet places, flowering in the United States in July and August. Stem erect, smooth, with two downy lines above, about 2 1/2 feet high, branched above, very leafy; leaves opposite, petiolate, oblong, lanceolate, hairy, acute, cordate at base, 4 to 7 inches long, 1 to 2 inches wide; flowers rose-purple, fragrant, disposed in terminal-crowded umbels two to six on a peduncle 2 inches long, consisting of ten to twenty small flowers; pods smooth; rhizome oblong, 1 inch in diameter, knotty, surrounded with rootlets, 4 to 6 inches long, yellow-brown externally, white internally; bark thin, wood with fine medullary rays.

The roots exudes a milky juice with a heavy odour, which is lost in drying.

Solvents: Alcohol, water.

Constituents: Asclepiadin (the emetic principle), an alkaloid, two acrid resins, volatile oil, fixed oil, albumen, starch, pectin and glucose.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Emetic, diuretic, anthelmintic, stomachic. Swamp Milkweed strengthens the heart in the same way as digitalis and is a quick and certain diuretic. It is given in dropsy as a diuretic in place of digitalis, also in coughs, colds, rheumatism from cold, threatened inflammation of the lungs. Also in diarrhoea, gastric catarrh, certain skin eruptions of an erysipelatous nature and in asthma and dyspnoea.It may also be used with advantage in the early stages of dysentery.

It acts as a vermifuge in doses of 10 to 20 grams.

Preparations and Dosages: Specific Swamp Milkweed, 1 to 20 minims. The infusion is made of 1/2 OZ. of the powdered root to a pint of boiling water. Dose of the powder, 15 to 60 grains.