Shang Lu – Poke root – Phytolacca – “Commerce Continent”

Nature: bitter, cold, toxic

Enters: Lung, Kidney, Large Intestine, Bladder, Spleen

Actions: Eliminates harmful fluid by promoting bowel movement and urination; relieves swelling, reduces sores and carbuncles.

• Retention of harmful body fluid: edema, scanty urination, urinary difficulty, constipation.
• Heat and toxicity: carbuncles, sores. Also used topically.
• For skin lesions, it is ground up and applied as a paste with petroleum jelly, honey, or egg white.
• When used internally, it is generally stir-fried with vinegar, which reduces its toxicity.
• The root must be dried, aged more than 3 months, and cooked long to neutralize its toxic elements.
• The traditional antidote for poisoning from the herb (particularly from the berries) is fresh Gan cao and Lu dou (Mung bean).
JC: Powerful alterative, relaxant, cathartic, emetic, resolvent, deobstruent, detergent, anti-syphilitic, antiscorbutic, nutritive.
• Cancer, skin problems, hardened liver, scanty flow of bile, hard, swollen, or enlarged glands (especially the thyroid, spleen, lymph, breast), abnormal growths, bony enlargements from direct injury, rheumatism, dyspepsia, inflamed kidneys.
• Slow but persistently powerful action.
MW: For the stagnant person: lazy, flabby, tired, flops down after work, apathetic (especially teenagers), lack of personal delicacy, disregard of surrounding objects, indifferent to life, “For the person who eats, sleeps, and shits in the same place.” (A few drops of the tincture)
• Has definitely cured cancer. As a cancer preventative, boil it twice.
• For stagnant Qi, blood, and fluid.
NAH: Powerfully stimulates the lymphatic system: tonsilitis, swollen glands, mastitis (poultice).
IBIS: (fresh root, berries)
• Affinities: skin; glandular structures of the buccal cavity, throat, and sexual system; mammary glands; fibrous and serous tissues and mucous membranes of the digestive and urinary tracts; heart; spinal cord; bowels (Felter and Lloyd, p. 1473).
• Alterative, antirheumatic, anticatarrhal, cathartic, emetic, fungicide, narcotic, parasiticide.
• [Western] dosage: tincture of fresh root: 0.2 – 1 mL. tincture of berries: 0.2 – 1 mL. dry powder: 60 – 300 mg.
• Appearance: tongue hurts upon protrusion (Wood).
• Pulse: dull stroke with tremulous or vibratile wave (Scudder, 1903, p. 154).
• Specific indications: pallid mucous tissues with ulceration; sore mouth with small blisters on tongue and mucous membranes of cheeks; sore lips; hard, painful, enlarged glands; mastitis; orchitis; parotitis; aphthae; soreness of mammary glands, with impaired respiration; faucial, tonsillar, or pharyngeal ulceration; pallid, sore throat, with cough or respiratory difficulty (Felter and Lloyd, p. 1475).
• Internal: acute inflammations of the throat; adenitis; acute inflammations of the breast; children’s glandular and skin disorders; sciatic rheumatism; syphilitic disorders with ulceration; long-standing ulcers in psoriasis, dermal abscesses, fissures, boils, and carbuncles (Ellingwood, p. 375); chronic rheumatism; chronic respiratory catarrh; tonsillitis; laryngitis; mastitis (British Herbal Pharmacopoeia p. 157).
• External: as ointment in scabies, tinea, sycosis, acne; as poultice in abscess, mastitis (British Herbal Pharmacopoeia p. 157).
• Contraindicated in pregnancy.
• Laboratory test results: agglutination of red and white blood cells is promoted by pokeweed mitogen (Tedeschi, Eckart and Tedeschi, p. 1524); pokeweed mitogen has been found to stimulate both B and T lymphocytes (Kinghorn, p. 84-90; Von Oettingen, p. 500)

Dose: 3-9g

2 comments on “Shang Lu – Poke root – Phytolacca – “Commerce Continent”

  1. James says:

    I would love to know about the sources for the western herbal information about Shang Lu. Are JC, MW, NAH, IBIS abbreviations for books/authors? What do they stand for?

    • Peter Borten says:

      JC = John Christopher (The School of Natural Healing)
      MW = Matthew Wood (multiple books)
      NAH = The New Age Herbalist (Mabey)
      IBIS = Integrative BodyMind Information System

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