Queen’s Delight is not one of the usual medicinal herbs. But it is one that has good uses. Stillingia sylvatica of the family Euphorbiaceae is a native plant with a history of medicinal applications.
It goes by names such as queen’s root, silverleaf, yawroot, Albero Del Sego, Queen’s Root, Sevo Vegetal, Stillingia, Queen’s Root Stillingia, Stillingie
Description: A perennial herb growing to 4 feet tall. Leathery, elliptical alternative leaves, about 1-3 inches long, are finely toothed and nearly stalkless. The yellow flowers (March-August or all year in warm climates) are petalless and occur in dense terminal spikes, with the male blossoms along the upper part of the spike and the female blossoms along the flower part. The flowers are hermaphrodite.
Cultivation: Native to the southeastern US. Prefers dry, sandy, acid or alkaline soil in sun or partial shade. Propagate by seed sown in autumn or spring or by division in spring or by semiripe cuttings in spring at 59-64F. Cuttings may be dipped in powdered charcoal to control the flow of latex. The root is unearthed in autumn after flowering has finished. They should be dried/processed as soon as possible after harvesting because their properties deteriorate rapidly. Dried roots should be discarded after 2 years.
History: Queen’s delight was used by Native Americans as a purgative, a treatment for skin eruptions, and a remedy for venereal disease. Greek women who had just given birth took a decoction of the root or were bathed with an infusion. The boiled mashed roots were eaten by native North American women after childbirth and used by settlers as an external treatment for menstrual irregularity. Queen’s delight was included in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States from 1831 to 1926.
Constituents: alkaloids, diterpene esters, fixed oil, volatile oil, resin and tannins. Fresh root is considered most active
Properties: alterative, expectorant, diaphoretic, sialagogue, astringent, anti-spasmodic
Energetics: acrid, bitter, cool
Meridians/Organs affected: lungs, kidney, liver
Medicinal Uses: Queen’s delight appears to promote general detoxification. It is taken internally to help clear constipation, boils, weeping eczema, and scrofula. The fresh root is also taken for the treatment of bronchitis, laryngitis, and throat infection especially where it is accompanied by loss of voice. Externally, it is applied in the form of a lotion to hemorrhoids and to itchy skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Queen’s delight is most useful where there is lymphatic involvement. This herb must be used fresh and can be extracted in alcohol to make a tincture, using two ounces of the bruised root to a pint of diluted alcohol.
Dosage: Put ½-1 tsp of the dried root in a cup of water. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk 3 times a day. Or take 1-2ml of the tincture 3 times a day.
Combinations: For treatment of skin problems combine with burdock, yellow dock, cleavers or blue flag.
Toxicity: Use only under professional supervision. It is emetic and purgative in large doses. It should not be used during pregnancy.
The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal, David Hoffmann, Element Books, 1996; ISBN: 1-85230-758-7
The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses, Deni Bown, Dorling Kindersley, 1996; ISBN: 0-7894-0184-3
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants, Andrew Chevallier, Dorling Kindersley, 1997; ISBN: 0-7894-1067-2
Magic and Medicine of Plants, Readers’ Digest, 1986; ISBN: 0-89577-221-3
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