Veronica virginica L,Culvers' Root ,Bowmans' Root.
Link here for the names of numerous cultivars.

This Veronica may be a cultivar from the Speedwell family. It is closely related to a widflower from which it derives its name,Veronica virginica L.

The wild plant is called Culvers' Root and is a popular Indian remedy, Bowmans' Root.

Its' botanical name(Veronicastrum) is derived from St. Veronica and astrum (star), after the leaf arrangement.

This is a North American native from "Massachusets to Florida and Texas" (I have seen it wild in Ontario) and will flower on varying ground from dry to rich and wet, preferably moist meadows and riverbanks.

It will propagate from the division of rhizomes in late Autumn, after flowering, or in mid-Spring.


Gum; resin; a phytosterol, verosterol; volatile oil; citric acid; mannitol; a saponoside;  a volatile alkaloid;  a bitter principle, leptandrine: to which the action is largely due.


Purgative; emetic; cholagogue; tonic

"Small doses are valuable as a stomachic tonic, in diarrhoea, dyspepsia and atony of the gasto-intestinal system. Promotes the flow of bile from the gall bladder
Boiled in milk it acts as a laxative; larger doses are purgative or emetic."


In larger doses it acts as a drastic purgative and may cause vertigo and bleeding.

All info above is from a super book: The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism, edited by Malcolm Stuart, Orbis Publishing, London 1979

This book does not tell one what doses may be taken efficiently. If you are lost in the wild you may do what is wise and experiment with dew from the plants' leaves or flowers, to taste what the plant will do for you safely.

Other common plants useful for diarhorrea are Potentilla or Tormentilla,also Yarrow, but these will not bloom until a month after Veronica has started.

Being lost in the wild in the Spring means an almost certain discomfort from too many green leaves and improperly prepared fiddleheads and leeks, but I would not fool around with that plant unless no others were available.

Yarrow leaves and stems, easy to find, are a great tonic and safe to use.

Take a handful of the leaves and stems, flowers if available, and cover for five minutes with hot water.

Or just eat half that. When else would you need to scramble to find a wild plant for diahorrea?

That's why I just grow and enjoy looking at my Veronica. Happy gardening!

Main Entry: Cholagogue/ cho·la·gogue

Pronunciation: käl--gäg, kl-
        Function:         noun: an agent that promotes an increased flow of bile

Source: Medline Plus, Merriam Webster Med Dictionary Online


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