Breadroot (Psoralea esculenta)

Perennial
Pediomelum esculentum. (Pursh.)Rydb.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Breadroot
Psoralea esculenta
Leguminosae

The plant is a good soil stabilizer in its natural environment[200].

  • Medicinal Use

    An infusion of the dried roots has been used in the treatment of gastro-enteritis, sore throats and chest problems[257]. The roots have been chewed by children as a treatment for bowel complaints[257]. A poultice of the chewed roots has been applied to sprains and fractures[257].

  • Edible Use

    Root – raw or cooked[2, 4, 46, 57, 161]. It can also be dried for later use[183]. The dried root can be ground into a powder and used with cereals in making cakes, porridges etc[183]. Starchy and glutinous, the raw root is said to have a sweetish turnip-like taste[183]. The plant is best harvested as the tops die down at the end of the growing season[85]. This food is a staple and also considered to be a luxury item by many native North American Indian tribes[2, 61]. The root contains about 70% starch, 9% protein and 5% sugars[95].

  • Cautionary Notes

    This species contains furanocoumarins, these substances can cause photosensitivity in some people[65].

Cultivation & Habitat

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in early to mid spring in a greenhouse. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the young seedlings as soon as possible in order to avoid root disturbance. Grow them on in the pots until planting out in their final positions. It is usually impossible to transplant this species without fatal damage to the root[200]. Division in spring. With great care since the plant resents root disturbance. It is virtually impossible to divide this species successfully[200].
Succeeds in an ordinary garden soil[1]. Requires a well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Plants are very intolerant of root disturbance, they are best planted out into their permanent positions whilst still small[200]. This plant has been recommended for improvement through breeding and selection for its edible root[183]. It was sent to Europe around the year 1800 as a potential food crop but was not well received[213]. This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[200].
N. America – Manitoba to North Dakota and Wisconsin, south to Missouri and Texas.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.