Canada Moonseed (Menispermum canadense)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Canada Moonseed
Menispermum canadense

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Canada moonseed has occasionally been used in the past for its medicinal virtues, though it is little, if at all, used in modern herbalism.

    The roots are a bitter tonic, diuretic, laxative, nervine, purgative (in large doses), stomachic and tonic[4, 21, 46, 218]. A tea made from the root has been used in the treatment of indigestion, arthritis, bowel disorders and as a blood cleanser[222]. The root is applied externally as a salve on chronic sores[222]. Use with caution[21], see notes above on toxicity.

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    All parts of the plant are poisonous[21, 95, 159, 222]. The fruit has been known to cause death in children[207].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow late winter in a greenhouse[78, 113]. Two months cold stratification speeds up germination[113] so it might be better to sow the seed as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[K]. Germination is usually good[78]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of mature wood, autumn in a frame[200]. Division of suckers in early spring[78, 113]. The suckers can be planted out direct into their permanent positions, though we prefer to pot them up and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are established[K].
Succeeds in any moderately fertile soil that does not dry out excessively in summer, in sun or partial shade[200]. Prefers a position in full sun[219]. This species is hardy to about -30¡c, but, due to a lack of summer heat, the plants usually produce soft growth in mild maritime areas and this can be cut to the ground at temperatures around -5 to -10¡c[200]. The plants do not require pruning, but can benefit from being cut back to ground level every 2 – 3 years in order to keep them tidy[219]. A vigorous and fast-growing climbing plant that twines around supports, it also spreads freely by underground suckers[11, 182, 219]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Eastern N. America – Quebec and New England to Georgia, west to Arkansas and Oklahoma.

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.