Papoose Root (Caulophyllum robustum)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Papoose Root
Caulophyllum robustum
Berberidaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    This herb is said to have similar medicinal properties to C. thalictroides[254]. These are:-

    Papoose root is a traditional herb of the North American Indians and was used extensively by them to facilitate child birth[207]. Modern herbalists still consider it to be a woman’s herb and it is commonly used to treat various gynaecological conditions[254]. An acrid, bitter, warming herb, it stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, expels intestinal worms and has diuretic effects[238].

    The root is anthelmintic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, oxytocic and sedative[4, 21, 46, 165, 207]. An infusion of the root in warm water is taken for about 2 weeks before the expected birth date in order to ease the birth[207, 213]. This infusion can also be used as an emmenagogue and a uterine stimulant[213]. Papoose root should therefore be used with some caution by women who are in an earlier stage of pregnancy since it can induce a miscarriage or early delivery[222]. The plant is also taken internally in the treatment of pelvic inflammatory disease, rheumatism and gout[238]. It should not be prescribed for people with hypertension and heart diseases[238]. Any use of this plant is best under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238].

    The roots are normally harvested in the autumn, because they are at their richest at this time[213], and are dried for later use.

    The root is harvested in early spring as new growth is beginning and is used to make a homeopathic remedy[232]. It is used especially in childbirth and in some forms of rheumatism[232].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – cooked[105, 177].

  • Cautionary Notes

    Some caution is advised, the following note relates to another member of this genus but could have relevance to this species. This plant should not be used during pregnancy prior to the commencement of labour[165].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a shady part of a cold frame[200]. If stored seed is used, it should be sown as soon as it is received. Germination can be erratic. Prick out the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a shady part of a greenhouse or cold frame for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions during autumn or early winter. Division in spring or just after flowering[200]. Plants are slow to increase[187].
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in most parts of this country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Easily grown in a damp light humus-rich woodland soil preferring a position in deep shade[1, 200]. One report says that it is best in a peat garden. The seeds rupture the ovary before they are fully ripe and continue to expand naked, they are bright blue when fully ripe[130].
E. Asia – Japan, Korea.

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.