Sewanee Herbarium » Project Center » Medicinal Plants » Shrub Yellowroot

Xanthorhiza simplicissima - Shrub Yellowroot
Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Description: Small shrub 1-3 ft. Thick, deep yellow root with yellowish bark. The erect, unbranched woody stem bears leaves and flowers only on the upper portion. Leaves usually divided into 5 leaflets, on long stalks, leaves cleft, toothed. Flowers small, brown-purple in drooping racemes. Flowers have 5 petals, 2-lobed with glandlike organs on a short claw.

Where Found: Moist woods, thickets, and stream banks. NY to FL, AL to KY.

Status: Native

Medicinal Part: Bark, Root

Preparation: Root tea, Chew root “sticks”

Uses: American Indians used tea for stomach disorders, colds, jaundice, cramps, sore mouth or throat, menstrual disorders, astringent, also used externally for cancer and to reduce fevers. A folk remedy in the South for diabetes and hypertension. Sticks of the root have been chewed to aid in quitting smoking.

Constituents and Effects: Berberine: anti-inflammitory, astringent, controls bleeding, antimicrobial, anticonvulsant, stimulates the immune system, uterotonic. May be useful for high blood pressure and in correcting high tyramine levels in patients with liver cirrhosis.