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Collinsonia canadensis is a perennial herb in the Lamiaceae, or mint, family. It is native to North America. The herb has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years. The roots are used to treat a variety of conditions, including gastrointestinal and circulatory problems. More research is needed to determine if it is an effective remedy. This herb may interact with some medications and may cause side effects if taken at a high dose.
This plant is also known as stone root, richweed, heal-all, horseweed, ox-balm, Canada horsebalm, and hardhack. It grows wild east of the Mississippi River in North America. Collinsonia canadensis prefers rich soil with a pH content between 6.8 and 7.2, which is slightly acidic to slightly alkaline. The plant does best in partial shade.
The knotted, tough roots of the plant are used medicinally. They are difficult to grind and the extraction process is time consuming. Despite the difficulty in accessing the healing parts of the plant, Native Americans took Collinsonia canadensis as a general tonic and as a treatment for bladder and kidney stones.
Some herbalists and homeopathic doctors report that this remedy cures gastrointestinal issues. Heartburn and gastritis, in particular, may respond to treatment because the herb stimulates the stomach. Many practitioners feel that it is the best remedy for end-of-pregnancy constipation and hemorrhoids caused by a sluggish, congested lower bowel.
In addition, Collinsonia canadensis acts as a tonic for the entire circulatory system. According to herbalists, this plant does not immediately force the heart into pumping harder or faster, but instead works over time to strengthen the entire system. This may be especially true in cases where the heart has been damaged by rheumatic inflammation, some natural healthcare providers maintain.
There appears to be little in the way of scientific research to support these claims. More research needs to be done to determine whether Collinsonia canadensis is actually effective. Some scientists are studying the plant to find out if it might be a good cancer treatment.
Collinsonia canadensis is available in pill, tincture, powder, or in homeopathic pellets. The commonly prescribed herbal dose for adults is approximately two or three capsules twice per day. The package literature generally recommends beginning with one capsule to prevent any possible side effects.
Side effects may occur if Collinsonia canadensis is taken in large doses. These side effects may include diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, painful urination, or stomach pain. Individuals on lithium should not take this herb. Doing so could cause a build-up of lithium in the body. Those taking prescription diuretics should also use caution with this herb. It may compound the effect of the diuretic, causing the body lose too much potassium.
Pregnant or nursing women should also avoid taking this herb. Not enough is known about its potential effect on the fetus. Speaking with a healthcare provider before taking Collinsonia canadensis is highly advised.