Ceanothus americanus, sometimes referred to as Red Root, New Jersey Tea, Mountain Lilac, or Buckbrush, is an herbaceous shrub in the Buckthorn family, Rhamnaceae, and grows mostly in the north eastern part of the United States. It gets the nickname of “Red Root” because of its large, contorted, reddish-brown root covered by a thin bark. These roots can sometimes form massive, tough, plow-breaking underground systems. The plant reaches about 3 feet in height, has clusters of tiny white or pale pinkish flowers that grow at the tips of its branches, and sometimes have a wintergreen scent. Ceanothus is deciduous and has nitrogen-fixing fungi on its roots.
Ceanothus americanus is native to North America, and both the leaves and roots were widely used by Native Americans to make decoctions and teas. The Cherokee and Chippewa used the root as a digestive aid, to address constipation and bloating.* The Iroquois brewed the leaves for diarrhea.* It was also used for lung and immune system support.* Many tribes also found the astringent properties of Ceanothus beneficial as a mouthwash, gargle, and expectorant.* The dried leaves make a caffeine-free substitute for black tea, and was also commonly used by American soldiers during the Revolutionary War.
Other characteristics attributed to Ceanothus include its use as a smooth muscle relaxant, inflammation modulator, bacterial defense agent, and overall health tonic.* The dried root bark is described as encouraging interstitial fluid circulation, and in this way acts as an effective stimulant to the liver, spleen, gallbladder, and lymph system.* Tannins present in the plant give it astringent properties that can bind blood proteins and decrease blood loss.* In addition, a unique property was reported in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 1957. Ceanothyn, a derivative of Ceanothus americanus, was described as being a tonic which has the capability to restore and maintain optimal physiological functioning of organ systems.*
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
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