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The entire plant is used as an alternative medicine with the roots being the strongest part. Crushed leaves have an apple scent and are dried then
burned to repel flies. Infuse dried root and flowers for a diuretic tea
to relieve kidney and urinary problems. Tea is used to induce sweating and break a high fever. Also useful for rheumatism, gravel (gallstones), and dropsy (fluid retention).
Diuretic 4 Anti-lithic 4Anti-rheumatic 4Tones the pelvic viscera in general 2Increases excretion of solids and prevents precipitation of urates 9Emmenagogue .
Gravelroot is used as a diuretic, especially in cases of kidney stones and gravel and for prostate inflammation. Because it tones the reproductive tract it is also used to treat menstrual cramps and pelvic inflammatory disease. It may also be used to reduce the strength of contractions during childbirth. (2,3) It can be used to relieve gout and rheumatic symptoms because it promotes the elimination of uric acid. (3) A related species found in Europe, E. cannabium, is being researched for its immune-stimulating properties and possible anti-tumor effects. (2)
For treating kidney disorders this herb is usually prepared as a decoction (simmered tea) or tincture. A decoction may be made by simmering 15g (1/2 oz.) root in 450ml (15 oz.) water for 20 to 30 minutes. (2) A simple tincture may be prepared by soaking the dried root in a 40 to 60% alcohol:water mixture for 3 to 4 weeks. For a 1:3 tincture, use 1oz. (30g) dried, finely cut root in 3 oz. (90ml) liquid. The dosage to take is up to 3ml tincture three times a day or 1 cup of tea 3 times a day. It is better to take the last dose at least 2 hours before bed, so as not to have to get up during the night to use the bathroom. If being used during labor, the tea should be sipped. This herb may also be combined with other "kidney friendly" herbs such as couchgrass (Agropyrun repens), pellitory-of-the-wall (Parietaria diffusa), or corn silk (Zea mais). (2)
Although gravelroot is usually associated with kidney stones, it has much more to offer. It is a good herb for many of the conditions of the lower body as well as having a general effect through its ability to promote uric acid excretion. It can be used as part of a total health program to keep the kidneys working at their optimal level. This should include plenty of clean water, herb tea, cranberry juice, cherry juice, and grapefruit juice, a low-fat diet, and limited amounts of foods high in oxalic acid, such as spinach, chard, strawberries, beet greens, wood sorrel, dock leaves, and rhubarb. (4) The kidneys play a major roll in overall health and it is extremely important to keep them well and functioning properly. Any imbalance should be addressed as quickly as possible.