Health & Well-Being A-Z

Pleurisy root

Pleurisy root plant

Pleurisy is a plant that grows throughout most of the U.S. The root is used as medicine.

Pleurisy root is used for coughs, swelling of the lining of the lungs (pleuritis), swelling of the air sacs in the lungs (pneumonitis), swelling of the airways (bronchitis), influenza, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses. Using pleurisy root can also be unsafe.

Is It Effective?

Effectiveness header

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

Insufficient evidence
  • Cough.
  • Lung inflammation.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Influenza (flu).
  • Disorders of the uterus.
  • Pain.
  • Spasms.
  • Promoting sweating.
  • Other conditions.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of pleurisy root for these uses.

Is it Safe?


There isn't enough information to know how pleurisy root might work.


When taken by mouth: Pleurisy root is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It contains a chemical that is similar to the prescription drug digoxin (Lanoxin). It might cause serious heart problems. Pleurisy root can also cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and skin rash.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy: It's UNSAFE to use pleurisy root if you are pregnant. Pleurisy root can stimulate the uterus and it can also act like the hormone estrogen. These effects can endanger the pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use pleurisy root if you are breast-feeding. Avoid use.

Heart problems: Pleurisy root might interfere with medicines used to treat heart problems. Don't use pleurisy root if you have a heart condition.

Drug interactions

Digoxin (Lanoxin)

Interaction Rating=Major Do not take this combination.

Digoxin (Lanoxin) helps the heart beat more strongly. Pleurisy root also seems to affect the heart. Taking pleurisy root along with digoxin can increase the effects of digoxin and increase the risk of side effects. Do not take pleurisy root if you are taking digoxin (Lanoxin) without talking to your healthcare professional.


Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Large amounts of pleurisy root might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But pleurisy root isn't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking pleurisy root along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Water pills (Diuretic drugs)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Pleurisy root might affect the heart. "Water pills" can decrease potassium in the body. Low potassium levels can also affect the heart and increase the risk of side effects from pleurisy root.

Some "water pills" that can deplete potassium include chlorothiazide (Diuril), chlorthalidone (Thalitone), furosemide (Lasix), hydrochlorothiazide (HCTZ, Hydrodiuril, Microzide), and others.

Herb interactions

Herbs that contain cardiac glycosides: Pleurisy root contains chemicals called cardiac glycosides, which are similar to the prescription drug digoxin. Cardiac glycosides can cause the body to lose too much potassium, and this can harm the heart. Using pleurisy root with other herbs that also contain cardiac glycosides might increase the risk of heart damage. Avoid using these combinations. Other herbs that contain cardiac glycosides include black hellebore, Canadian hemp roots, digitalis leaf, hedge mustard, figwort, lily-of-the-valley roots, motherwort, oleander leaf, pheasant's eye plant, squill bulb leaf scales, star of Bethlehem, strophanthus seeds, and uzara.

Food interactions

There are no known interactions with foods.


The appropriate dose of pleurisy root depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for pleurisy root. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

Asclépiade, Asclépiade Pleurétique, Asclépiade Tubéreuse, Asclepias tuberosa, Butterfly Weed, Canada Root, Flux Root, Orange Milkweed, Orange Swallow Wort, Pleurisy, Racine du Canada, Racine Colique, Racine de Flux, Racine de Tubercule, Swallow Wort, Tuber Root, Vencetósigo, White Root, Wind Root.


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