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MoonDragon's Health & Wellness
Nutrition Basics

Birth Root, Trillium, Indian Balm, Ground Lily

(Trillium Pendulum, Trillium Erectum)

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  • Beth Root Herbal Description
  • Beth Root Uses, Health Benefits & Scientific Evidence
  • Beth Root Dosage Information
  • Beth Root Safety, Cautions & Interactions
  • Beth Root Supplements & Products

  • bethroot - trillium plant



    Beth Root (Trillium pendulum / Trillium erectum)) is also called Bethroot, Birth Root, Birthroot, Cough Root, Ground Lily, Indian Balm, Milk Ipecac, Indian Shamrock, Lamb's Quarteres, Wake-Robin, Snakebite, Red Trillium, Purple Trillium, Stinking Benjamin, Trillium Pendulum, Jewsharp, and Trillium. It is a member of the Lily family.

    Beth Root looks similar to the Ginseng root and has the faint fragrance of turpentine and a strange sweetish astringent taste when it is first chewed, but quickly becomes bitter and acid, causing salivation. Beth Root is a species of flowering plant native to the east and north-east of North America. It grows in rich woodlands located in the central and western United States. It is a Spring ephemeral, and herbaceous perennial whose life-cycle is synchronized with that of the deciduous forests where it lives. Beth root has been used in folklore traditions as a tonic for women and as a cough medicine. It is considered endangered and rare in some regions and may no longer be widely used.

    Beth Root is a low-growing perennial, smooth herb and like all trilliums, its parts are in groups of three, distinguished by the possession of three green, persistent sepals and three larger withering petals, of varying color. From April to June it produces a solitary, odiferous, yellow to reddish-brown flower and it produces only one fruit per plant. The leaves contain calcium oxalate crystals and should not be consumed by humans. The flowers are a deep red color, though there is a white form. The flowers have the smell of rotting meat, as they are pollinated by flies.

    bethroot flowers - red and white varieties

    Bethroot has an erect stem from 10 to 16 inches in height with a spread of 12 inches, bearing three leaves, broad, almost rhomboid, and drooping white (or red) flowers, terminal and solitary. It can tolerate extreme cold in winter, surviving temperatures down to -31°F. It grows in the rich soil of damp and shady woodlands, flowering in May and June. The rhizome is oblique, globular, oblong or obconical, truncate below, terminated by a small bud surrounded by a sheath of scarious leaf bases annulated by leaf scars and fissured by stem scars. It is 0.6 to 5 cm in length, and 0.6 to 3.5 cm in width, more or less compressed laterally, rootlet scars in several rows on the underside in the upper portions. Externally, it is yellowish to reddish brown. Internally, it is a pale yellow with a more or less spongy appearance. It has a distinct odor with a bitter acrid taste creating a sensation of warmth in the throat and causing an increase of saliva when chewed.

    The root's constituents are volatile and fixed oils, tannic acid, saponin, a glucoside resembling convallamarin, an acid crystalline principle colored brown and tinged with purple by sulphuric acid, and light green with sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate, gum, resin, and starch. Not all of the plant's constituents have yet been identified and is still a bit of mystery in modern science.

    bethroot roots



    Native American Indians used Beth Root as an aid to lessen pain, promote parturition, and ease difficulty during childbirth.

    Beth Root contains saponin diosgenin that has a close relationship to human sex hormones, cortisone, Vitamin D, and cardiac glycosides. These hormonal precursors may be utilized by the body if needed. It therefore has a great normalizing effect, which can be very useful during menopause treating irregular menstrual periods and pain.

    This herb also has antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, tonic, alterative, and pectoral properties. The saponin glycosides have been shown to have antifungal activity. Beth Root can be used as a douche for leucorrhea (excessive vaginal discharge).

    Beth Root is used to treat hemorrhages of all types such as bleeding from the nose, mouth, stomach, bowels and bladder. Beth Root has been used to stop postpartum bleeding and may play a role in topical control of bleeding. It's said that merely smelling the freshly-exposed surface of the Red Beth Roots will check bleeding from the nose. It has also been used to treat excessive menstruation and symptoms of menopause.

    Beth Root herb is useful in treating gastro-intestinal bleeding. The roots may be boiled in milk and may be helpful in relieving diarrhea, and dysentery.

    Beth Root can reduce coughs and alleviate bronchial symptoms, hemorrhage from the lungs, and pulmonary consumption. The acrid species are useful in fevers and chronic affections of the air passages.

    In a salve or poultice, Beth Root herb works well for treating and symptoms relief associated with insect bites, stings, snakebites, wounds, and skin irritation. Used as an external poultice, it has been used to restrain gangrene and used to treat mastitis, without actually having to stop the flow of milk. The leaves, boiled in lard, are sometimes applied to ulcers and tumors.

    The leaves have been used as a potherb or salad green.

    Other Species: Most of the genus Trillium have medicinal properties, especially T. erythrocarpum, T. grandiflorum, T. sessile, and T. nivale.


    Beth Root, ruled by Saturn, who is ever mindful of limits and borders, is ritually used in witchcraft to protect a person's borders for it blocks and turns back negative magick. It is also used to strengthen or protect ones family. The fresh root was also cooked and eaten as an aphrodisiac by Native people, so it clearly has a strong Venus aspect and is important in love magic. It has also been said that Beth Root should be carried for attracting good luck, wealth and prosperity.

    Its distinctive threefold nature and its medicinal uses as a plant for female issues indicate its sacred status as a herb of the triple goddess. Beth Root can be used to honor female creativity and the rites of passage that mark each of the three phases of the Goddess, but in particular it can be used to celebrate the mysteries of motherhood and childbirth.



    Beth Root comes in various forms and is an ingredient in many products.

    To take as a decoction, use 1 teaspoon of root with 1 cup of water (or milk). Drink hot or cold just before going to bed.
    In using a tincture, take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon at a time.
    As an infusion, use 1 teaspoon of powdered root to 1 cup of boiling water. Drink 2 to 3 cups a day, or more often in wineglass amounts as needed.
    Classical use of Beth Root calls for 2 to 4 grams of the root to be given as an infusion. For other formulations and products, read and follow product label directions.



    Beth Root is generally regarded as safe when taken in the recommended doses.

    Contraindications have not yet been determined. No interactions well documente4d.

    There have been documented adverse effects (emmenagogue and uterine stimulant) so it should used by pregnant women, except during labor only under the guidance of a knowledgeable practitioner or midwife.

    Although not yet clinically observed, Beth Root could have potential membrane-irritating effects and induce some cardiac activity. Although the leaves of the plant have been considered to be edible by some, there remains the possibility of toxicity from the plant.

    Safety in young children or those with severe liver or kidney disease is not known. Do not used continuously.


  • Bethroot Herbal Products



    Bethroot (Trillium pendulum L / Trillium erectum) is also known as Birthroot. Known by names such as Indian Shamrock, India Balm, Trillium Erectum, and Birth Root, Beth Root originates in middle and western portions of the United States, and has long seen use there by the Native American peoples of those regions. Native American Indians used Beth Root as an aid to lessen pain and difficulty during childbirth and perhaps to ease excess blood flow as many of the more modern traditions for the root seem to hold. Interestingly, and perhaps due to its link to fertility through its application during childbirth, Beth Root also found a great deal of use by some Native Americans as an aphrodisiac. Beth Root contains saponin diosgenin that has a close relationship to human sex hormones, cortisone, Vitamin D, and cardiac glycosides. This herb also has antiseptic, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant, tonic, alterative, and pectoral properties. Most widely, it is known as an astringent and antiseptic, and as you might guess is therefore most commonly used for those reasons. Beth Root is used to treat hemorrhages of all types such as bleeding from the nose, mouth, stomach, bowels and bladder. It has also been used to treat excessive menstruation and symptoms of menopause. Some also view Beth Root as a treatment for excessive blood loss during menopausal changes and menstrual cramping, as well as a treatment for blood loss in the urinary tract though it has been acknowledged that it does not actually cure the ailment that causes the blood loss in the first place. In other modern holistic uses it has also been used in treating coughs, bronchial problems, and pulmonary hemorrhage, though its effective application during such extreme cases such as pulmonary hemorrhage are widely debated by doctors. This herb is useful in treating gastro-intestinal bleeding, diarrhea, and dysentery. Beth Root can reduce coughs and alleviate bronchial symptoms, hemorrhage from the lungs, and pulmonary consumption. In a salve or poultice, this herb works well for treating insect bites, stings, snakebites, wounds, and skin irritation. In folklore, some traditions also name it as a powerful addition to spells in which you are seeking to turn back or keep away negative magic, particularly when establishing a stationary sanctuary or otherwise protecting a home. It is also well known as a powerful aid in empowering and protecting your family. From these roots it has come to be viewed in folk and holistic medicine, with a quite extensive list of properties.


    Richters Seeds: Bethroot (Trillium erectum) Plants


    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 2 fl. oz.: GL
    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 4 fl. oz: GL
    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 8 fl. oz: GL
    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 16 fl. oz: GL
    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 32 fl. oz: GL
    Kalyx: Beth Root (Trillium erectum) Extract, Golden Lotus Botanicals, 1 Gallon: GL



  • Nutrition Basics: Beth Root Herbal Information

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