White Snakeroot, Ageratina altissima or Eupatorium rugosum, is a poisonous plant responsible for causing the death of thousands of people in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana and Illinois. The illness was called milk sickness brought on by cattle eating the white snakeroot plant. An un-named Shawnee woman is responsible for explaining the plants properties to Anna Pierce Hobbs Bixby who is credited for identifying the cause of this illness. Medicinally, the plant has been used as a stimulant, tonic, diuretic and febrifuge amongst other things including witchcraft leading to a males member “rotting from the inside,” ouch!
White Snakeroot Sources:
Audubon Guides Box Set – Birds, Tree, Wildflowers & Mammals. Computer Software. Green Mountain Digital. Version: 2.3. Web. Jul 10, 2014.
Foster, Steven and James A. Duke. The Peterson Field Guide Series; A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America. 2nd. ed. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Print. pg. 89-90
Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey. Cherokee Plants and Their Uses- A 400 Year History. North Carolina: Herald Publishing. 1975. Print. pg. 56
Herrick, James William. Iroquois Medical Botany. Ph.D. Thesis, New York: State University of New York, Albany 1977. Print. pg. 232-233
Moerman Daniel E., Native American Ethnobotany, Portland: Timber Press. 1998. Print. pg. 54
Newcomb, Lawrence. Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1977. Print. pg. 436-437
United States Department of Agriculture. Natural Resources Conservation Services. Web.