Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca) is native to Canada and the United States. It is thick-stemmed and has elliptical leaves with pinkish-purple flowers. The genus name, Asclepias, comes from Asklepios, the Greek god of healing. Milkweed contains beta carotene, vitamin C, latex, alkaloids, asclepiadin, and volatile oils.
Milkweed has been used traditionally as a tea prepared from its root for as a diuretic for kidney stones, as a laxative, and as an expectorant. It has been used to treat asthma, broncitis, as well as to induce sweating. It is used by some as an emetic, or a remedy to soothe the nerves and stomach.
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