American Spikenard
Aralia racemosa L. (Araliaceae)

Common Names
American spikenard, American sarsaparilla, Indian root, life-of-man, old manís root, petty morel, pigeon weed, spignet, spikenard.

Description
A perennial 1 to 9 feet in height, with a single leaf stalk. Leaf is divided into 3 parts, each with five leaflets. Flowering stalk is elongated, with small greenish-yellow flowers in clusters. Produces a blackish or purplish berry. Root is larger than the root on nudicaulis.

Flowering Period
June to August.

Habitat
Bluffs, deep woods, and riverbanks.

Harvest
Roots in summer and fall.

Uses
Roots and rhizomes have been used to treat rheumatism, syphilis, coughs, and shortness of breath. In Appalachia, a tea made of roots is used for backache.

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