Ethnobotany. Asclepias tuberosa has been used as medicine by the following First Peoples: Cherokee, Delaware, Iroquois, Menominee, Mohegan, Navajo, Omaha, Ponca, and Rappahannock.
Recent researches. Asclepias tuberosa
Materia Medica. According to Harvey Wickes Felter in “The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics” (1922) : «Asclepias is one of the most important medicines for broncho-pulmonic inflammations and catarrhs, and an agent for re-establishing suppressed secretion of the skin. It is the most perfect diaphoretic we possess, so completely does it counterfeit the normal process of insensible perspiration. When the secretion of sweat is in abeyance it restores it; when colliquative it restrains it through its effect of promoting normal functioning of the sudoriparous glands. It may be indicated even though the patient be freely perspiring, for sometimes when the liquid excretion is abundant there is a retention of the solid detritus, the removal of which is one of the effects of asclepias. By softening and moistening the skin, temperature is safely reduced. Asclepias never causes an outpouring of drops of sweat. If such occurs, it is due to bundling with bed-clothing, or the too copious administration of either hot or cold water with. it. Given in alcoholic preparations, in the usual small doses, it merely favors the reestablishment of natural secretion. While Asclepias is serviceable when the temperature is high, it does its best work when heat is but moderately exalted, and when the skin is slightly moist, or inclined to moisture, and the pulse is vibratile and not too rapid. In fact, in febrile and inflammatory disorders Asclepias is not a leading remedy, but is largely a necessary accessory. If the pulse be rapid and small, aconite should be given with it; if rapidly bounding, large and strong, veratrum. While useful in disorders of adults, especially old persons, asclepias will be most often indicated in diseases of infants and children. While it acts best when strictly indicated, it is almost never contraindicated in acute respiratory affections.
In acute chest diseases Asclepias is useful to control cough, pain, temperature, to favor expectoration, and restore checked perspiration. When cough is dry and there is scant bronchial secretion, Asclepias stimulates the latter and thus relieves the irritation upon which the cough depends. In chest disorders requiring Asclepias our experience verifies the classic indications for it.»