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Christopher Hobbs Herb Walk

Poke root

Poke root is a lymphatic cleanser and is used for swollen glands, tonsillitis, mumps, and strep throat. It is applied as an oil (poke oil) to sore breasts or swollen lymph nodes. Poke root is traditionally used in Chinese medicine for water retention, sore throat, and abscesses. Poke oil and tincture are often-used remedies for various cancers, especially cancer of the breast, but it is best to work with a qualified herbalist or health-care practitioner when using poke for this purpose├Łor to be safe, for any purpose. The oil is made by grinding up fresh poke root (it can easily be cultivated in the garden, but wear gloves when handling the fresh root pulp) in olive oil and infusing for 2 weeks, then pressing and filtering. Bottle the oil for future use, and store in a cool place. The tincture and oil lose their potency after 6 months or a year.