Stone Root

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Collinsonia canadensis-Stone Root

Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae

Other names:  Horse Balm, Collinsonia cuneata, Collinsonia decussata, Collinsonia ovalis, Pleuradenia praecox, Collinsonia

Habitat: Eastern N. America – Ontario and Vermont to Florida, west to Wisconsin. Rich damp woods.

hazardsmallMinute doses of the fresh leaves of Stone Root can cause vomiting, though the root is well-tolerated by the body. Possible blood pressure elevation.

The whole plant, but especially the fresh root of Stone Root, is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, sedative, tonic, vasodilator and vulnerary, having being used as  a medicinal herb for many years A tea made from the roots is strongly diuretic, it is valuable in the treatment of all complaints of the urinary system and the rectum and is used in the treatment of piles, indigestion, diarrhoea, kidney complaints etc. It has proved of benefit in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome, mucous colitis and varicose veins. The roots contain more than 13,000 parts per million of rosmarinic acid, the same anti-oxidant that is found in rosemary. The fresh leaves are strongly emetic. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity. A poultice of the leaves or roots is applied to burns, bruises, sores, sprains etc.

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Description of Stone Root:

Collinsonia canadensis, Stone Root is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.8 m (2ft 7in) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in). 
It is hardy to zone 4. It is in flower in August. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.

Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers moist or wet soil.

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Cultivation of Stone Root:

Prefers a sandy peat in a moist situation but it is easily grown in ordinary garden soils so long as they are not dry. Prefers dappled shade. The whole plant has a strong disagreeable odour and a pungent spicy taste. Another report says that the foliage is strongly aromatic, with a lemon scent.

Propagation of Stone Root:

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. The seed can also be sown in the spring, though it might be slower to germinate. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame. Plant them out in spring or early summer of their second year. Division in spring.

Collection: Roots and rhizome are unearthed in the autumn.

Culinary uses of Stone Root:

None known but if you use this herb as a pot herb please let us know!

Medicinal uses of Stone Root:

Actions: Anti-lithic, diuretic, diaphoretic.

Part Used: Root and rhizome.

Indications: As its name suggests, Stone Root finds its main use in the treatment and prevention of stone and gravel in the urinary system and the gall-bladder. It can be used as a prophylactic but is also excellent when the body is in need of help in passing stones of gravel. It is also a strong diuretic.

Ellingwood gives the following symptomatology: “In piles with a sense of fullness, or of a foreign body in the rectum, in all relaxed conditions of the mucous membranes of the lower bowel, Collinsonia; Stone Root, is the remedy. It works more promptly if there is a passive congestion with blueness or dark coloration of the membranes, showing imperfect venous capillary circulation. Collinsonia; Stone Root, is given where there is a sensation of constriction, heat and weight in the rectum; where there is deficient secretion from imperfect capillary circulation in the mucous membranes, the patient passing the feces in the form of dry scybala.”

In his extensive monograph, Ellingwood gives the following indications: “Hemorrhoids, catarrhal gastritis, pain in the rectum, heart tonic, rheumatic inflammation, laryngitis, pharyngitis,clergyman’s sore throat, dysentery, ulcers, fistula,inflammation of the middle ear, acute cystitisvaginismus.

Preparations & Dosage of Stone Root:

Decoction: put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried root in a cup of water, bring to boiling and simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Combinations: For urinary stone and gravel, it may be combined with Parsley Pier, Gravel Root, Pellitory of the Wall or Hydrangea it is for these purposes that Stone Root is principly used for today. The root is seldom used on its own but is contained in remedies with other herbs, especially Aphanes arvensis, Eupatorium purpureum and Hydrangea arborescens.

Other uses of Stone Root:

None known

Esoteric uses of Stone Root:

None known but if you use this plant for any purpose please let us know!

The Chemistry:


  • Essential oil
  • Tannins
  • Saponins
  • Alkaloid
  • Resins
  • Organic acid
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