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Lomatium

Botanical name: Lomatium dissectum

Photo

© Martin Wall

Parts used and where grown

Lomatium is native to western North America. Lomatium is potentially threatened in some parts of its habitat, so it should not be picked from the wild without consulting local experts familiar with the plant. The root of lomatium is used medicinally.

Lomatium has been used in connection with the following conditions (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

Science Ratings Health Concerns
1Star

Infection

3Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
2Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
1Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support and/or minimal health benefit.

Historical or traditional use (may or may not be supported by scientific studies)

Native Americans of many tribes reportedly used lomatium root to treat a wide variety of infections, particularly those affecting the lungs.1 Lomatium was used, particularly in the southwestern United States, during the influenza pandemic of 1917 with reportedly good results.

Active constituents

According to obscure sources, lomatium is reputed to have antiviral effects. One source suggests the constituents tetronic acids and a glucoside of luteolin may be potentially antiviral.2 However, little is known about how these compounds act or if other ones might be as important.

How much is usually taken?

Lomatium extracts with the resins removed (often called lomatium isolates), 1–3 ml per day, have been recommended. Lomatium tincture, 1–3 ml three times per day, can also be used, but it may cause a rash in susceptible people. The tincture should not be used unless a very small amount of it is first tested for a reaction. However, even very small amounts can cause a reaction in sensitive people.

Are there any side effects or interactions?

Use of lomatium extracts or tinctures containing the resin (and possibly the coumarins) can, in some people, cause a whole-body rash.3 This herb may also lead to nausea in some people. The safety of lomatium during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown and is therefore not recommended.

At the time of writing, there were no well-known drug interactions with lomatium.

References:

1. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Red Crane Books, 1993, 61–71.

2. Vanwagenen BC, Cardellina JH. Native American food and medicinal plants. 7. Antimicrobial tetronic acids from Lomatium dissectum.  Tetrahedron 1986;42:1117.

3. Moore M. Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West. Santa Fe: Red Crane Books, 1993, 61–71.

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