Health Benefits of Lion’s Foot Plant

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Lion's Foot Plant Quick Facts
Name: Lion's Foot Plant
Scientific Name: Nabalus serpentaria
This member of the Chicory family is an indigenous perennial herb, has a smooth stem and grows 2–4 ft. high. The stem is stout and purplish, with radical leaves, lanceolate, and all irregularly dentate. This plant grows plentifully in moist weeds and in rich soils, from New England to Iowa, and from Canada to Carolina. It is the member of Asteraceae and tribe lactuceae. Recently this species was considered to be in the genus Prenanthes included European, African, Asian and North American species.

Leaves are alternate and variable in shape i.e. deeply and irregularly lobed. Flowering stems are 1 to 2 meters tall and leaves are pinnately lobed. Paniculate inflorescence comprises of drooping capitula composed of ligulate flowers. Capitulae have 8 to 14 flowers with yellow to cream colored corollas. Flowers are 8 to 14 mm long having lower hald fused into a tube. Each flower produces single achene topped by pappus which supports in wind dispersal. An involucre comprises of two whorls of green bracts. Inner whorl has eight lance shaped bracts about 8 to 14.5 mm long. An outer whorl has five to nine much shorter bracts. Its habitat is sandplain grasslands and also occurs in rocky slopes along road sides and in other disturbed habitats. Usually coarse stems have purple coloration exuding a milky sap when damaged.


The milky juice of the plant is taken internally, and the root, cut in small pieces or grated, is useful and acts most favourably in cases of dysentery or diarrhoea.

Facts About Lion’s Foot Plant

Name Lion’s Foot Plant
Scientific Name Nabalus serpentaria
Common/English Name Prenanthes Serpens, Rattlesnake-Root, White Lettuce, Cancer Weed, Canker root, Rattlesnake root, White cankerweed
Plant Growth Habit Perennial  plant
Root Branching, tuberous
Stem 1 to 2 meters tall, green or often purplish
Leaf Smooth, thick, deep green
Medicinal parts The whole plant
Flower White or yellowish, 11-14 mm long


1 teaspoonful of the granulated root steeped in 1 cup boiling water. Drink cold 1 cupful during the day, a large mouthful at a time. Of the tincture, 10–20 min.


In case of snake bites, steep the leaves in boiling water and apply as a poultice.

Homoeopathic Clinical

Tincture of whole fresh plant—Constipation, Ophthalmia.

Medicinal uses

  • Root decoction is used for treating canker sores, dysentery and diarrhea.
  • Drink milky juice to cure snake bite.
  • Poultice made from leaves are used as first aid for snake, insect and dog bites.
  • Native Americans put powdered root in food for stimulating milk flow after childbirth.
  • Apply the leaves steeped in water to wound and change it frequently.
  • Root decoction is used for treating rattlesnake bite and dysentery.






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