|Queen’s Delight Quick Facts
|Three-chambered seedpod or capsules
|Bitter and unpleasant
Queen’s delight is a perennial herb that grows about four feet tall. The plant is found growing in dry forests and sand hills on the coastal plains of the eastern U.S. In Texas, this species grows in sandy prairies and open woods and in Colorado it occurs on sand dunes. The plant has a preference for sandy, medium and clay soils. It also grows in basic, neutral and acidic soils. It needs a damp soil to thrive. Roots are large and woody about 30 cm. (12 inches) long and nearly 5 cm. (2 inches) thick, sub cylindrical, slightly branched, compact, wrinkled, tough, grayish-brown, breaking with a fibrous fracture, showing a thick bark and porous wood, the inner bark and medullary rays having numerous yellowish-brown resin-cells. Root has peculiar, oleaginous odor and bitter and unpleasant taste, followed by a persistent pungent acridity in mouth and throat. Bark is wrinkled longitudinally, greyish brown externally, and reddish-brown or rose-colored internally. The plant has angled glabrous stem with a milky sap. A milky juice exudes from the plant or root when cut or broken.
The plant bears egg-shaped, rubbery leaves that grow alternately and measure about one to three inches in length. The leaves of queen’s delight are jagged at the periphery and are almost without stalks.
Flower & Fruit
The herb bears yellow blooms during the period between April and July or throughout the year in places having warm climatic conditions. The flowers do not have any petals and emerge in thick terminal spikes. Interestingly, the male queen’s delight blooms on the upper portion of the spikes, while the female flowers appear along the lower part of the spikes. Fruit is a three-chambered seedpod or capsules that effectively emit the ripe seed.
Queen’s delight was used by Native Americans as a purgative, a treatment for skin eruptions, and a remedy for venereal disease. Greek women who had just given birth took a decoction of the root or were bathed with an infusion. The boiled mashed roots were eaten by native North American women after childbirth and used by settlers as an external treatment for menstrual irregularity. Queen’s delight was included in the Pharmacopoeia of the United States from 1831 to 1926.
Traditional uses and benefits of Queen’s delight
- The root is antiemetic, astringent.
- Decoction has been used to treat bird sickness, diarrhea, vomiting and appetite loss in children and in adults.
- It has also been used to treat menstruation sickness, yellow eyes and skin weakness.
- Decoction or tincture of the root has been used to treat the worst forms of venereal disease.
- Root supplement is used to treat syphilis, bronchitis, constipation, hemorrhoids, and skin conditions.
- It is an ingredient in Hoxsey Herbal Therapy, used as a cancer treatment.
- Root was used in the southern United States for constipation, as a purgative, and to treat syphilis and liver, skin, and lung diseases.
- Fluid extract combined with oils of anise or caraway, proves very beneficial in chronic bronchitis and laryngitis.
- Some pieces of fresh root chewed daily have permanently and effectually cured these troubles; it is also useful for leucorrhoea.
- For croup 1 drops on the tongue three or four times daily, has been found successful for severe attacks.
- Dried roots act reflexly as a sialagogue and expectorant.
- It is often given for syphilitic complaints in place of mercury.
- Some people apply queen’s delight directly to the affected area to treat skin diseases and hemorrhoids.
- The herb is taken internally in order to facilitate easing boils, constipation, weeping eczema and scrofula.
- Freshly obtained root of queen’s delight is taken internally to treat respiratory tract conditions, such as throat infection, bronchitis and laryngitis.
- Topically, this herb is applied as a lotion to hemorrhoids as well as to skin conditions accompanied with itching, for instance psoriasis and eczema.
- Herb is recommended for treating laryngitis, tonsillitis, mastitis, croup, persistent rheumatism and congested lymphatic system.
- Queen’s delight was believed to be a dependable remedy for syphilis.
- Decoction prepared with the root of the herb was used to cure persistent pain as well as ulceration following mercurial treatment.
- Queen’s delight may also be used in the treatment of croup, wherein the cough is harsh, as this herb facilitates in stimulating the flow of saliva.
- This herb also helps in providing relief from constipation.
- It is known to be mainly helpful in treating hemorrhoids.
- Traditionally, the herb was believed to be effective in treating the body’s fluid imbalance, counting blood, lymph and bile.
- For the treatment of skin problems Stillingia combines well with Arctium, Rumex, Fumaria, Galium and Iris.
- It may also be used with Lobelia, Sanguinaria, Pimpinella and Eucalyptus in laryngismus stridulus and bronchitis.
Queen’s delight can be taken in different forms – as a decoction and a tincture.
Decoction: To prepare the decoction, add half to one teaspoonful of the dehydrated queen’s delight root in a cup (250 ml) of water and boil the mixture. The mixture should be simmered slowly for about 10 to 15 minutes and strained. For best results, take the decoction thrice every day.
Tincture: The tincture prepared with queen’s delight root ought to be taken in dosage of 1 ml to 2 ml three times every day.
- American Indians used the root to repel fleas.
- Creek Indian women were reported to consume the boiled, mashed roots after giving birth.
- Dried root is considered to be less toxic than the fresh root.
- It has also been used in homeopathy.
- There are reports of sheep poisoned by Stillingia in Florida.
- Queen’s delight is not used in foods.
- The latex in the sap can cause blistering on the skin.
- Large doses of the plant are said to be toxic. It may cause nausea, loose stools.
- Do not ingest or use topically in human medicine.
- Observe particular caution with the fresh root, which appears to be more toxic than the dried product.
- Stillingia root is a purgative and irritant product that should be avoided because of a high likelihood of tumor promotion and documented severe irritancy to skin.
- In large doses it is emetic and purgative causing a disagreeable, peculiar, burning sensation in the stomach or alimentary canal with considerable prostration of the system.
- Avoid during Pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- The toxic symptoms produced by this herb may include vomiting, gastroenteritis, bile-filled diarrhea, tachycardia (excessively fast heartbeat), prostration and muscular debility.
- Queen’s delight herb should never be preserved for over two years.
- The juice of the green root can cause skin inflammation and swelling.