Poke Root

Poke Root is one of the best herbs to help clear mastitis (breast infection). It is traditionally used as a lymph cleanser, and has a special affinity for red, inflamed mammary glands, testicles and throat. 

The typical experience with this herb is that a breast infection will usually clear up within 24 hours, without the use of antibiotics. It is also useful in cases of a sore throat with swollen lymph glands in the neck. This too, usually will clear overnight.

How to use Poke Root

First day – use 2-4 drops (not droppersful, but DROPS) in a small amount of water and drink. The amount of water does not matter – it’s simply to help you count the drops accurately and not have any tincture wasted on the side of the glass if you were to take it straight from the cup and not dilute it in the water.  I typically use a small sake cup but you can use whatever you’d like.

If this dose is taken during the day, it may be repeated at night before bed.

If the infection or soreness is still present the next day, repeat this dose in the morning and again that night and use until the infection or soreness is completely gone. This usually doesn’t take more than a day or two.

This same procedure is recommended for sore throats with swollen lymph glands in the neck.  (Poke Root will do nothing for sore throats that do not involve the lymph glands.) 

This herb should be used for no more than five days at a time and never by pregnant women or children.  Nausea and vomiting may occur.

Another suggestion:

Warm a pot of water. Put 4-6 droppersful (not drops but full squeezes) into the pot of water. (A dropperful is the amount that is drawn up into the glass pipette when the droppertop bulb is squeezed. It will usually fill it about 1/2 way.)

Soak a clean white cloth in the Poke Root water, squeeze out the excess, and apply to the sore or plugged area of the breast. Make it warm, but be careful not to burn your hands or your skin.

This method, known as a compress, works extremely well in cases of plugged ducts, even if it hasn’t become an actual breast infection.

Continue to re-soak and re-apply this compress for 20-30 minutes. You may briefly re-heat the Poke Root water on the stove if needed (do not boil or microwave it). Repeat this 3-4 times a day or as desired.

Important Note:  Breast infections usually occur in women who are over-tired and doing too much. Take whatever measures you can to get extra rest. Ask for help and go to bed. You can take your baby with you.

As painful as it is, it is important to keep nursing.  Listen to this message from your body – immediately slow down and give yourself the extra rest that your body needs.

If persistent or chronic plugged ducts are a problem and are causing frequent bouts of mastitis, use Lecithin supplements to help prevent plugged ducts as outlined in the articles entitled Plugged Ducts and Mastitis

One important note: Poke Root is an extremely powerful herb. If too much is taken, nausea and vomiting may occur. Poke Root may be taken while nursing, as the dose required and suggested above is extremely low. Use only when necessary and for no longer than five days at a time. If symptoms persist or worsen, see your medical professional.

Poke Root is not for use by pregnant women or children.

Read the Full Articles on this Topic:  (All-Access Membership required.  SIGN UP or LOG IN here.)  

Plugged Ducts.  Learn how to:

  • Prevent plugged ducts
  • Alleviate and relieve plugged ducts
  • Nursing positions that best help clear a plug
  • What to do if you keep getting plugged ducts over and over…

Mastitis.  Learn how to:

  • Who is most likely to get mastitis (breast infection)
  • Alleviate and clear mastitis
  • Additional herbs and supplements you can take to clear a breast infection and how to use them
  • How you can stop mastitis in its tracks.

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written by Pam Caldwell
Certified Herbalist — Fertility, Pregnancy, Birth, Postpartum & Lactation Specialist