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What is lomatium? What is it used for?

Lomatium is a small, greenish plant native to western North America. In appearance, it is similar to parsley. In some areas, it faces the possibility of extinction due to overharvesting. The root is used in herbal preparations.

Lomatium has been used by Native Americans for centuries to treat a wide range of infections, particularly those affecting the lungs (such as bronchitis). During the influenza epidemic of 1917, there are reports that lomatium was used with remarkably positive results. In addition to influenza, studies have found that lomatium also acts as an antibacterial to candida, salmonella, staph aureaus, streptococcus and several other infectious agents.

How much lomatium should I take?

There are several doses for lomatium. For respiratory infections, most practitioners recommend 10-30 ml of a lomatium tincture taken up to four times daily. As an alternative, some practitioners recommend 2-3 ounces of a lomatium tea or infusion, also up to four times daily.

What forms of lomatium are available?

Lomatium is available as either a tincture or extract. If possible, be sure to purchase lomatium products that have the resins removed (usually called lomatium isolates). This lowers the chance of receiving an unwanted side-effect.

What can happen if I don't get enough lomatium? What can happen if I take too much? Are there any side-effects I should be aware of?

Lomatium extracts that contain the resin may, in some people, cause a whole-body rash. The rash will disappear once use of the extract is discontinued. In addition, substances called coumarins found in lomatium may heighten the effect of other blood-thinning agents. Patients on blood-thinning medication should consult with a health care practitioner before taking lomatium supplements. Because the safety of lomatium has not been determined in women who are pregnant or lactating, it should not be used by patients with these conditions.

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  • Alstat E. Lomatium dissectum and fresh corn silk. NHAA International Conference 1995:116-125.
  • Bergener P. Adverse effects anecdotes. Medical Herbalism: A Clinical Newsletter for the Herbal Practitioner 1999;10(4):15-16.
  • McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, et al. (eds). American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1997, p. 32.
  • Moore M. Herbal Materia Medica. Bisbee, AZ: Southwest School of Botanical Medicine, 1995, p. 19.
  • Vanwagenen BC, Cardellina JH. Native American food and medicinal plants. 7. Antimicrobial tetronic acids from lomatium dissectum. Tetrahedron 1986;42:1117.


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