Skunk cabbage

background

Eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpusfoetidus), or skunk cabbage, is closely related to western skunk cabbage (Lysichitonamericanum). Although very similar, these swamp-growing plants do not belong to the same genus. Skunk cabbage is predictably named for the foul smelling oil produced by the plant. Care must be taken in preparation of skunk cabbage, as the large amounts of calcium oxylate in all parts of the plant may cause excruciating pain upon ingestion.
Skunk cabbage is used to promote labor and treat dropsy (edema). The flower essence of the plant is also indicated to "move stagnated energy." In addition to its medicinal properties, skunk cabbage is boiled and eaten by Native Americans as a famine food.
Currently, there is a lack of available scientific evidence supporting the use of skunk cabbage for any indication.

Related Terms

Alkaloids, Araceae (family), caffeic acid, calcium oxalate, Col apestosa, Dracontium, Dracontiumfoetidum L, eastern skunk cabbage, fatty oil, flavonol glycosides, Indian potato, meadow cabbage, n-hydroxytryptamine, narcotic, Orontium, phenolic compounds, pole-cat cabbage, polecatweed, Spathyemafoetida, swamp cabbage, Symplocarpus, Symplocarpusfoetidus, Symplocarpusrenifolius, tannin.
Note: This monograph covers only eastern skunk cabbage (Symplocarpusfoetidus), not western skunk cabbage (Lysichitonamericanum).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.