Adams Herbs



(Lomatium dissectum, formerly Leptotaenia dissecta syn. multfida)

Quite possibly the single best antiviral we have

Lomatium in a botanical garden in Sweden. Photo: Henriette Kress

OTHER NAMES: Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Desert Parsley, Indian Parsnip, Toza Root.


USED IN: Immmune Dragon Super Brew

NOTES: Lomatium may very well be the best antiviral we have. It’s certainly the best and strongest I’ve ever used – both topically and internally, and especially for the lungs. So why haven’t you heard of it?

Lomatium was highly regarded by the Native American peoples of the high plateaus of the Pacific Northwest, who used it as a primary herb for all sorts of infections and lung ailments. Unfortunately, by the time that white settlers were making inroads in the region, medical science had already “advanced” past the stage where they believed there was anything to learn from native peoples, about native plants. Frontier medicine might do in a pinch. But modern, official, civilized medicine (i.e. purgative, cathartics, and electroshock) was to be preferred.

We’re still feeling the repercussions of this. Look at the shelves of your local health food store: almost every major American drug plant in commerce is either an East Coast native (Goldenseal, Cranberry, Willow, Slippery Elm, Valerian), developed by European scientists (Echinacea, Black Cohosh, Saw Palmetto), or recreational (Coffee, Tobacco, Marijuana). Only now are we really beginning to look at our vast Western pharmacopeia.

In retrospect, we could have looked a lot sooner. And it’s not like we didn’t have clues. Back in 1920, a young physician named Ernst Krebs published an account of his experience with Lomatium in the Bulletin of the Nevada State Board of Health. Krebs had been assigned by the Indian Bureau to the Washoe reservation, and he was there when the Spanish flu hit. (The so-called Spanish flu was an avian strain that killed over 500,000 Americans, and between 20 and 100 million worldwide):

The fern leaf of the biscuit root. Photo: Henriette Kress
“…Whether a coincidence or not, there was not a single death in the Washoe tribe from influenza or its complications, although Indians living in other parts of the State where the root did not grow died in numbers. It was such a remarkable coincidence that a practicing physician who saw apparently hopeless cases recover without any other medication or care of any kind investigated the root. A preparation was prepared and employed in a great many cases among the whites, from the mildest to the most virulent types of influenza, and it proved, among other things, that it is the nearest approach we have today to a specific in epidemic influenza and the accompanying pneumonia… Other physicians were induced to give it a trial, with the same results. It is beyond the experimental stage, as its therapeutic action in this direction is established and beyond any doubt. The cases in which it has been used run into the hundreds. There is probably no therapeutic agent so valuable in the treatment of influenzal pneumonia.”

Too good to be true? Well, we have no reason to doubt him. (Contrary to popular belief, this is not the same Ernst T. Krebs Jr. who would later get all quack-y claiming he could cure cancer with “vitamin B17.”) But his account was published, and then, seemingly, ignored.

The next we hear of Lomatium is from a researcher named Percy Train who was sent to Nevada by the U.S. government to screen plants for potential drug development. He spent six years there, starting in the mid 1930s, and found nothing that even touched Lomatium for sheer germ-killing firepower. In the words of the late, great herbalist Michael Moore, “It killed just about every microbe his research group tested it against, and you could douse rats in it without hurting them.”

Train published his book in 1941. Once again, published, then ignored.

Fast forward to today. Lomatium is still virtually unknown, and there still isn’t a shred of formal research on it. But two strong advocates of the plant have kept the knowledge alive: the great naturopathic doctor, John Bastyr; and the great herbalist, Michael Moore, both of whom had hundreds of students. Most everyone who uses Lomatium can trace their knowledge back to one of these two men. And now, finally, the word is getting out, as fears about modern-day avian flu prompt people to look to the past for solutions.

Lomatium in its natural habitat in Oregon.

Bird flu, swine flu, three-toed sloth flu – I don’t care. Lomatium absolutely shines in viral infections, period. I’ve been using it for over a decade, and I’ve never met a viral infection where it hasn’t at least made a dent. Even in infections where I didn’t expect it to work – for example my friend with Hep C, who took Lomatium on the advice of a naturopathic doctor, and saw her viral load plummet – it’s worked. Michael Moore suggests using it for what he calls the “slow viruses”: HPV, Mono, Hep C, CMV, and (he suggests rather tentatively) HIV.

But Lomatium seems to specialize in viruses of the respiratory tract. Many of the plant’s antiviral compounds are excreted out through the mucosa of the lungs. So, on their way out the body, they end up exactly where they’re needed. First, they’ll thin congested, boggy mucous and work as a mild expectorant.

But again, we come back to where Lomatium shines: as a stone cold germ-killer. For deep lung infections, I have found nothing that can match our modest little Biscuitroot. And if you’re one of those people whose every little sniffle or sneeze ends up sinking its claws into your chest, Lomatium is invaluable at the first sign. It can still be effective after an infection has already established itself.

Lomatium is also useful topically. For example, if you’re dealing with a wart, try soaking the pad of a band-aid in the standard tincture of Lomatium, and apply it over the area before going to bed. You ought to see shrinkage in 4-5 days.

Suppositories made with Lomatium, Western Red Cedar, and vitamin A have been used in treating viral infections of the cervix.

SAFETY: Lomatium may cause a skin rash in as many as 1% of the people who take it.

I’ve given Lomatium or Lomatium-containing products to probably over 500 people, and I’ve seen the rash three times. One was a woman who got it on her arms after taking Lomatium for a few days. She stopped taking the herb, and the rash went away a few days later. Another woman got a very mild rash on her neck, and continued taking the Lomatium because it was working so well. She just wore a turtleneck. The last woman got a head-to-toe rash and checked into the ER for some strong suppressive anti-inflammatories.

There’s some debate in the medical herbalism community as to what causes the rash, and how to avoid it. Some say it depends on how the medicine is prepared. Lomatium is very rich in resins, they say, and there’s foam that should be skimmed from the top when you’re preparing it. Others cite Michael Moore’s take on the subject, which is that it’s not the herb itself, but a detox reaction to metabolic products of viral or bacterial die-off. He says that in 30 years, he’s never seen the rash in people who take Lomatium along with herbs that support detox.

I’m not sure who I agree with. But, die-off or not, coincidence or not, I’ll say that I’ve never seen the rash either in anyone who has taken the Lomatium with supportive herbs.

DOSING: I dose Lomatium high, because I use it acutely. 60-90 drops of the tincture, 3-4 times a day.



© 2009 Adam Herbs. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Use common sense. Don't jump into a full therapeutic dose of anything the first day. Trust your experience more than someone's learned opinion. If you're dealing with something scary or serious, work with a professional. If the professional appears incompetent, find a better one.