New Jersey Tea's name can be traced back to the Revolutionary War, when it was used as a substitute for expensive foreign tea. The leaves and root bark are considered to have medicinal properties. It can be used as an astringent, for treatment of fever as well as gonorrhea and syphilis.
The medicinal parts are the dried leaves, the dried root bark, and the fresh leaves.
Flower and Fruit
The inflorescences grow in the axils of the upper leaves and have long peduncles. They are 5 to 15 cm long, panicled, and have numerous cymelike partial inflorescences. The flowers are white, the petals are 2 to 3 mm long and twice as long as the sepals. The fruit is a globose capsule with a diameter of about 7 mm.
Leaves, Stem, and Root
Ceanothus americanus is a low deciduous shrub 40 to 100 cm high with greenish-purple branches. The petioled leaves are alternate, 3 to 10 cm long by 1.5 to 5 cm wide, ovate or oblong-ovate, rounded at the base, lightly pointed at the tip, and with pinnatifid nerves. The upper surface is glabrous or has finely compressed silky hairs. The lower surface is densely gray and pubescent. The leaf blade is finely and irregularly serrated. The root is tough, woody, dark brown, and striated or finely wrinkled longitudinally. The bark is thin, brittle and dark brown.
The taste is astringent; odorless.
Indigenous to eastern and central North America. It is also used for breeding garden hybrids.
Red Root is the root of Ceanothus americanus. The shrub is cultivated.
Jersey Tea, Mountain-Sweet, Red Root, Walpole Tea, Wild Snowball
Actions & Pharmacology
Cyclic peptide alkaloids (0.16% in the root cortex): including ceanothines A to E, americine, adouetines X and Y cyclic peptines
Triterpenes: including ceanothusic acid, ceanothenic acid, and betulic acid
The tannins have an astringent effect. In blood taken from young rats, an aqueous-ethanol extract of the drug reduced blood-clotting time by 25%. However, the results are difficult to assess. The hemostyptic effect is attributed to the acid fraction of the drug. The drug is still useful as an astringent, expectorant, and antispasmodic. There is no valid data on the expectorant and antispasmodic effect.
Indications & Usage
Formerly, New Jersey Tea was used as an astringent, in the clotting of the blood, for fever, gonorrhea, and syphilis.
In homeopathy, Ceanothus americanus is used to treat enlarged spleen.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
No health hazards or side effects are known in conjunction with the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages.
Mode of Administration
Orally as a liquid extract.
5 drops, 1 tablet, or 10 globules every 30 to 60 minutes (acute) or 1 to 3 times daily (chronic); parenterally: 1 to 2 mL sc 3 times daily (HAB1).