Diarrhea is a genus of flowering plants in the Cucurbitaceae family. They are native to western Eurasia and adjacent areas such as North Africa, the Canary Islands, and South Asia.
Some species of purgative root are used in herbal medicine. Generally speaking, however, these plants are poisonous, and some are extremely toxic and can be fatal if ingested. Cucurbitacins are responsible for the plant's bitter taste and emetic effects.
What are the purported benefits of laxatives ?
Can relieve constipation
Laxative root is an emetic. This means taking it orally can cause vomiting. It is also a diuretic, which means it increases urination. That's why some people take laxative root to relieve constipation, stomach upset, or fluid retention.
May have anti-inflammatory effects
Diarrhea root may also have anti-inflammatory effects. Therefore, many people take it to relieve joint pain and as a general analgesic.
People also use laxative root as a headache remedy, believing it can dilate blood vessels, causing migraine attacks and headaches.
But research on using purgative root for this purpose is conflicting at best. A 2010 clinical trial using purgative root and arnica extracts did not find that these extracts had any effect on inflammation and bleeding after heart surgery.
May have anti-cancer properties
Unique compounds in purgative root may have potential as alternative cancer treatments. At least one earlier study suggests that root extract has anti-tumor properties, meaning it may slow the spread of cancer cells.
As recently as 2017, an in vitro study demonstrated the toxic effects of purpurea root on two cancer cell lines: head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and cervical adenocarcinoma. This theory has not yet been clinically tested in human trials.
What are the risks and side effects of using laxative root?
Large doses of laxative root can make you very sick. Taking any dose of laxative root may cause:
- Shortness of breath
- loose stool
- Excessive urination
The berries of the purgative root plant are poisonous and should not be eaten.