High John the Conqueror – Ipomoea jalapa or I. purge

High John the Conqueror
High John the Conqueror

This vine is also known as Jalap root, a native of South America and Mexico, Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, and parts of Mississippi.

It has long been used in magic, placed in mojo bags, and carried to attract money, love, success, and to stop depression. Anointing oil can be made using the root, just score the root in several places, cover with oil, and allow to it to infuse the oil. After several weeks strain the oil, place in a clean bottle with a small, fresh piece of root. Take drops of this oil to then anoint candles, sachets, tools, etc.


This root is considered poisonous, so caution should be used in consumption. Do not use the above oil for cooking or in any other way that might be absorbed through the skin or mucous membranes. Toxicity is noted due to Lysergic acid amide (LSA), a natural analogue of LSD, being present in the seeds. The symptoms of poisoning in mammals are: watery diarrhea and profuse fluid and electrolyte imbalances. It can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms if applied to an open wound.


Even though this plant can be toxic it has had use as a medicine. The root is harvested and dried for later use. It can be used as a strong cathartic (cleansing or purging) and purgative (cleansing or purgative) properties. It has been used to expel intestinal worms once something has been done to stun or kill them. If taken in even a slightly too high a dose it can cause severe gripping and pain of the intestines though. In the past it was given to children, combined with calomel or wormwood to work as a vermifuge. It was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia from 1820 through to 1864.


The Pawnee Indians of the southwest used the root, burned to produce smoke, to treat for nervousness and bad dreams. The powdered root was used on the skin for rheumatic thype pains; and the Lakota used scrapes of the root for stomach issues. The root was used as an emergency food by the Pawnee, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Arapaho Indians

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