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Common Name: Catgut
Tephrosia virginiana is a Perennial up to 0.60 metres tall.
It has medicinal and miscellaneous uses.
Contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in sensitive people[
]. The seeds are toxic[
Eastern N. America - New Hampshire to Florida, west to Texas and Manitoba.
Dry sandy woods and openings[
A deep rooted plant, requiring a dry to moist light or medium very well-drained soil in a sunny position[
Plants are hardy to about -25° when given a suitable position[
This species has a symbiotic relationship with certain soil bacteria, these bacteria form nodules on the roots and fix atmospheric nitrogen. Some of this nitrogen is utilized by the growing plant but some can also be used by other plants growing nearby[
The root is anthelmintic, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and tonic[
]. A tea made from the roots is said to make children muscular and strong[
]. A cold tea is used to improve male potency and also to treat TB, bladder problems, coughs, irregular menstruation and other women's complaints[
]. Experimentally, the root has shown both anticancer and cancer-causing activity[
The leaves have been placed in the shoes in order to treat fevers and rheumatism[
The root is a source of the insecticide 'rotenone'[
]. This is especially effective against flying insects but appears to be relatively harmless to animals[
A decoction of the roots has been used as a hair shampoo by women in order to prevent hair loss[
Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and then sow in a greenhouse in spring. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting out in the following spring or early summer.