Jalap Root (High John the Conqueror)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Kimberly Kuhn
Posted on: July 29, 1999

I was asked by a friend if I had ever heard of the herb High John the Conquerer. Thought that I might take it to an expert. I sure appreciate any time and consideration that you give to me.

High John the Conqueror is Jalap Root. This climbing vine has many names, both common and botanical. Some common names are Jalap Bindweed, Conqueror Root, High John Root, Ipomoea, and Turpeth. Botanically, it has several aliases including Exagonium purga, Convolvulus jalapa, Ipomoea jalapa, and Ipomoea purga.

The plant is native to South America and Mexico. It has been grown in gardens in Europe as an ornamental.

The root yields a resin that has strong cathartic and purgative properties. It is used in constipation, bowel pain and colic, and for general intestinal weakness. It should not be taken by pregnant women or while trying to get pregnant. It is contraindicated in cases of certain chronic gastrointestinal conditions.

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