What is Kalmia Latifolia?

Dee S.
Dee S.

Kalmia latifolia is a shrub or tree also known by its common names of mountain laurel, ivy bush, Kalmia, lambkill, and calico bush. It is native to the eastern sections of North America. Although it is very poisonous, it also is used by some people in diluted doses as a homeopathic remedy for such ailments as fever, inflammation and diarrhea.

Many practitioners recommend whiskey as an antidote for people who take more than the recommended dosage of Kalmia.
Many practitioners recommend whiskey as an antidote for people who take more than the recommended dosage of Kalmia.

An evergreen, Kalmia latifolia grows anywhere from four feet (1.2 m) to 20 feet (6.1 m) tall. It has irregular branching and a rounded shape with elliptical-shaped leaves and white or pink flowers that grow in clusters. It grows best in mountainous areas and thrives in soil that is acidic. In some areas, it grows as a shrub and in other areas it is a tree.

A medical doctor should be consulted before using Kalmia latifolia.
A medical doctor should be consulted before using Kalmia latifolia.

The leaves are Kalmia latifolia are commonly used by homeopathic medicine practitioners to treat a number of ailments. Leaves that are converted into powder are sometimes used to treat skin infections. The leaves are also recommended to treat fevers, syphilis, jaundice, and a variety of inflammations of the joints.

Pain associated with joints and muscles may be treated with kalmia latifolia.
Pain associated with joints and muscles may be treated with kalmia latifolia.

As a homeopathic remedy, Kalmia latifolia is also recommended to treat sharp, severe neuralgic pains that are associated with the joints and muscles. Kalmia may be particularly useful to treat darting or radiating pain. Many people claim that it treats rheumatism as well. In some instances, the symptoms are alleged to be alleviated quicker than traditional medical practices.

Sheep and other livestock may be affected by the poisonous aspect of kalmia latifolia.
Sheep and other livestock may be affected by the poisonous aspect of kalmia latifolia.

Other uses for the leaves of the plant include treating people suffering from heart disease. In addition, the leaves can be made into a stew and consumed to create a natural sedative. Some people use the leaves to treat hemorrhages and diarrhea as well.

Breastfeeding women should avoid using kalmia latifolia.
Breastfeeding women should avoid using kalmia latifolia.

Since Kalmia latifolia is extremely poisonous, caution should be used when using this plant. Even cattle and sheep that eat the leaves have been affected. In fact, the meat of animals who consume the leaves may be inedible by humans. Many practitioners recommend whiskey as an antidote for people who take more than the recommended dosage of Kalmia.

Kalmia latifolia leaves may have a sedative effect.
Kalmia latifolia leaves may have a sedative effect.

Since it can lead to death, a skilled homeopathic medicine practitioner should be consulted before using Kalmia latifolia. It is also recommended that a medical doctor be consulted since it may interfere with the effectiveness of other drugs. Women who are pregnant and breastfeeding should avoid using it. If in doubt, it is always best to err on the side of caution.

Pregnant women should avoid using kalmia latifolia.
Pregnant women should avoid using kalmia latifolia.
Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments

anon273088

I am 55 years old. Three months ago I underwent open heart surgery in medanta, the medicity, at gurgao.

Now when I sleep on my left side, I feel a choking sensation, with a feeling of suffocation and also I feel short of breath.

I have pain in the left side of my throat, and the left side of my chest. To avoid this condition I will stand on the floor for some time and take deep breaths or sit down for a while. Only after doing this can I again lie down on my right side. Sometimes, when the condition worsens, I have to take a Monotrate or sorbtrait tab.

Please advise me whether I can take Kalmia Q in some dilution?

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