Queen’s delight Herbal Information

Queen’s delight (Stillingia sylvatica) is a plant. The root is used as medicine.

Despite serious safety concerns, people take queen’s delight to treat liver disease,gallbladder disorders, skin diseases, constipation, bronchitis, and hoarseness (laryngitis). It is also used to cause vomiting and as a “blood purifier.”

Some people apply queen’s delight directly to the affected area to treat skin diseases and hemorrhoids.

Stillingia is of value in the treatment of chronic exudative skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis, and is specifically indicated where there is lymphatic involvement. Treatment is likely to be fairly long-term. It is also used to treat bronchitic congestion and laryngitis, especially when accompanied by loss of voice (laryngismus stridulus); it may also be used to treat croup when the cough is harsh (the herb helps promote the flow of saliva). It will help to relieve constipation and, as an astringent, it is particularly of benefit for haemorrhoids.

Stillingia is a perennial in the family Euphorbiaceae, growing up to 1.5m tall in acid and sandy soils in the southern United States of Florida, Virginia and Texas. It has alternate leathery, sessile leaves and a terminal spike of yellow flowers. The fruit is a three-lobed capsule. The root is unearthed after flowering in July.

The genus is named after Dr. Benjamin Stillingfleet. The leaves have spots on them reminiscent of the lesions of syphilis, and this may have inspired people to use this herb to treat syphilis. It was also used to help people detoxify after being treated with mercury for syphilis.

Parts Used: Root, fresh root.


  • alterative: an agent capable of favorably altering or changing unhealthy conditions of the body and tending to restore normal bodily function, usually by improving nutrition in small doses
  • antispasmodic
  • astringent
  • cathartic
  • circulatory
  • dermatological agent
  • diaphoretic
  • diuretic: an agent that increases the volume and flow of urine which cleanses the urinary system
  • emetic: an agent that causes vomiting in large doses
  • expectorant: an agent that promotes the discharge of mucous and secretions from the respiratory passages
  • laxative: an agent promoting evacuation of the bowels; a mild purgative
  • purgative in large doses
  • sialagogue: an agent that stimulates the secretion of saliva
  • stimulant
  • tonic: an agent that tones, strengthens and invigorates organs or the entire organism giving a feeling of well-being


  • Acne
  • Boils
  • Bronchitis
  • Constipation
  • Cough
  • Cutaneous eruptions
  • Dermatitis
  • Eczema
  • Enlarged Lymph
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Laryngiti
  • Laryngismus stridulus
  • Leukorrhea
  • Psoriasis
  • Rheumatism
  • Scrofula
  • Smoker’s cough
  • Syphilis

How is it taken:

Tea, Tincture, Capsules.

  • Dried root: 1-2g or by decoction
  • Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 0.5-2ml
  • Tincture: 1:5 in 45% alcohol, 1-4ml

Chemical Constituents: Essential oil, diterpene esters (prostatin, gnidilatin), alkaloid (stillingine), cyanogenic glycosides, calcium oxalate, tannin, resin (sylvacrol). Volatile oil (up to 4%), acrid resin (sylvacrol), acrid fixed oil, tannins (10-12%), calcium oxalate, cyanogenic glycosides, starch

Side effects and risk

Large doses are emetic and purgative. Avoid during pregnancy, and avoid using fresh root. Large doses of Stillingia can irritate the skin and mucous membranes, and it is a powerful sternutatory herb. It can also be cathartic and emetic and should always be used with care. It should not be stored for more than two years. Stillingia was once thought to be a reliable cure for syphilis (which it is not), the decoction being used to treat continuing pain and ulceration after mercurial treatment.

Other Names

  • Queen’s root, yawroot, cockup hat, marcory, silver root, silver leaf, pavil

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