Red Root is a pretty shrub bearing clusters of white, pink, cream and purple flowers, that grows wild in several regions of North America – it’s abundant in the west, but also thrives in the midwest and in parts of the north-east. The plant is named for its deep crimson root, and has also been called New Jersey Tea. During the American Revolution when tea was scarce, Red Root was used as a tea substitute because its leaves taste very similar to black tea.
Other common names for the plant include Redshank, Mountain Lilac, Buckbrush, Snow Brush, and Desert Buckthorn. Its botanical name is Ceanothus americanus.
The leaves have been used medicinally, but the main healing properties of this plant come from its root and it’s this part of the plant that herbalists use today.