Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax



Botanical Description & Habitat

Chelone glabra


Common Names
Shell flower

Found in wet ground from Newfoundland to Florida and west to Minnesota, Kansas and Texas

Medicinal Parts

Historical Properties & Uses

Turtlebloom is known as an aperient, cholagogue, laxative, mild tonic, and antiemetic. Other properties are also attributed to it, including anthelmintic and antidepressant.

Turtlebroom is usually gathered and prepared to help convalescent persons regain strength, recover from liver damage, regain control of the bowels, regain a good appetite, and generally feel better.

None of these actions has been experimentally investigated. But the British have adopted this quaint herb as one of their own, and use it regularly.

Externally, turtlebloom is used for sores and eczema and reducing the itching irritation of piles.

Method of Action

The British Pharmacopoeia recognizes the cholagogue, antiemetic, antidepressant and laxative actions of turtlebloom. It is used in cholecystitis, anorexia, gallstones with jaundice, and intestinal colic.

Balmony is combined with black walnut for constipation (this would be good anthelmintic preparation also); with gentian and goldenseal for hepatic jaundice.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Known Interactions
Balmony, due to its cathartic activity, may potentiate anticoagulant therapy by reducing absorption of vitamin K from the gut. It may also inhibit absorption of dextrose from the intestines.

This cathartic may increase intestinal transit time of digitalis glycosides, inhibit their absorption and cardiac action. But cathartic-induced hypokalemia increases toxicity and potency of absorbed digitalis. Cathartic-induced hypokalemia potentiates muscle relaxants.

In addition to the specific interactions listed, the cathartic action of balmony tend to hasten the passage of all oral medications through the gut and thereby inhibit their action.

In sub-laxative and sub-emetic doses, balmony should have no drug interactions. At higher doses, interactions similar to those involving diuretics and cathartics may occur.

Possible Interactions.
Laxative-induced diarrhea may result in decreased absorption of isoniazid the same is true with sulfisoxazole, but it appears to be a clinically unimportant interaction effect.

Laxative induced increased speed of intestinal emptying may result in decreased absorption of vitamin K and/or anticoagulants.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

No toxicity data is available.

Preparation & Administration

Use three times daily

use 1-2g of dried herb

Liquid Extract
use 2-4ml of 1:1 in 25% alcohol

use 1-2ml of 1:10 in 45% alcohol

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.


Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.


Follow Applied Health on FaceBook Follow Applied Health on Twitter Follow Applied Health on Pinterest Follow Applied Health on YouTube

cruelty free - tested only on humans
We test only on humans