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An herb of bright yellow, umbrella-shaped flowers, lomatium was widely used among native peoples of North America as a treatment for a variety of infections, especially those involving the lungs. Reportedly, use of this herb protected the Washoe Indian tribe of Nevada from suffering any deaths during the 1917/1918 worldwide pandemic of influenza. It was also said to be useful for pneumonia and tuberculosis.
Lomatium is currently regarded by some herbalists as an effective treatment for many types of viral infection, including HIV , viral hepatitis , colds and flus , acute bronchitis , sinusitis, and herpes . However, there is no meaningful scientific evidence that lomatium is helpful for these conditions, nor indeed that it has any antiviral effects at all. The story mentioned above about the great influenza pandemic of 1917/1918 cannot be taken as meaningful evidence of benefit; like all other great plagues, the influenza pandemic gave rise to innumerable rumors of cures, none of which have held up to scientific testing.
Lomatium has not undergone any modern safety testing. Reportedly, lomatium resin frequently causes allergic reactions leading to a whole-body rash; this is why resin-free products are sold. In addition, lomatium may cause digestive distress. Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or people with severe liver or kidney disease has not been evaluated.