Poke Root, a.k.a. Virginia Poke, Pokeweed, is a toxic plant that is used in the practice of hoodoo/rootwork/conjure. The root of the poke plant is primarily used for uncrossings and for protection work.
The plant itself is toxic to both humans and livestock. Birds are immune to the toxins. This said, eating poke greens, a.k.a. "poke salat", has a long history in the South. Only immature leaves of the plants are eaten and even these must be blanched three or more times, with the old water dumped and replaced with fresh water in between blanchings. Certain individuals also used to make "poke berry pie" from the ripe black berries by straining out the seeds. I would caution readers not to attempt to do this. I've even heard of "poke berry jam", but again would caution against it. Finally, certain individuals make "poke berry wine" and again I strongly advise my readers not to attempt to make such for purely safety reasons.
Alternative uses for the plants include making a natural ink by mashing the berries.
For my readers, poke root is one off my favorite roots for uncrossings. To use poke root for such the root is brewed up into a tea. Please do not ingest the tea as it's poisonous! Instead it is used in spiritual baths. I love poke plants and do not consider them weeds as most people do. They are beautiful plants with pinkish-red stems and beautiful purplish-black berries. They grow everywhere in my state. The large taproot of the poke plant can grow extremely large, especially in mature plants. It is not uncommon for a mature plant to have a taproot as large as a basketball. One large taproot will supply all the poke root one needs for many years. The only thing I would add is that because harvesting poke kills the plant it is important to ask permission from the plant and to give it an offering. Leave the offering in the hole in which the root was taken from.
Poke Salad Annie