Unicorn Root, False

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Unicorn Root, False

otanical: Chamaelirium luteum (A. GRAY)
Family: N.O. Liliaceae
Synonyms: Starwort. Helonias. Helonias dioica (Pursh.). Helonias lutea (Ker-Gawl). Chamaelirium Carolinianum (Willd.). Veratrum luteum (Linn.).
Part Used: Root.

Description: A herbaceous perennial found in low moist ground east of the Mississipi and flowering in May and June. Stem 1 to 3 feet high, simple, smooth, angular; leaves alternate, spatulate below, lanceolate above, radical leaves, 8 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, narrow at base and formed into a whorl; flowers numerous, small, greenish white, bractless, dioecious, in a dense, terminal raceme, nodding like a plume, 6 inches long, petals of such flowers narrow, stamens longer than the petals, filaments tapering; anthers terminal, two lobed; petals of female flowers linear; stamens short; ovary ovate, triangular, furrowed; stigmas three-capsule, oblong, three-furrowed, opening at summit; fruit many, compressed, acute; rhizome bulbous, terminating abruptly, 1 inch long; odour faint; taste bitter. Solvents: alcohol, water.

Constituents: Chamaelirin, fatty acid.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Emetic, tonic, diuretic, vermifuge. In large doses a cardiac poison. Of the greatest value in female disorders of the reproductive organs. The indication for its use is a dragging sensation in the extreme lower abdomen. It is useful in impotence, as a tonic in genito-urinary weakness or irritability, for liver and kidney diseases. Especially in diseases due to poor action of the liver and not to weakness of the heart or circulation. It is a good remedy in albuminaria.

Preparations: Fluid extract, 5 to 30 drops. Helonin, 2 to 4 grains. Specific helonias, 1 to 20 drops.