Wake Robin, American

Medical Herbs Catalogue


Wake Robin, American

Botanical Name: Arum triphyllum (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Araceae

Synonyms: Dragon Root. Wild Turnip. Devil's Ear. Pepper Turnip. Indian Turnip. Jack-in-the-Pulpit. Memory Root. Arisamae triphyllum (Schott.).
(French) Gouet à trois feuilles.
(German) Dreiblattiger Aron.
Part Used: The root (fresh corm).
Habitat: Eastern North America in damp places. Indigenous almost all over United States and Canada.

Description: The plant has a round flattened perennial rhizome, the upper part tunicated as in the onion, the lower and larger portion tuberous and fleshy, with numerous long white radicles in a circle from its upper edge, the under-side covered with a dark, loose, wrinkled epidermis. Spathe ovate, acuminate, convoluted into a tube at the bottom, flattened and bent at top like a hood, varying in colour internally, supported by an erect scape inverted at base by petioles and their acute sheaths. Spadix club-shaped, shorter than spathe, rounded at end, contracted at base, surrounded by stamens or ovaries; the upper portions of the spadix withers together with the spathe, whilst the ovaries grow into a large compact bunch of shining scarlet berries. Leaves, one or two standing on long sheathing foot-stalks, ternate. Leaflets oval, mostly entire, acuminate,smooth, paler on under-side, becoming glaucous with growth, the two lateral ones rhomboidal.

Constituents: In the recent state it has a peculiar odour and is violently acrid. It has been found to contain besides the acrid principle, 10 to 17 per cent of starch, albumen, gum, sugar, extractive, lignin and salts of potassium and calcium.

Medicinal Action and Uses: Acrid, expectorant, and diaphoretic. Used in flatulence, croup, whooping-cough, stomatitis, asthma, chronic laryngitis, bronchitis and pains in chest.

In the fresh state it is a violent irritant to the mucous membrane, when chewed burning the mouth and throat; if taken internally this plant causes violent gastro-enteritis which may end in death.

Dosage: Powdered root, 10 grains two or three times daily.

The perfectly fresh root should not be used and the fully dried root is inactive.

Antidote: Strong tea and stimulants.