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Unicorn Root, False

Botanical: 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.

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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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