Botanical Name :Chamaelirium luteum
Species: C. luteum
Synonyms : C. carolinianum. Helonias dioica. H. lutea. Veratrum luteum.
Common Names : False Unicorn Root , Blazing-Star, Devil’s Bit, Fairy Wand, False Unicorn.
Parts Used: Dried rhizome and root
Chamaelirium is a perennial herb . Chamaelirium luteum has a basal rosette of around six 8-15cm leaves, from which a single spike-like raceme inflorescence (1-1.5cm diameter, 8-30cm length) emerges. The plants are generally dioecious, with male-biased gender ratios in a given population. This is due to higher mortality of female plants, and the tendency of female plants to flower less frequently. Female stalks tend to be taller, giving a total maximum plant height of about 12dm, but also tend to have about ten times fewer flowers. C. luteum is the only member of its monotypic genus, and is quite rare at the fringes of its range.
Flower/fruit: Small white flowers are tightly clustered on a spike or raceme; turns yellow with age; 4 to 8 inches long; located on end of 8 to 18 inch stem; male and female flowers on separate plants; male raceme often curves downward .
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Flowering Season: Early summer .
Foliage: 3 to 8 inch evergreen basal leaves are smooth, narrow, lanceolate and form a rosette; stem leaves are narrower .
Requires a moist fertile humus-rich acidic soil in sun or light dappled shade. Prefers a cool peaty soil. Plants are dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.
Seed – sow as soon as it is ripe just below the surface of a peat/sand mix in pots in a cold frame. Keep cool and moist. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 6 months at 10°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in pots plunged in a nursery bed for 1 – 2 years, giving protection from severe weather. Plant out in spring when the plants are large enough. Division.
Active Compounds: Saponins; the glycosides chamaelirin and helonin, based on diosgenin.
A treasured woman’s botanical, false unicorn root’s gently curved root, which resembles a unicorn’s horn may be the source of its most common name. Used by Native American women to deter miscarriage, it is still widely used to treat a variety of problems unique to the female reproductive system. The root contains steroidal saponins which are precursors of estrogen.Steroidal saponin-containing herbs may normalize the luteal phase in women, making them useful for infertility which is associated with failure to ovulate.
Uterine tonic, diuretic, anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue.
This herb, used by the North American Indians, is one of the best tonics and strengtheners of the reproductive system that we have. Though primarily used for the female system, it can be equally beneficial for men. It is known to contain precursors of the estrogens. However, it acts in an amphoteric way to normalize function.
The body may use this herb to balance and tone and thus it will aid in apparently opposite situations. Whilst being of help in all uterine problems, it is specifically useful in delayed or absent menstruation. Where ovarian pain occurs, False Unicorn Root may be safely used. It is also indicated to prevent threatened miscarriage and ease vomiting associated with pregnancy. However, large doses will cause nausea and vomiting.
Decoction: Put 1-2 teaspoonfuls of the root in a cup of water, bring to boiling and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. For threatened miscarriage it may be drunk copiously.
Tincture: Take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.
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Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.