Botanical Name: Paris quadrifolia
Species: P. quadrifolia
Synonyms: Herba Paris. Solanum quadrifolium. Aconitum pardalianches. True Love. One Berry.
Common Names: Herb Paris, True Lover’s Knot
Habitat: Paris quadrifolia occurs in Europe, Russian Asia, and fairly abundant in Britain, but confined to certain places. It grows in moist places and damp shady woods.
Paris quadrifolia is a herbaceous perennial plant. It has a creeping fleshy rootstock, a simple smooth upright stem about 1 foot high, crowned near its top with four pointed leaves, from the centre of which rises a solitary greeny-white flower, blooming May and June with a foetid odour; the petals and sepals remain till the purply-blackberry (fruit) is ripe, which eventually splits to discharge its seeds.The flower is borne above a single whorl of four or more stem leaves. It prefers calcareous soils and lives in damp and shady places, especially old established woods and streamsides……..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Each plant only produces one blueberry-like fruit, which is poisonous, as are other tissues of the plant. Paris quadrifolia poisonings are rare, because the plant’s solitary berry and its repulsive taste make it difficult to mistake it for a blueberry.
Easily grown in a humus-rich soil in woodland conditions. Prefers a light sandy loam. Plants are hardy to about -15°c. The presence of this plant in a truly wild state in Britain is an indicator of ancient woodland. Plants are very slow to flower from seed. The flowers are very long-lived. The flowers emit a strong unpleasant smell rather like decaying meat.
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in late summer in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in a cold frame as soon as it is received. The seed is very slow to germinate. It produces a primary root about 7 months after sowing, this pulls the seed deeper into the soil. Leaves are produced about 4 months later. Sow the seed thinly so that it does not need to be thinned and grow the young plants on undisturbed in a shady part of the greenhouse for their first two years of growth. Give an occasional liquid feed in the growing season to ensure the plants do not become nutrient deficient. At the end of the second year’s growth prick out the young plants into individual pots and grow them on for another year or two in a shady part of the greenhouse before planting them out in the spring. Division.
Part Used: The entire plant, just coming into bloom.
Constituents: A glucoside called Paradin.
Antianxiety; Antidote; Antirheumatic; Aphrodisiac; Detergent; Homeopathy; Narcotic; Ophthalmic.
The entire plant, harvested just as it is coming into flower, is antirheumatic and detergent. In large doses the herb is narcotic, producing nausea, vomiting, vertigo etc. It should be used with great caution, overdoses have proved fatal to children. In small doses it is of benefit in the treatment of bronchitis, spasmodic coughs, rheumatism, colic etc. The plant is also used in the treatment of headaches and neuralgia. The seeds and the berries have something of the nature of opium, they have been used as an aphrodisiac. A tincture of the fresh plant is useful as an antidote to poisoning by mercurial sublimate and arsenic. A cooling ointment made from the seeds and juice of the leaves is applied externally to wounds, tumours and inflammations. The juice of the berries is used to treat eye inflammations. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant.
It has been used as an aphrodisiac – the seeds and berries have something of the nature of opium. The leaves in Russia are prescribed for madness. The leaves and berries are more actively poisonous than the root.
Herb Paris is useful as an antidote against mercurial sublimate and arsenic. A tincture is prepared from the fresh plant.
Other Uses:..Dye…..A red dye is obtained from the berries. A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves
Known Hazards: The plant is poisonous in large doses. This refers to the fruit.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.