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Veratrum album, L
From Latin: "verum" means true, "-trum" means medium
Ital: veratro bianco
English: White hellebore;
French: Veratre blanc;
German: WeiBe Nieswurz.
The dried root, coarsely powdered
Plantae; Spermatophyta, Angiospermae - Flowering Plants; Monocotyledonae; Liliiflorae / Liliidae; Melanthiales (earlier counted as Liliaceae); Melanthiaceae
Introduced by Hahnemann, in Frag, D. vir., 254; Allen: Encyclop. Mat. Med., Vol. X, 73
Description of the substance
Veratrum is a genus of coarse, highly poisonous perennial herbs of the Melanthiaceae family. In English they are known as the False hellebores or corn lilies. Members of Veratrum are known both in western herbalism and traditional Chinese medicine as toxic herbs to be used with great caution. It is one of the medicinals ("Li lu") cited in Chinese herbal texts as incompatible with many other common herbs because of its potentiating effects. Especially, many root (and root-shaped) herbs, particularly ginseng, san qi, and hai seng, will create and or exacerbate a toxic effect
Veratrum album closely resembles the American species, but is distinguished by its yellowish-white flower.
The fresh rhizome has an alliaceous odour, but when dried it has no marked smell. Its taste is first sweet, then bitter and acrid, leaving the tongue tingling and numb. Its powder is ash-coloured. White Hellebore deteriorates by keeping. It is scarcely ever used internally owing to the severity of its action. It is stated to have been one of the principal poisons used in Europe for arrows, daggers.