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White Hellebore
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Monocots
Order: Liliales
Family: Melanthiaceae
Genus: Veratrum
Species: V. album
Binomial name
Veratrum album
L.

Veratrum album, commonly known as the False Helleborine (also known as White Hellebore, European White Hellebore, White Veratrum; syn. Veratrum lobelianum Bernh.[1]), is a medicinal plant[2][3] of the Liliaceae (lily family) or Melanthiaceae which is native to Europe.

Contents

Plant description

The plant is a perennial herb with a stout vertical rhizome covered with remnants of old leaf sheaths. The stems are stout, simple, 50 to 175cm tall. They have been mistaken for yellow gentian, Gentiana lutea, which is used in beverages, resulting in poisoning.[4]

Uses

The root is very poisonous, with a paralyzing effect on the nervous system[1]. In two cases of fatal poisoning from eating the seeds, the toxins veratridine and cevadine were present in the blood at 0.17–0.40 nanograms/milliliter and 0.32–0.48 nanograms/milliliter, respectively. In 1983 sneezing powders produced from the herb in West Germany were reported to have caused severe intoxications in Scandinavia.[5]

History

In antiquity, an effective drug based on white hellebore and a sesamoid (probably Reseda alba) was elaborated by the physicians of Antikyra, a city of Phokis in Greece.[6]

Leaves
Flower
Seeds

References

  1. ^ a b Veratrum album at Plants For A Future
  2. ^ Felter, Harvey Wickes. (1922) The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
  3. ^ Felter, Harvey Wickes; Lloyd, John Uri. (1898) King's American Dispensatory.
  4. ^ PMID 15773425
  5. ^ PMID 6887310
  6. ^ See the vast collection of ancient sources in Hahnemann, S., Disertatio de helleborismo veterum (Leipzig 1812)
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Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies

Veratrum album subsp. album

Taxonavigation

Classification System: APG II (down to family level)

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiospermae
Cladus: Monocots
Ordo: Liliales
Familia: Melanthiaceae
Tribus: Melanthieae
Genus: Veratrum
Species: Veratrum album
Subspecies: V. a. subsp.  album - V. a. subsp.  lobelianum

Name

Veratrum album L., Sp. pl. 2:1044. 1753

References

Vernacular names

English: European white-hellebore, white-hellebore
Magyar: Fehér zászpa
Svenska: Vit nysrot
Türkçe: Ak çöpleme
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Veratrum album on Wikimedia Commons.

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