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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

on this pageASARABACCA
aka Hazelwort, Haselwurz (Ger), Wild Nard, European Snakeroot, Public House Plant
(Asarum europaeum)
CAUTION! Too dangerous for use except under the guidance of a medical professional!

CONTAINS: Roots and leaves are acrid and contain volatile oil, bitter principle and a camphor-like substance.

The only British species of the Birthwort family. A perennial wild ginger of northern and eastern Europe which is used similarly to the North American wild ginger (A. canadense). It is said to be rare. It is a low plant with horizontal creeping rootstock and prostate stem. Two long petioled, upright, shiny dark green, mostly heart-shaped, leaves grow from each bud on the stem to about 2 to 4 inches above ground. The large solitary flowers appear March to May and are green-brown in color on the outside and a reddish-black on the inside. Roots and leaves are aromatic.
The juice extracted from a South American species of Asarum supposedly had the power to stupefy snakes if placed in their mouths and an African species is said to have been used by Egyptian jugglers for this purpose.

PROPAGATION: By division in spring.
NEEDS: Well-drained, moist soil enriched with leaf mold in a shady, sheltered site.
HARVEST: Sections of rhizomes are removed in autumn and dried for powder, decoction, liquid extracts and tinctures. Or rhizomes can be taken when the flower begins to form. Leaves taken in early spring and roots in fall.
PART USED: Rhizomes and leaves.

SOLVENT: Boiling water.


Tonic, stimulant, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, purgative; used basically as an emetic.
Leaves are errhine, cathartic and emetic. As an errhine leaves are combined with lance-leaved plantain to eliminate mucous from nose and respiratory passages.
Has been used for colds, bowel and stomach spasms, whooping cough, and fever.
Has been given to women in childbirth when nervous exhaustion was apparent.
Tea from the leaves has been used for heart trouble.
Decoction of the rhizome has been used as an expectorant for vomiting.
Dried and powdered leaves were once used in the preparation of cephalic snuffs which caused sneezing and gave relief to headache and weak eyes.
In the folk medicine of Bello-Russia (White Russia) the rhizomes are used as expectorant, laxative, for jaundice and dropsy, to promote milk in nursing mothers, heart trouble, tuberculosis, nervous excitement, migraine.
"Nastoika" (the rhizome with vodka) is used for scrofula (tuberculosis of the lymph glands of the neck), heart palpitation, failure to thrive in children, mushroom poisoning, for difficult digestion, migraine, alcoholism (! vodka to cure alcoholism?!!)
The leaves have been used for malaria.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
Large doses can be nauseating. It can be made into a tea and administered in small frequent doses (1 Tbsp). It is sometimes made into a cordial using the tincture and molasses.
INFUSION = 1 tsp of the granulated root to 1 pint of boiling water taken 1 to 2 Tbsp at a time as needed.
TINCTURE = 2 to 5 minims (drops)
PILL = maximum dose is 1 or two 7-grain tablets.
POWDER = 7 to 14 grains

The tincture of the root and whole plant is used for alcoholism, prolapse of the anus, catarrh, cholerine (?), diarrhea, dysmeorrhea, operations and affections of the eyes, fidgets, headache, hysteria, sense of levitation, typhus, nervous affections, loss of energy with excessive erethism(scratching on silk, linen or paper is unbearable), pains and spasmodic muscular actions, nervous deafness and asthenopia (eyestrain), cold shivers from any emotion, a feeling of constant coldness, overactive imagination with little ability to concentrate, compressive pain, tension of the scalp, hair is painful, common cold, eyes that feel "stiff" or burn or feel cold (eyes feel better in cold air or water and worse in sunlight and wind), the sensation of plugged ears, catarrh with hearing loss, sensitivity to noises, loss of appetite, flatulence, belching, vomiting, desire for alcoholic drinks, nausea which is worse after eating, diarrhea with tough mucous, undigested stools, prolapse, for menses too early or too long lasting and black, violent pain the small of the back, tenacious yellow leucorrhea, nervous hacking cough, short respiration, paralytic pain in the muscles of the nape of the neck, weakness with staggering, fever.
DOSE = 3rd to 6th potency.

©2000 by Ernestina Parziale, CH