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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.

a.k.a Colic root, Star root, True Unicorn root
(Aletris farinosa)

CAUTION! The fresh root causes symptoms of poisoning with intestinal pain, dizziness and vomiting.

CONTAINS: Diosgenin (anti-inflammatory and estrogenic); Vitamin E.

Stargrass is a perennial wild plant with lance shaped leaves in a basal rosette upto 3 feet. It is not commonly cultivated. The rhizome is harvested in late summer after flowering and must be used in its DRIED form. Alcohol is the best solvent.


Considered to be tonic and diuretic.
A decoction of the root has been used as a bitter tonic for indigestion, diarrhea and jaundice.
The tincture has been used for rheumatism.
Has been used for stomach colic, but can actually cause severe colic in the lower bowel in small doses and has usually been combined with other herbs to prevent this.
Has been used in combination with other herbs for fatigue due to menstruation and accompanying pain, for treatment of female sterility; stimulate and tone the uterus to normal action; for uterine prolapse, for menorrhagia (to control excessive flow), dysmenorrhoea, menstrual pain, to prevent miscarriage; to prepare for birthing. Often combined with Squawroot (Mitchella repens) and/or wild yam as a female tonic.
Has been used to relieve spasms of the female reproductive organs and the digestive system.
Has been used as part of prostate formulas as an assisting herb.
At one time was used for all types of fevers.
Has been combined with cranesbill in decoction form for diabetes and Bright's disease.
Homeopathic preparation is used for nausea and vomiting of pregnancy; uterine prolapse and pain; convulsions; dysuria; endometritis; hermorhoids; hysteria; indigestion; myalgia.
Most notably used for prevention in individuals prone to miscarriage. Was taken during pregnancy.
Native Americans used the leaves to make a tea for digestive problems.
The Catawbas used it in tea form for dysentary.
It was listed in the US Pharmacopoeia until 1926 as a tonic.
This formula has been used for pregnancy threatened with miscarriage: 10 drops Stargrass tincture, 10 drops Black haw tincture, 10 drops Squawvine, 5 drops Blue Cohosh tincture.
For menstrual dysfunctions : 10 drops Stargrass tincture, 10 drops Squaw vine tincture, 5 drops Milkwort tincture (Polygala vulgaris).

All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully.
INFUSION = 1 tsp dried root cut fine; add 1 C. boiling water; steep 20 minutes. Take 1 cupful over the course of one day, one small mouthful at a time.
TINCTURE = 15 to 30 drops.
POWDER = 5 to 10 grains

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH