Asarum Europaeum (LINN.)
Hazelwort. Wild Nard.
Root and Herb.
Asarabacca is the only British species of the Birthwort family (and perhaps
not indigenous). It is a curious plant consisting of a very short fleshy
stem, bearing two large, dark-green, kidney-shaped evergreen leaves, and
a solitary purplish-green drooping flower.
Found in woods and very rare. Flowering in May - Perennial.
The herbs belonging to this order are chiefly plants or shrubs of a tropical
habitat, very abundant in South America; but rare elsewhere.
Medicinal Action and Uses
Tonic and stimulant, sometimes acrid or aromatic. The dried and powdered
leaves of Asarabacca (Asarum Europaeum) are used in the preparation of
cephalic snuffs, exciting sneezing and giving relief to headache and weak
Mixed with Ribwort, this herb is used to remove mucous from the respiratory
Virginian Snake-root (Aristolochia serpentaria) and other allied species
are used as antidotes to the bite of venomous snakes.
The juice extracted from a South American species is said to have the
power of stupefying serpents if placed in their mouths; and African species
are used by Egyptian jugglers for this purpose.
The British variety is said to be found wild in Westmorland and other
places in the north of England.