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What are the Medicinal Uses of Paris Quadrifolia?

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  • Written By: Stacy C.
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 29 October 2016
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The plant Paris quadrifolia — also known as Herb Paris, One Berry, or True Lover's Knot — can be used in home herbal remedies to treat many ailments or affictions. Small doses may help treat bronchitis, headaches, coughing, colic, and other medical problems. It can also be used to treat mercury and arsenic poisoning, and is sometimes used as an anti-rheumatic.

Paris quadrifolia is a narcotic, perennial herb in the lily family. It can be harvested while its flowers are blooming, to be used in homeopathic medicine or herbal remedies. Almost every part of the plant can be used in some way. The seeds and berries can be crushed into an ointment that soothes skin and cools inflammation. The root can be powdered and added to water to help colic. If eaten, the leaves and berries can be used in place of ipecac to help induce vomiting, if something poisonous has been ingested — arsenic or mercury, for example — and needs to be expelled from the body.

This plant has also been used as an aphrodisiac. Since the berries and seeds are powerfully narcotic, they can have a temporary positive effect on the user's mood. In Russia, the leaves are sometimes recommended for people suffering from madness or depression. The opiate-like effect is also the reason the plant is used in homeopathy to treat headaches, backaches, vertigo, and tremors. Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding should not take Paris quadrifolia in any form.

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Overdose of this substance can be extremely serious. Typical side effects include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, hallucinations, and — in extreme cases — death. The vomit-inducing leaves and berries are especially dangerous if too much is ingested. Each plant produces just one fruit, resembling a blueberry, and it is highly toxic. Since it tastes bad and is absorbed very slowly, the fruit is usually spit out before it does too much harm to the person or animal attempting to eat it.

Paris quadrifolia is often confused with trillium. While the two are related, because they are both part of the Melanthiaceae family, trillium has leaves and flowers grouped in threes, while Paris quadrifolia's leaves and the petals of its blooms are clustered in fours. It can grow up to a foot (.305 m) tall, and the flowers of the plant have narrow petals that are usually yellow or slightly greenish in color. The plant is native to Europe and some areas of Russia.

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