Learn something new every day More Info... by email
Veratrum album is the scientific name for the white hellebore plant, a leafy perennial herb that grows from a rhizome. While Veratrum album is sometimes admired for its spike of white feathery flowers in a flower garden or in the wild, it is also an effective herbal remedy for menstrual problems, heat exhaustion and fainting, headache, constipation, and muscle cramps. The roots and seeds are extremely poisonous, so the herb must be used with caution.
Homeopathic medicine is designed to correct imbalances of the body by using herbal remedies that have similar effects as the medical condition. In large amounts, Veratrum album can produce shock, stroke, or collapse; therefore, tiny doses of the herb are suggested as first aid for shock conditions such as heatstroke, fainting, and convulsions. It has also been used as a medication for several types of cholera — an illness with symptoms that are similar to the plant’s intestinal effects.
Along with the symptoms of shock and stomach irritation, the plant also produces effects in the central nervous system and in the brain. These effects are similar to a person suffering a manic episode, with symptoms ranging from loud, disordered speech to jerky movements, extreme skin sensitivity, and delirium. Using the homeopathic principle of "like cures like," Veratrum album, in small doses, is said to cure manic or delirious episodes.
As an herbal remedy, the plant can be used as an ointment or compress to kill skin infestations of scabies or lice, or to relieve itching and cure hives. A tincture of Veratrum album can be made by dissolving one part dried and powdered rhizome in 30 parts alcohol. The resulting liquid can then be mixed with an oil or petroleum jelly for an ointment. If the tincture will be used as a tonic, it can be mixed at a ratio of one part tincture to 99 parts liquid. Homeopathic medical suppliers may also provide powdered white hellebore, which should be used no more than three times a day at one grain per dose.
Veratrum album poisoning is possible, so it is important to obtain high quality herbs and use them carefully. A person suffering from an overdose may show symptoms of gastrointestinal distress and muscle weakness or fainting; he or she may develop a cold sweat, clammy hands, and blue lips. Vomiting and diarrhea are also common, as well as a slowed heartbeat. An injection of stimulants or several cups of coffee can help counteract these symptoms, but it is best to seek medical attention if poisoning is suspected.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!