Veratrum viride,


The dried rhizome and roots, with not more than 5 p. c. of stems, foreign matter.

Habitat. N. America, Canada to Georgia, in rich, wet woods, swamps.

Syn. Verat. Vir., Green Hellebore, American Hellebore, American White Hellebore, Swamp or False Veratrum (Hellebore), Devil's Bite, Duckretter, Bug-bane, Bugwort, Earth Gall, Indian Poke (their ordeal poison). Tickle (Itch) Weed (to bare-legged boys); Veratri Viridis Rhizoma; Fr. Veratre, vert; Ger. Gruner Germer.

Ve-ra'trum. L. vere, truly, + ater, black, dark - i. e., the color of the roots of some species.

Vir'i-de. L. viridis, green - i. e., flowers are greenish.

Plant. - Large, luxuriant, perennial herb; stem annual .6-2 M. (2-7°) high, stout, cylindrical, solid, nearly smooth, pale green,

Veratrum Viride Veratrum Viride 165Veratrum Viride Veratrum Viride 166


Veratrum Viride Veratrum Viride 167


Veratrum Viride Veratrum Viride 168


Veratrum Viride Veratrum Viride 169


Fig. 36. - Veratrum viride: a, root; 6, flower; c, ovary; d, plant at its early age.

unbranched except in the inflorescence; leaves 12.5-20 Cm. (5-8') long, oblong, acuminate, sheathing the stem, plaited, nerved, pubescent; flowers May-July, many polygamous, nearly sessile, greenishyellow, racemes with downy peduncles, sepals petaloid; fruit of 3 nearly distinct follicles 2.5 Cm. (1') long, pericarp dry, brown, ventral dehiscence; seed flat, about 12 in each carpel. Rhizome, upright, obconical, usually cut longitudinally into 2-4 pieces, 2-7 Cm. (4/5-3') long, 1.5-3 Cm. (3/5-1 1/5') thick, brownish, frequently numerous thin leaf-bases closely arranged at the summit, otherwise rough, wrinkled, somewhat annulate from scars or bud-scales; on outer portion numerous roots, the lower part more or less decayed; fracture hard, horny; internally grayish-white, with many irregular fibro-vascular bundles; inodorous, but sternutatory; taste bitter, acrid. Roots, subcylindrical, 3-8 Cm. (1 1/5-3') long, 1-3 Mm. (1/25-1/8) thick, deeply transversely wrinkled; fracture short, bark whitish, thick, porous central cylinder. Powder, grayish-brown, strongly sternutatory; microscopically - numerous starch grains, .003-02 Mm. (1/8325-1/1250') broad, raphides of calcium oxalate, fragments with tracheae having walls with scalariform or reticulate thickenings, often lemon-yellow content, sclerenchymatous fibres, occasional fragments of reddish-brown cork. Solvent: alcohol. Dose, gr. 1-4 (.06-.26 Gm.).

Adulterations. - Rhizome of allied plants, also those of Spathyema (Symplocarpius) foetida.

Commercial. - Rhizome is collected chiefly in autumn, sometimes just before flowering, washed, dried, entire or sliced, and, owing to likely deterioration, should not be kept more than a year. Fresh leaves in contact with the skin often produce itching, and when carelessly gathered and cooked, as spinach, in place of marsh marigold (cowslip - Cal'tha pains'tris), cause very serious results.

Constituents. - Protoveratrine .03 p. c., Jervine .1 p. c, Rubijer-vine .005 p. c, Pseudojervine, Protoveratridine (decomposition product), Cevadine, veratramarin (bitter glucoside), jervic acid, fat, resin, gum, starch; veratroidine no longer considered an alkaloid, but a mixture of amorphous bases.

Protoveratrine, C32H51NO11. - Most important; white shining crystals, soluble in chloroform, hot alcohol; solution greenish with H2SO4, changing to blue, violet.

Jervine, C26H37NO3. - Most abundant; white crystals, tasteless, non-sternutatory, slightly toxic, soluble in alcohol, acetone, chloroform.

Rubijervine, C26H43NO2+H2O. - White prisms, distinguished from jervine by the ready solubility of its nitrate and sulphate; almost inert.

Pseudojervine, C29H43NO7. - White crystals, soluble in alcohol; almost inert.

Preparations. - 1. Fluidextractum Veratri Viridis. Fluidextract of Veratrum Viride. (Syn., Fldext. Verat. Vir., Fluid Extract of Veratrum Viride, Fluidextract of Green Hellebore; Fr. Extrait fluide de Veratre americain; Ger. Grungemerfluidextrakt.)

Manufacture: Similar to Fluidextractum Sabal, page 95; menstruum: alcohol. Dose, j-4 (.06-.26 Gm.).

2. Tinctura Veratri Viridis. Tincture of Veratrum Viride. (Syn., Tr. Verat. Vir., Tincture of Green (American) Hellebore; Fr. Teinture de Veratre vert: Ger. Grun Nieswurzeltinktur.)

Manufacture: 10 p. c. Moisten 10 Gm. with sufficient alcohol, transfer to percolator without pressing, let stand, well-covered, for 6 hours, pack firmly, add alcohol to saturate and cover, macerate for 24 hours, percolate with alcohol q. s. 100 Ml. (Co.). Dose, ij-10 (.13-.6 M1. (Cc.)).

Unoff. Preps.: Extract, dose, gr. 1/8-1/4 (.008-016 Gm.). Dr. Norwood's Tincture, 50 p. c, saturated, being the same strength as the official tincture of 1870, dose, v-8 (.3-.5 Ml. (Cc.)).

Properties. - Sedative, emetic, diaphoretic, irritant, sternutatory, errhine. This resembles aconite very closely in action, being a cardiac depressant and spinal paralyzant. It diminishes the frequency and force of cardiac contractions, by depressing heart muscle, and stimulating inhibition (pneumogastric), depresses spinal cord, causing muscular relaxation, induces cutaneous relaxation, hence free sweating; large doses produce rapid but very feeble pulse, cold, clammy skin, vomiting, debility, giddiness, impaired vision, partial unconsciousness; it is eliminated by the bowels. Protovera-trine, the most active heart content, slows the pulse by its powerful stimulating influence upon the pneumogastric nerve, while jervine, constituting more than one-half of the total alkaloids, plays an important part in lowering arterial tension by depressing powerfully the heart and vasomotor centre; the so-called veratroidine depresses the cord, paralyzes respiration, and causes emetoca-tharsis, thereby often preventing fatal results.

Uses. - To reduce arterial excitement, spinal spasms, pneumonia, cardiac diseases, typhoid fever. Always given in the commencing or inflammatory stages, heart disease, nervous palpitation, puerperal and epileptiform convulsions, tetanus, chorea, mania-a-potu, diphtheria.

Poisoning, Lncompatibles, Synergists: Same as for aconite.

Allied Plant:

1. Veratrum al'bum, White Hellebore {Veratrum). - The rhizome, official 1820-1880; 1900-1910; Europe - Alps, Pyrenees, Balkans. Plant nearly identical with the official, slight variations being due possibly to climate and soil; constituents same in character and name, except there is no cevadine; the veratralbine of former writers is no longer considered an alkaloid, but a mixture of amorphous bases. Properties and uses precisely as the official.

Fig. 37.   Veratrum album.

Fig. 37. - Veratrum album.