Virginian Snakeroot

(Aristolochia serpentaria) An American plant of the same genus as Birthwort. The early use was as a remedy for snakebite (LLoyd), which is pure doctrine of signatures, though the native American had never heard of such a theory. The point is that the roots are writhed, like snakes, and that accounts for both the common and specific names. In general, the Indians simply chewed the root and applied it, or spat it, on the bite (Weiner), and chewing the leaves is still an Indiana way of treating it (Tyler). Some groups also blew the root decoction on to fever patients (Coffey). That same preparation was taken for coughs (Corlett), and the root was also used to put in a hollow tooth to cure toothache (Coffey). It was the root, powdered, that was used by slaves in America to combat pneumonia (Laguerre). It is a well-known emmenagogue, especially in the form of a tincture known as Hiera Pina (Hikey Pikey in East Anglia), of aloes, snakeroot and ginger (V G Hatfield).

Viscum album > MISTLETOE Vitex agnus-castus > CHASTE TREE Vitis vinifera > GRAPE VINE

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