Herb Reference Guide

Chamaelirium

History

A few different common names for this plant are found scattered throughout most references; Helonias Root and False Unicorn more frequently used but Starwort, Blazing Star, Devil's Bit and Fairy Wand show up regionally as well. This plant in addition to having an identity crisis in terms of how we have chosen to commonly name it has a history of adulteration going back to the Eclectic period of medicine in the US (late 1800’s) where druggists commonly found the plant Aletris farinosa being substituted. Although common names are referred to most of the time in herbalism, using the scientific name and properly identifying the herb material with scientific methods to validate the physical characteristics of the plant are one of the steps to insure purity. The plant is in the Lilly family (Liliaceae) and has the characteristic spatula shaped leaves at the base of a long, round smooth stem which ends in a small spike of white flowers. It's had several medicinal uses over time depending on where it was being used and who was using it. It was highly valued though for helping to maintain a healthy tone of the internal organs of the female reproductive system by more than one group of people where the plant grew.*

Function

The underground root has been used in preparations throughout history to support the female reproductive system.* The steroidal sapponins are widely thought to be responsible for much of the medicinal properties attributed to Chamaelirium root.* When used appropriately it is very well tolerated and the American Herbal Products association has classified it as safety class 1.A (Herbs that can be safely consumed when used appropriately/Herbs for which no clinically relevant interactions are expected).

Uses of Chamaelirium

Disclaimer

This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Active Constituents

Steroidal Sapponins; chamaelirin and aglycone diosgenin.

Parts Used

  • Root

Important precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation unless under the recommendation of a health care practitioner. If you have a medical condition or take medications, please consult with your doctor before use.

Additional Resources

Marongiu B, Piras A, Porcedda S. Comparative analysis of the oil and supercritical CO2 extract of Elettaria cardamomum (L.) Maton. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Oct 6;52(20):6278-82.