Veratrum viride (Indian poke, Indian hellebore, false hellebore, green false hellebore) is a species of Veratrum native to eastern and western (but not central) North America. It is extremely toxic, and is considered a pest plant by farmers with livestock. The species has acquired a large number of common names within its native range, including American false hellebore, American white hellebore, bear corn, big hellebore, corn lily, devils bite, duck retten, itch-weed, itchweed, poor Annie, blue hellebore, and tickleweed.



It is used externally by several Native American nations. Although is rarely ever used in modern herbalism due to its concentration of various alkaloids, it has been used in the past against high blood pressure and rapid heartbeat; a standardized extract of V. viride alkaloids known as alkavervir was used in the 1950s and 1960s as an antihypertensive. The root contains even higher concentrations than the aerial parts


The root is analgesic, diaphoretic, emetic. expectorant, febrifuge, narcotic and sedative. It has been used in the treatment of acute cases of pneumonia, peritonitis and threatened apoplexy. A decoction of the root has been used in the treatment of chronic coughs and constipation. A portion of the root has been chewed, or a decoction used, in the treatment of stomach pain. The roots are harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use. The root has been used to make a skin wash and compresses for bruises, sprains and fractures. The powdered root has been applied as a healing agent to wounds and as a delousing agent. The stems have been scraped and the powder snuffed to induce sneezing. An infusion of the leaves has been used as a wash to treat aches and pains. The plant is used in homeopathic preparations to slow the heart rate.


The plant is highly toxic, causing nausea and vomiting. If the poison is not evacuated, cold sweat and vertigo appears. Respiration slows, cardiac rhythm and blood pressure falls, eventually leading to death. The toxic effects of veratrum alkaloids are directly induced by antagonism of adrenergic receptors.


  • None are recorded. Please consult your doctor.

Other names

guilder rose


Source:  Wikipedia,




































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