False Unicorn Root

Chamaelirium luteum, Liliaceae. This plant is also known as helonias root, devil's bit and blazing star. The dried rhizome and root are the parts of the plant used.

The underground parts are dug up in the Autumn.

Functions of false unicorn root

False unicorn root is another herb from the Native American tradition. It is one of the best tonics for the female reproductive system but it can be equally beneficial for men. It:

  • contains hormone like saponins which account for its action as an ovarian and uterine tonic. It is used specifically for uterine weakness and over-relaxation, characterised by a dragging sensation, a feeling of downward pressure in the pelvis, often associated with irritability and depression.
  • has been used to encourage fertility in women and treating impotence in men.
  • has an adaptogenic or balancing effect on the hormones, helping to relieve many disorders of the female reproductive tract, menstrual irregularities and premenstrual syndrome which are related to hormonal imbalance.
  • contains bitters which have a tonic effect on the liver and digestive tract. This will benefit the appetite and digestion and relieve nausea and vomiting associated with pregnancy.
  • has been used to prevent a threatened miscarriage and stop hemorrhage.

Notes on false unicorn root

  • Large doses may cause nausea and vomiting.


Decoction: put 1-2 teaspoonsful of the root in a cup of water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes. This should be taken three times per day. For a threatened miscarriage it may be drunk copiously.

Tincture: take 2-4 ml of the tincture three times per day.


Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, D. 2001, Healthy Bones and Joints. Newleaf.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.




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