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  • Asarum Europaeum
  • Aristoloch
  • Asarum canadense L.
  • Aristolochiaceae

Common Names

herbsAsarum Europaeum:
herbsEuropean snakeroot
herbsPublic house plant
herbsWild nard
herbsAsarum canadense L.:
herbsCanada snake root
herbsIndian ginger
herbsVermont snake root
herbsWild Canada ginger
herbsWild ginger

Parts Usually Used

Asarum Europaeum - Rootstock, leaves
Asarum canadense L. - Root

Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Asarum Europaeum
Asarum is a perennial, evergreen plant; a low plant with a horizontal, creeping rootstock and prostrate stem. Two long-petioled, upright, shiny, leathery, dark green leaves grow from each bud on the stem, rising from 2-4 inches above the ground. The large, solitary flowers appear from March to May and are characterized by a green-brown color on the outside, reddish-black on the inside.

Asarum canadense L.
Asarum canadense is a perennial plant; the knobby, root of the plant is round and fleshy, with dividing stem supporting a heart-shaped, deep green above and a light green below, soft, woolly and handsomely veined leaf, there being two to a plant. A single flower is small and brownish-purple, growing only a few inches high and covered by the dead leaves that carpet the woods. The taste is pungent and bitter.

Where Found

Asarum Europaeum Grows in European woods
Asarum canadense L. Grows in rich woods from Maine to Michigan, and southward.

Medicinal Properties

Asarum Europaeum - Rootstock: diuretic, emetic, purgative Leaves: cathartic, emetic, errhine
Asarum canadense L. - Stimulant, carminative, tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic


Asarum Europaeum - Basic use is emetic. It is mixed with lance-leaf plantain to stop mucus congestion in the nose and respiratory passages. Asarum is too dangerous to be used without medical supervision.

Asarum canadense L. - Used as an appetite stimulant. Externally, used to ease the pains of gout, remove freckles, as a poultice for snakebites, colds, whooping cough, headache, dysmenorrhea, hysteria, typhus, alcoholism, dropsy, ague, and fevers. Used by Native Americans as a ginger substitute for its flavor.

Formulas or Dosages

Do not boil this herb; boiling weakens its properties.


Asarum Europaeum - Asarum is too dangerous to be used without medical supervision.
Asarum canadense L. - Large doses cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Use under medical supervision.

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