Helleborus niger Linn

Family ► Ranunculaceae.

Habitat ► Native to sub-alpine woods in Southern and Eastern Europe. Grown in Indian gardens.

English ► Black Hellebore, Christmas Rose.

Ayurvedic ► Khuraasaani Kutaki.

Unani ► Kharbaq Siyah, Kutaki.

Action ► Digitalis-like action in cardiac disorders, drastic purgative, abortifacient, diuretic, local anaesthetic, narcotic.

The rhizome contains cardiac glyco-sides; helleborin, helleborein, hellebrin and others based on helleborigenin.

Helleborin has a burning, acrid taste and is narcotic. Helleborein has a sweetish taste and is a highly active cardiac poison. Helleborin and veratrin (steroidal saponins), helle-brin or helleborein (steroid glycoside) are main constituents of the root and leaves. The plant irritates mucous membranes.

A related species, Helleborus virdis Linn. (Bear's Foot, Green Hellebore) is known as Kaali Kutaki and Krishna-bhedi. The plant contains magno-florine and corytuberine. The roots and rhizomes gave hellebrin, desgluco-hellebrin, hellebrigenin, bufatetraeno-lide, beta-ecdysterone and 5beta-hy-droxyecdysterone.

Habitat ► The Himalaya, Khasi Hills; cultivated in Indian gardens.

English ► Common Yellow Day-lily, Tawny Day-lily, Orange Day-lily.

Action ► Flower—analgesic, especially in child birth; blood purifier. (Flowers are sold in Chinese food shops as Gum-Tsoy or Gum-Jum.)

Hemerocallin, a neurotoxic principle, has been found in Hemerocallis sp. The plant gave amino acid—oxyp-innatanine.

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