Helenium. False Sunflower, Sneezewort, Sneezeweed. Helenium autumnale.
Helenium. Helenium autumnale L. False Sunflower. Sneezewort. Sneezeweed.—An indigenous perennial, bitter, somewhat acrid composite herb. The leaves and flowers snuffed up in the state of powder produce violent sneezing, and have been used as an errhine. F. J. Koch (A. J. P., 1874, 221) found in the plant a bitter principle believed to be a glucoside, malic acid, traces of tannic acid, albumen, and volatile oil. Reeb found a crystalline bitter principle, helenin, with the formula C20H25O5. This has been physiologically studied by Lamson (J. P. Ex. T., 1913, iv) who found that it is an intense irritant to the mucous membranes, capable of causing a fatal gastroenteritis, and that it acts as a paralysant to the heart and voluntary muscles. This principle must not be confounded with "helenin" from Inula. Helenium nudiflorum Nutt. has similar properties; H. tenuifolium Nutt. , a common roadside weed of Mississippi and Louisiana, is stated by Galloway to produce in animals muscular twitchings, passing into violent convulsions, terminating in death. In four negroes helenium caused spasms with delirium and loss of consciousness. (A. J. P., 1872, 309; DC., 1907, 459.)