Helonias. N. F. IV.
Related entry: Chamaelirium
Helonias. N. F. IV. False Unicorn. Chamaelirium luteum (L.) A. Gray (C. carolinianum Willd., Helonias dioica Pursh.). Starwort.—"The dried rhizome and roots of Chamaelirium luteum (Linne) A. Gray. (Fam. Liliaceae)." N. F. It is described by the N. F. as follows: "Rhizome upright, or oblique, nearly cylindrical, from 0.5 to 3 cm. in length and about 1 cm. in diameter; externally grayish-brown, annulate from scars of bud-scales; upper portion with leaf bases enclosing a small bud; oblique rhizomes with a few stem scars about 0.5 mm. in diameter; lower portion with numerous whitish or pale yellowish, nearly straight or slightly curved wiry roots, from 5 to 8 cm. in length; fracture hard and horny; internally grayish-yellow, cortex from 3 to 4 mm. in thickness, central cylinder with three or four circles of small, nearly circular fibro-vascular bundles. Odor distinctive; taste bitter, slightly astringent. Sections of the rhizome, when examined under the microscope, show parenchyma cells with numerous spherical or ellipsoidal starch grains, varying from 0.002 to 0.015 mm. in diameter; numerous raphides varying from 0.025 to 0.035 mm. in length; the fibro-vascular bundles vary from 0.2 to 0.3 mm. in diameter, the tracheae being at the periphery and the walls marked either with annular or reticulate thickenings or simple pores. In the root the cortex is always attached and there are usually six mestome strands. Helonias yields not more than 5 per cent. of ash." N. F. The rhizome and roots are used in medicine. They resemble those of Aletris but the rootlets of helonias are whitish or pale yellowish, nearly straight, grayish-yellow internally and of a bitter, slightly astringent taste. Fluidextractum Helionatis is official in the N. F. (see Part III).