Trillium. Beth Root. Trillium erectum.
Trillium. N. F. IV. Beth Root. Birth Root. Wake Room. Trillium, Fr., G.—"The dried rhizomes of Trillium erectum Linné and closely allied species of Trillium (Fam. Liliaceae)." N. F.
It is described in the N. F. as follows: "Rhizome oblique, globular, oblong or obconical, truncate, below, terminated by a small bud surrounded by a sheath of scarious leaf bases, annulated by leaf scars and fissured by stem scars. It is from 0.6 to 5 cm. in length and from 0.6 to 2.5 cm. in width, more or less compressed laterally, rootlet scars in several concentric rows on the under side in the upper portions. Externally yellowish to reddish-brown; internally of a pale yellow; fracture somewhat uneven with a more or less spongy appearance. Odor distinct; taste bitter and acrid with a sensation of warmth in the throat and when chewed causing an increased flow of saliva. Trillium yields not more than 5 per cent. of ash."
The indigenous species, T. erectum L. is said to have been employed by the aborigines, and also used by the early settlers; it still has some vogue under the name of beth root as an astringent and tonic expectorant; also in hemorrhages and to hasten parturition and as a local irritant in skin diseases. Dose, of powdered root, a. drachm (3.9 Gm.) three times a day. E. S. Wayne found in it a substance supposed to be saponin. It is said also to contain volatile oil and tannic acid. D. J. Prendergast believes that the Trillium erectum contains a glucoside similar to convallamarin. (Am. Drug., Nov., 1887.) For details, see 16th edition, U. S. D. Vivian I. Reid (A. J. P., 1892, 67) found a small quantity of fixed oil, saponin to the extent of 4.86 per cent. and an acid crystalline principle which is colored purplish-brown by sulphuric acid and light green with sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate.
This rhizome was introduced into the N. F. IV to use in the preparation of the fluidextract of trillium with three volumes of alcohol and one volume of water. The fluidextract is an ingredient in compound elixir of viburnum opulus.