Aletris farinosa L. - Liliaceae - colic root, (white) stargrass, unicorn root, ague root, mealy starwort, Mehlige Aletris
Perennial herb, up to 1m tall, native to eastern North America; basal rosette of narrow leaves, pale yellowish-green, linear-lanceolate, 8-20cm; raceme 10-20cm; pedicels very short; perianth tubular-oblong, white, 8-10mm, perianth-lobes narrowly triangular; seeds 0.7mm.
The root contains saponins with the steoridal sapogenin diosgenin as aglycon.
[Sterols. CVII. Steroidal Sapogenins of Aletris, Asparagus and Lilium*., Marker, R. E., Turner, D. L., Shabica, A.C., Jones, E.M., Krueger, J., Surmatis, J.D., Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol.62(10), 1940, 2620-2621]
„The parts used, most commonly prepared as the elixir or as fluid extract, are the dried rhizome and roots of the plant. It has often been recommended and used in the past in the case of uterine irregularities, but its empirical importance is somewhat obscure because of the confusion that once existet in its identification…“
[Pharmacological Studies. I. Aletris farinosa., Butler, C.L., Costello, C.H., Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, Vol.33(6), 1944, 177-183]
A new cheilanthane sesterterpene was isolated from the roots of Aletris farinosa. It possesses an unusual malonate half-ester functional group.
[Structure and Absolute Configuration of Methyl (3 R)-Malonyl-(13 S)-hydroxycheilanth-17-en-19-oate, a Sesterterpene Derivative from the Roots of Aletris farinosa., Challinor, V.L., Chap, S., Lehmann, R.P., Bernhardt, P.V., De Voss, J.J., Journal of natural products, Vol.76(4), 2013, 485-488]
The botanical cabinet [C. Loddiges], vol.12, t.1161 (1827) [T. Boys]