True unicorn
Aletris farinosa

True unicorn - Aletris farinosa (in the Hemodoraceae family)

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Bitter.

Dosage: Decoction: 1 teaspoon per cup of water; or 1:5 dry strength liquid extract: 10-40 drops 1-4 times per day.

Use: (a) Stomachic, (b) Uterine tonic.

This herb has been confused with false unicorn, which is also a uterine tonic and stimulates digestion. There is much disagreement as to the action of these two herbs, both in literature and clinical use. True unicorn contains the steroidal sapogenin, diosgenin, ranging in yield from 0.17-0.29%. In vivo experiments with rats and cats suggest true unicorn acts mainly as a uterine sedative.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.