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Wild Ginger

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Botanical name: Asarum canadense (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Aristolochiaceae

Others name-Canada Snakeroot. Indian Ginger. Coltsfoot.
Parts Used---Rhizome dried and roots.
Cultivate in--North America, North Carolina, Kansas.

A fragrant little plant, upto 12 inches high, found growing in rich soil on roadsides and in woods. A stemless perennial, much resembling the European Asarum, but with larger leaves, provided with a short spine, leaves usually only two, kidney-shaped, borne on thin fine hairy stems, dark above and paler green under-surface, 4 to 8 inches broad, strongly veined. A solitary bell-shaped flower, dull brown or brownish purple, drooping between the two leaf stems, the fruit a leathery six-celled capsule. It has a yellowish creeping rootstock, slightly jointed, with thin rootlets from the joints. In commerce the rootstock is found in pieces 4 to 5 inches long, 1/8 inch thick, irregular quadrangular, brownish end wrinkled outside, whitish inside, showing a large centre pith hard and brittle, breaking with a short fracture. Odour fragrant, taste aromatic, spicy and slightly bitter--it is collected in the autumn.
Contain---A volatile oil once largely used in perfumery, also resin, a bitter principle called asarin, mucilage, alkaloid, sugar and a substance like camphor.


Use as medicine---Stimulant, carminative, diuretic, diaphoretic. Used in chronic chest complaints, dropsy with albuminaria, painful spasms of bowels and stomach.

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