A perennial and evergreen plant, 5-15 cm tall, with a brownish, thick and prostrate stem, which tends to extend to 30 cm in length. Full of clinging hairs and creeping root. The plant has a peculiar smell. The leaves are simple, on long stems, 5-8 cm in diameter, with clearly visible veins. The leaf is also covered with close-fitting hair on both sides, it has a specific shape that resembles a horse's foot. Asarabacca leaves become dark green, leathery, shiny on top and hairy on the underside; the new leaves are distinctly lighter, softer, also on long stems. A flower bud begins to form between the leaves already in autumn. The flowers are fleshy, small (about 1 cm), bisexual, solitary, red-brown in color, usually formed on the tops of young spring shoots. Fruit - seed box. The seeds are on average 3 mm long. The plant blooms very early: April-May. Pollinators are ants.

The leaves, which are collected during flowering, as well as the rhizomes, which are collected in early spring, are used for medicinal purposes. The plant is dried as usual in a shady and ventilated place, or in forced dryers at a temperature not exceeding 35C. Ready drug is stored in a glass container for no longer than one year.

The chemical composition of Asarabacca has been insufficiently studied, although it has been determined that this plant contains various biologically valuable substances. Roots, rhizomes and the surface part contain essential substances (<1%), which consists of up to 35% azaron and diazoron, 2-3% azaryl aldehyde, 1-2% 1-pinene, 12-15% eugenol, as well as methyleugenol, bornyl acetate, resins, tannins, flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol), mucilage, starch and organic acids. Glycosides and the alkaloid azarin are also found throughout the plant.

Medicinal significance

Asarabacca has emetic, sedative, choleretic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, anti-helminthic, diarrheic, as well as lactiferous properties.

It has been experimentally determined that Asarabacca is able to improve heart function, strengthens heart contraction, narrows peripheral blood vessels, increases arterial blood pressure and venous tone, stimulates the activity of sweat glands, as well as the secretory activity of the digestive tract, activates intestinal peristalsis. The plant also induces vomiting and has a stimulating effect on the heart.

In ancient times, Asarabacca was used much more widely than it is today. Different parts of the plant were used in folk medicine. Asarabacca was used to improve digestive processes, treat gastritis, enteritis, liver diseases, edema, stomach ulcer, bronchitis, expel helminths and increase menstruation.

It was also used in folk medicine to treat malaria. Decoctions of the roots were also used to combat alcoholism because it induced vomiting. But it is worth remembering that this method can only be used if the person himself has chosen it. In the past, women "on the sly" heard their husbands with a decoction of these plants and tried to make the husband dislike alcohol, but this is against a person's own will and such behavior is unacceptable.

Asarabacca can also be used externally to treat various skin diseases, for example, the plant's juice is applied to areas affected by skin diseases. Fresh leaves ground into a paste can be applied to boils.

Not recommended for use

Asarabacca is a poisonous plant. The use of this plant requires special attention, because if you overdose even a little, it will cause severe vomiting. It is clear that this plant should not be used by children, as well as women during pregnancy and lactation.