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Home » Plant infomation

Aristolochia serpentaria  L.


Botanical Name


Aristolochia serpentaria L.

English Name


Virginia snakeroot



Aristolochia convolvulacea Small, Aristolochia hastata Nuttall, Aristolochia nashii Kearney, Aristolochia serpentaria var. hastata (Nuttall) Duchartre





General Info


An erect to decumbent herb, growing up to 0.6 m. Young stem ridged, glabrous to hispid. Leaves: petiole 0.5-3.5 cm; leaf blade lanceolate to ovate, 5-15 × 1-5 cm, base truncate to cordate, sinus depth 0-1.5 cm, apex acute to acuminate; surfaces abaxially glabrous or hispid; venation pinnate. Inflorescences from base of stem, an additional flower in axil of stem leaf, racemes; peduncle bracteolate, to 1.5 cm; bracteoles lanceolate, to 3 mm. Flowers: calyx brown-purple, bent; utricle pendent, pear-shaped to ovoid, 0.5-5 cm; syrinx present, ringlike, 1 mm, oblique; tube bent, cylindric, 1 cm; annulus smooth; limb purplish brown, 3-lobed, lobes 0.5 × 0.5 cm, glabrous; gynostemium 3-lobed, globose to crown-shaped, 1.5 mm; anthers 6; ovary 3-locular, to 1.5 cm. Capsule globose, 0.8-2 × 1-2 cm, dehiscence basipetal; valves 6; septa absent. Seeds rounded, ovate, 0.5 × 0.4 cm.

Herb Effects

Antidote, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, bitter tonic, diaphoretic, diuretic and stimulant (root).


Plants For A Future
Flora of North America


Active Ingredients

Aristolochic acid, aristolochine and borneol (plant).

Chemistry of Active Ingredients
Product Categories






Product Categories
Aristolochic acid 61117-05-3 Not Available C17H11NO7 Click Here To Enlarge
Aristolochine 61117-05-3 Not Available C17H11NO7 Click Here To Enlarge
Borneol 10385-78-1 1,7,7-trimethylnorbo
C10H18O Click Here To Enlarge


Medicinal Use

The plant is used in a number of proprietary medicines for treating skin, circulatory and kidney disorders, rheumatism, various pains, obstructions, worms, toothaches, sore throats, fever, sore noses, and colds. The roots are chewed in minute doses or used as a weak tea to promote sweating, stimulate the appetite and promote expectoration. An infusion of roots are used internally to treat rheumatism, pain - but especially sharp pains in the breast, and as a wash for headaches. The bruised root is placed in hollow teeth for treating toothache. An extract of the root can be drunk to relieve stomach pains. The boiled root, or a decoction of the whole plant, can be used to treat fevers. The chewed root or crushed leaves was applied to snakebites. It has also been applied externally to slow-healing wounds and in the treatment of pleurisy.



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