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Dropwort
Apiaceae
Oenanthe crocata


Thunder
Thunder
Type Categories Useful Parts

Herb


Apiaceae Family

Oenanthe Genus
Other Names for this Plant

Hemlock Water, Horsebane. Dead Tongue. Five-Fingered Root. Water Lovage. Yellow Water Dropwort


Location

Native to England and France.

Physical Description
It is a large, stout plant, 3 to 5 feet high, and the stems thick, erect, much branched above, furrowed, hollow, tough, dark green and smooth. The roots are perennial and fleshy, of a pale yellow color

The leaves are somewhat celery-like in form, and the flowers are in bloom in June and July, and are borne in large umbels. There is considerable variety in the form of the leafsegments, the number of rays in the umbel, and of the involucre bracts. The lower leaves, with very short, sheathing footstalks, are large and spreading, reaching more than a foot in length, broadly triangular in outline and tripinnate. The leaflets are stalkless, 1 to 1 1/2 inch long, roundish, with a wedge-shaped base, deeply and irregularly lobed, dark green, paler and shining beneath. The upper leaves are much smaller, nearly stalkless, the segments narrower and acute.




Compare Species
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Apiaceae
Apiales
Apiales
Api Order (Carrot)
Euasterids II
Euasterids II
Real Stars Group Two
Asteridae
Asteridae
Class of Stars (Daisies)
Core Eudicots
Core Eudicots
Main, Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Eudicots
Eudicots
Real, Two First-Leaves (Dicots)
Mesangiospermae
Mesangiospermae
Half Capsule Seed Division
Magnoliophyta
Magnoliophyta
Magnolia Division
Spermatophytes
Spermatophytes
Seed Plants
Euphyllophytina
Real Land Plants
Polysporangiates
Multiple Spore Sub-Kingdom
Stomatophytes
Stomatophytes
Air Pores Sub-Kingdom
Embryophytes
Embryophytes
Multicellular Land Plants
Streptobionta
Streptobionta
Multicellular Plants
Plantae
Plantae
Plants
Eukaryota
Eukaryota
Cells with a Nucleus


General Information

In botanical works of the 16th and 17th centuries it was often confounded with Cicuta virosa, an error which has even been made in more recent times, in fact, only one botanist of the 19th Century described the plant with sufficient exactness for its recognition, and that was Delobel, who published his Botany in 1851

Medicinal Uses: This most poisonous of Englands indigenous plants is not official and has never been used to any extent in medicine, though in some cases it has been taken with effect in eruptive diseases of the skin, being given at first in small doses, gradually increased.

Great caution must be exercised in the use of the tincture. The dose of the tincture is 1 to 5 drops. The roots have likewise been used in poultices to whitlows and to foul ulcers, both in man and horned cattle.

Eruptions of the skin in small doses, gall stones, tincture 1-5 drops. Whitlows & foul ulcers in man & cattle, galled horses backs roots as poultice.

Severe plant poisoning is relatively uncommon in adults. It is reported two adults who ingested hemlock water dropwort roots, having mistaken them for wild parsnip. One developed prolonged convulsions, severe metabolic acidosis, and respiratory distress requiring mechanical ventilation. The toxin–oenanthotoxin–was detected in the gastric aspirate and measured by high performance liquid chromatography.

It is a remedy that is highly recommended in epilepsy; but only in cases where there is more or less marked anemia of the brain and spinal cord. It appears to increase the circulation and nutrition of the brain and spinal cord in these conditions. Therefore in cases where there is fullness of capillary vessels of the brain and spinal cord it is contra-indicated. Should it produce headache dose should be reduced.

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Warning: Virulently poisonous!! The active poison being oenanthotoxin, causing Signs of poisoning include nausea, dizziness, stomach pain, vomiting, sweating, drooling, blood in the urine, weakness, confusion, slurred speech, muscle spasm, increased breathing rate, turning blue, exhaustion, seizure, convulsions, unconsciousness, and death in Humans, esp. children, and cattle



Dropwort
Curtis’s Botanical Magazine London, 1787-1800 engraving by Lansdown Guilding [Image in the public Domain]

Comment: Dropwort, Oenanthe crocata

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