Jack-in-the-Pulpit / Wild turnip / Indian turnip
The homeopathic remedy Arum triphyllum is prepared from the herbaceous perennial plant called wild turnip. This plant is native to North America and is distinguished for the extraordinary form of its leaves and is a familiar wild flower. The term Arum has been derived from the Arabic word ‘ar' denoting ‘fire'.
Growing from a distended, plump base of a stem having the appearance of a bulb (corm), wild turnip is an extremely inconsistent species usually grows up to a height of 30 cm to 65 cm bearing three split leaves. This plant bears flowers that are enclosed in a spadix (an inflorescence comprising a spike with a fleshy or solidified axis), which is enveloped by a hood.
The plant arisaema triphyllum bears leaves consisting of three leaflets, each leaflet growing up to a length of 8 cm to 15 cm and 3 cm to 7 cm in width. The leaflets appear together in groups of three on the apex of a long stem growing from a corm. At times, plants of this species are mistaken to be that of poison ivy. This is more often in the instance of non-flowering arisaema triphyllum plants or before the plants come to bloom. The flowers of this plant appear in clusters and the inflorescences have an irregular form and often grow to a length of 8 cm. The flowers of arisaema triphyllum have a greenish-yellow hue with brownish or purple stripes. The spathe or bract of arisaema triphyllum is called ‘the pulpit' and it covers over and encloses a spadix (also called the ‘Jack') that is crowned by minute flowers - both male and female. Usually the flowers are unisexual and in the smaller plants most of the flowers, if not all, are male. However, when the plants age and become mature, they bear larger spadix which produces larger number of female flowers. The arisaema triphyllum plants bloom during the period between April and June.
The flowers of arisaema triphyllum attract flies with their aroma and heat and are, hence, pollinated by them. The fruits of this plant are smooth having a glossy green color and growing up to 1 cm in width. Actually, the fruits are berries bunched together on the stiffened spadix and mature or ripen during the latter part of summer and fall. When the fruits of arisaema triphyllum ripen their color changes to vivid red and soon the plants become dormant. Each fruit or berry usually produces one to five seeds that have a white or pale tan color. The seeds are smoothed, usually having flattened edges and a small piercing point at the apex, while the surface of the bottom is rounded. In case the seeds are liberated from the berry, they germinate in the following spring yielding a plant with a solitary rounded leaf.
The seedlings germinated from the arisaema triphyllum seeds take a long period - around three or even more years, to mature enough to bear flowers. It may be noted that the flowers of this plant are not self pollinating and often the male flowers on any particular plant usually mature and die even before the female flowers of the same plant become mature. Therefore, the female flowers growing on one plant of the species are required to be pollinated by the male flowers of another plant of the same species. As a result of such pollination, inbreeding is slowed down affecting the health of this plant species.
Arisaema triphyllum has a smooth-edged squashed rhizome that is perennial. While the upper portion of the rhizome has a casing or is tunicated like in the onion, the bottom and larger part is tuberous and fleshy having several extended white radicles in a circular form along its upper border. The bottom side of the rhizome is swathed with a dark, slack and crumpled epidermis. The spathe has an oval shape and is sharpened as well as curled around to form a tube at the base, while it is flattened and curved at the top resembling a hood. The color of the spathe varies inside and is propped up by a straight scape upturned at the bottom by petioles and their delicate casings. The spadix, on the other hand, resembles a club and is much smaller compared to the spathe. The spadix is smooth-edged at the end, tapered at the bottom and is encircled either by stamens or ovaries. The higher part of the spadix fades or droops along with the spathe, while the ovaries develop into big compacted cluster of glowing scarlet color berries. Even the leaves, a couple of them, of the arisaema triphyllum plant that may be rising from the extended sheathing foot-stalks are three-folded. The leaflets of this plant that are split into three segments, have an oval shape all though, except being sharpened or pointed at the tip. The leaflets are smooth and have a paler hue on the under-side. When they become mature, these leaflets turn pale bluish-green or greenish-blue, while the two lateral leaflets are shaped like rhomboids.
Plants belonging to the arisaema triphyllum species possess an unusual smell and are bitterly pungent to taste. Apart from the acrid principle, this plant has been found to enclose 10 per cent to 17 per cent starch, gum, sugar, albumen, lignin, extractive and potassium and calcium salts.
The homeopathic remedy arum triph. is generally used to treat colds, especially in the instances when the patient has symptoms like redness in the region of the lower part of the face, cracked and/ or bleeding nose, lips and inside the mouth. In addition, arum triph. is also given to patients who endure hot discharges through the nose and have hot saliva owing to colds. Many homeopaths prescribe this medicine for treating chronic huskiness as well as loss of voice due to exposure to cold or strain on the vocal cord. Arum triphyllum is also effective in alleviating conditions, such as burning feeling and constraint of the throat as well as symptoms like thin, smooth and slippery discharge from the nose.
The arisaema triphyllum plant possesses potently pungent, invigorating, incisive, calefacient (a substance that causes warmth), expectorant, carminative (a medicine that provides relief from flatulence) and diaphoretic (a substance that causes perspiration) properties. The freshly acquired roots of arisaema triphyllum are extremely caustic and, hence, they are not suitable for internal use. However, they can be taken internally when extremely diluted. On the other hand, the dried out roots of the plant are usually indolent and do not cause any harm when taken internally, provided they have not been dried to quickly or left buried in the earth or sand for some time. Generally, arisaema triphyllum roots or their extracts ought to be used mixed with milk or molasses because they normally do not pass on their pungent attribute to any liquor. Freshly obtained arisaema triphyllum roots should be shred or made into a pulp and added to sugar three times the weight of the grated or pulverized roots to form a preserve. The normal dosage of this conserve is one teaspoonful of the substance taken two times daily.
The conserve that is prepared with the arisaema triphyllum roots is used to treat flatulence, stomach cramps, and asthma as well as consumptive affections. Using this medical preparation helps to promote circulation and has the potential to be a very effective external stimulant. In addition, using this remedy has proved to be very effective in treating persistent atrophy (degeneration of an organ or its part owing to any ailment or lack of nutrients), incapacitated habits, intense prostration in typhoid fevers, firmly established rheumatic pains or tenderness in the breast and unceasing catarrh (inflammation of the mucus membranes, especially of the respiratory tract).
As discussed earlier, the homeopathic remedy arum triph. is effective in treating a number of health conditions. This homeopathic medicine is primarily used to cure hay fever, particularly when the left nostril of the patient is affected most, and in treating colds. Arum triphyllum helps to alleviate symptoms like redness in the region of the mouth and the lower portion of the face that is accompanied by cracked, aching and bleeding lips. In addition, the nose as well as the interior of the mouth too is cracked and bleeding along with cracks at the mouth corners. The patient also experiences hot discharges from the nose and even the saliva is hot. This homeopathic remedy is also recommended for treating chronic huskiness as well as loss of voice due to exposure to windy weather, cold and singing for prolonged periods.
The plant wild turnip or Indian turnip, which forms the basis of the homeopathic remedy arum triph., is native to North America and found growing in the wild in the United States and Canada.