from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Any of several herbs or woody vines of the genus Aristolochia having showy, malodorous, purplish-brown to yellowish flowers with peculiar or unusual shapes. The European species A. clematitis was used as a folk medicine to aid childbirth.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. Certain plant species of the genus Aristolochia.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A genus of herbs and shrubs (Aristolochia), reputed to have medicinal properties.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In botany: The common name of the European species of Aristolochia, A. Clematitis, from its supposed remedial powers in parturition, and from it transferred to some American species, which are more usually known as snakeroot.
  • n. Same as birthroot.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. creeping plant having curving flowers thought to resemble fetuses; native to Europe; naturalized Great Britain and eastern North America


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

birth +‎ wort


  • And the flowers of silver alone, in the finest powder; and birthwort, when scraped and finely pounded, may be sprinkled on the part.

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  • It might have been a bitter root, such as Patroclus later used on a similar wound; an ancient commentator suggested Achillea (woundwort) or Aristolochia (birthwort).

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  • One of the most remarkable examples of this insect-agency in the distribution of the pollen is furnished by the birthwort

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  • Our ultimate goal is to provide clear policy guidelines of how to reduce the potentially dangerous use of birthwort in rural communities in the core countries of use thus informing national and international policies on development in health care.

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  • Aristolochia durior, is a climbing vine and part of the birthwort family.


  • Sometimes a pollinated birthwort even bends downward and drops the insect out of its temporary prison!


  • One kind of European birthwort has the habit of "kidnapping" insects that visit its flowers in search of nectar.


  • The "ransom" that the plant seeks is bits of birthwort pollen on the insect's body.


  • consume—birthwort boiled in beer, syrup of savin, powdered aloe and iron—all bitter to the taste and bitter to the soul.

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