Aletris, N.F. is a fluid extract of the rhizome of Aletris farinosa, a plant of the lily family (Liliaceae). This plant is known by many common names including unicorn root, stargrass, or devil’s-bit.  A. farinosa grows in the eastern United States, and had been used by Native Americans to treat diarrhea and rheumatism.  More recently, this plant has been used as a laxative, a sedative, a treatment for menstrual disorders, and a general tonic.  The chemical constituents of Aletris root are not well studied, and although there are claims that these compounds possess estrogenic properties, this has not been clinically established.

This product was sold by the Parke-Davis Company.  This company was founded by Hervey Parke in 1866 in Detroit, Michigan. The company pioneered and built the first modern pharmaceutical laboratory.  Although it became a subsidiary of Pfizer in 2000, it was once America’s largest pharmaceutical company.


Aletris (2011)  I A. DerMarderosian & J. A. Beutler (Eds.), The review of natural products.  Retrieved from Accessed Nov. 12, 2011.

Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. New York, NY: J. Wiley and Sons; 1980.

2000: Pfizer joins forces with Warner-Lambert, Web site: Accessed 11/12/2011
True Unicorn Root Herb – Uses And Side Effects, Web site: Accessed 11/12/2011

Wright, J. E.  US Patent 1885 (CA 314212 ).

Barr, J. R.  US Patent 1885 (CA 329697).


Dan Chen
November, 2011