Mezereon - Daphne mezereum

Also known as daphne, spurge flax, spurge laurel, spurge olive and wild pepper. This is a small shrub from Europe and Asia which now also grows in parts of the USA and Canada. The stem is covered in leathery, greyish-brown bark, and grows smooth, alternate leaves. From February to April, rose-purple flowers bloom, and the fruit is a red berry.

The bark of this shrub has cathartic, diuretic, emetic, rubefacient and stimulant properties. It was once used as a purgative, but is not often used today. Some homeopaths use this herb for skin problems, respiratory and digestive complaints. The mezereon plant is actually poisonous to humans, and medical advice should be sought before use. People have been killed by eating 3 or 4 of the berries, and it is said that humans will be poisoned just by eating birds that have eaten the berries.

Me*ze"re*on (?), n. [F. m'ez'er'eon, Per. mazriy&umac;n.] Bot.

A small European shrub (Daphne Mezereum), whose acrid bark is used in medicine.


© Webster 1913.

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