Nowadays hellebores grace the gardens of many people, providing a welcome sight in the depths of winter as they flower in spite of the cold. For this quality they are often called the 'Christmas Rose'.
However, hellebore wasn't always thought of so fondly. If you look back through history, hellebore has been used as both a medicine and a poison. It was traditionally used as a cure for paralysis and gout, yet it caused more problems than it solved - its list of side-effects stretch from tinnitus and vertigo to heart attack, stupors and death. Not one to go brewing in your tea!
Due to its sinister capabilities, folklore has cloaked this plant in darkness and mystery - it is often associated with witchcraft. It is also famed for being the agent of the death of Alexander the Great. A fascinating little plant - and one which will always seem more positive than otherwise to me. I just love it's star-shaped blooms.