Description of effects
For a channeler
The main feature of forkroot is the inhibition of access to the True Source. Physical symptoms of forkroot poisoning for a channeler initially include fatigue, dizziness, weakness to the point of inability to move or speak until finally unconsciousness. It takes effect fairly quickly while its effects take a while to wear off. After revival from the unconscious state, weakness persists as does difficulty with channeling. Walking can help speed the regaining of strength and channeling ability. In the days following use of forkroot, the channeler will experience headaches and stomach cramps. At lower doses, many of those unpleasant side effects can be avoided while still inhibiting or limiting access to the Source.
Forkroot does not affect non-channelers in the same way. A person who cannot channel can consume far greater quantities of forkroot with vastly reduced side effects. The amount needed to knock out a channeler would barely affect some one unable to touch the True Source. It seems that forkroot was an herbal remedy of some kind before the discovery of its effect on channelers, but its purpose is never explicitly stated.
Usages against channelers
The effects of forkroot were discovered by Ronde Macura, who prepared the herbs in a tea. She serves the tea to Elayne Trakand and Nynaeve al'Meara in Mardecin, brewed so strongly that the same concoction made Macura and Luci--non-channelers--lose consciousness. The tea's taste is described as cool and minty. At one point Nynaeve incorrectly calls it "forktongue root".
The White Tower
Macura sends word to the White Tower about the usefulness of forkroot after Elayne and Nynaeve flee. With this knowledge Elaida orders Joline and Teslyn to utilize it in the capture of Elayne and Nynaeve. Instead, Teslyn doses Joline with the forkroot to prevent her from interfering in Elayne and Nynaeve's escape from Ebou Dar.
Forkroot becomes common knowledge in the White Tower which annoys Elaida. Aes Sedai experiment with the herb, developing precise dosages for desired level of channeling inhibition. They prepare the forkroot in tincture form, though perhaps it is administered in tea.
After being captured at the Northharbor, Egwene al'Vere is drugged with the forkroot tincture. Throughout her captivity the Tower continues to drug her such that she can channel hardly a trickle, not enough to "cause any problems."
The Seanchan produce the forkroot in Almizar, preparing the herb by roasting (in flat pans over charcoal braziers) and grinding (using mortars and pestles or sieves) the root. The finished product resembles fine dark grains. There in the Almizar manufactory, Perrin and Tylee obtain large quantities of forkroot, four thousand eight hundred seventy-three pounds and nine ounces to be exact. Perrin and Tylee dump the supply into the aqueduct which leads to the cistern in Malden. The channeling Wise Ones were targeted successfully. Even an unintended target, Morgase, collapses after drinking the water laced with forkroot, though she is an extremely weak channeler.
Daved Hanlon spikes Elayne's tea with forkroot. Nynaeve helps ease some the effects of forkroot on Elyane with greenwort and goatstongue. These alleviate the stomach cramps and help with sleeping off the worst physical symptoms, but weakness and the inaccessibility of the Power remained unmitigated.
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 4
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 10
- Knife of Dreams, Prologue
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 10
- The Fires of Heaven, Chapter 48
- The Path of Daggers, Chapter 1
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 19
- The Path of Daggers, Chapter 25
- Crossroads of Twilight, Chapter 30
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 24
- Winter's Heart, Chapter 14
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 11
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 12
- Knife of Dreams, Chapter 26