Northern biteroot is gnarled and thick, and looks like ginger except for its blue tinge and citrus smell when cut. It is native to only a small area but has been widely exported and grown locally across human lands for it’s mellowing properties. For those not used to spicy cuisine, biteroot is a godsend and a thick sauce made from it is politely kept on the side. By adding it on top of the spicy dish or eating it alongside, one can mitigate the heat and avoid the shame of crying into the offending dish before presumably horrified hosts.
Aside from its culinary uses, biteroot is commonly used in alchemical cures that many adventurers should be familiar with. Dwarf’s biteroot is a tough strand of dehydrated root, somewhat with the consistency of jerked meat, that has had its power concetrated so that it is even more effective. As the name suggest, it is frequently made by dwarven alchemists to help explorers venturing into the Underdark. Where normal biteroot tempers spices, dwarf’s biteroot tempers many natural poisons by making their effects milder. In tropical areas there is little call for biteroot among the natives for its culinary uses, but the plant is still grown to be made into dwarf’s biteroot which wards against the many venomous creatures of the jungle.
Another use of biteroot is as a spell component in magic which involves muting extreme effects. From iron fist to oak skin, spellcasters find it easier to endure harmful effects when using blackened biteroot. Alchemists prepare this component by burying the biteroot in black mud, leaching much of the dampening power from the surrounding earth and infusing the root with a supernatural mellowing effect. When squeezed flat during a casting, the biteroot makes the magical protection more powerful and many adventuring parties headed for planar locales carry blackened biteroot to help their journey.
The third popular use of biteroot is also the rarest type because of the difficulty in procuring it. Plants grow to unimaginable degrees in the Feywild where oaks are always towering, ferns can reach a man’s chest, and grapevines are usually strong enough to swing on. The biteroot that grows there is no exception and it takes the root’s cooling power to whole new degrees. Even after being pulled from the ground, Feywild biteroot feels cool to the touch and will even develop frost on cool mornings. When treated with methods known to the eladrin and a few others it becomes icy biteroot which extends its culinary effects into magical ones when used as a spell component. Mages who make use of icy biteroot find that they are able to turn their fiery spells into cold ones with flames that freeze rather than burn. Although many think that this is just a wild tale told be travelers, icy biteroot is well known from several popular folk tales and in planar cities it is sometimes seen for sale.
If you’re looking for poisons to add to your 4e game, I highly recommend Poisoncraft from One Bad Egg. It’s a great resource and they’re great designers. I also recommend Power2ool (again) which I used to make all these items surprisingly quickly.