12 in­ter­est­ing facts about salad burnet •

NZ Lifestyle Block - - Plants With A Purpose -

The genus name San­guisorba comes from the Greek ‘san­guis’ mean­ing blood and ‘sor­bere’ to staunch be­cause of its tra­di­tional use stop­ping bleed­ing, both in­ter­nally and ex­ter­nally. The great, 16th cen­tury English botanist John Ger­ard de­scribed it a ‘cap­i­tal wound herb.’

The dis­in­fec­tant and an­ti­sep­tic prop­er­ties were also val­ued for sores, sun­burn, bites and ul­cers. There is lit­tle re­search to con­firm salad burnet’s blood flow re­duc­ing prop­er­ties, though it does show some an­tibi­otic prop­er­ties.

Salad burnet’s most fa­mous use was prob­a­bly added to claret or ale or re­fresh­ing sum­mer drinks. Ac­cord­ing to Ger­ard it would “make the hart merry and glad, as also put into wine, to which it yeldeth a cer­tain grace in the drink­ing.”

Her­bal­ist Ni­cholas Culpeper, au­thor of Culpeper’s Com­plete Herbal (1653) called salad burnet ‘a most pre­cious herb’ and said the continual use of it ‘pre­serves the body in health and vigour.’

Drunk as a tea it is mildly di­uretic. It is astrin­gent and was val­ued as a tonic, for aid­ing di­ges­tion and re­liev­ing di­ar­rhoea. As a cool­ing herb it was used to pro­mote per­spi­ra­tion.

A larger plant, the great burnet ( San­guisorba of­fic­i­nalis) was pre­ferred as the of­fi­cial medic­i­nal herb, prob­a­bly due to its size, how­ever both species have sim­i­lar medic­i­nal prop­er­ties.

Salad burnet’s flow­ers are fe­male at the top, male at the bot­tom and her­maph­ro­dite in­be­tween.

The Ro­mans took salad burnet into bat­tle, be­liev­ing its blood-clot­ting prop­er­ties would save them if they were wounded.

An in­fu­sion of salad burnet was be­lieved to cure gout and rheuma­tism.

A fa­cial wash can be used for sun­burnt or trou­bled skin.

Salad burnet can be used to sta­bilise banks, in rock gar­dens and does well in a mixed meadow.

It is one of the few plants not over­whelmed by mint.

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