Herb: Anchusa


Latin name: Anchusa azurea


Synonyms: Anchusa italica


Family: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)



Medicinal use of Anchusa:

The whole plant is antitussive, depurative, diaphoretic and diuretic. It is harvested when in flower and dried for later use. The dried and powdered herb is used as a poultice to treat inflammations. Use internally with caution, the plant contains the alkaloid cynoglossine which can have a paralyzing effect.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
June to
August

Habitat of the herb:

Sides of arable fields, waste places, roadsides and steppes on stony hills.

Edible parts of Anchusa:

Flowers - raw. An excellent and decorative addition to the salad bowl, or used as a garnish. The tender young leaves and young flowering shoots can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable.

Other uses of the herb:

A red dye is obtained from the root. This was at one time used as a basis for some cosmetics.

Propagation of Anchusa:

Seed - sow spring in pots of sandy soil. An overnight drop in temperature helps germination. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 4 weeks at 21C. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in early spring. Root cuttings in autumn or early winter. Late winter is best.

Cultivation of the herb:

Sides of arable fields, waste places, roadsides and steppes on stony hills.

Known hazards of Anchusa azurea:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.