Herb: Alkanet


Latin name: Anchusa officinalis


Family: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)



Medicinal use of Alkanet:

All parts of the plant are demulcent and expectorant. They are used externally to treat cuts, bruises and phlebitis and internally to treat coughs and bronchial catarrh. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of stomach and duodenal ulcers.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial/Perennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
October


Scent:
Scented
Biennial/Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Roadsides, pastures and waste ground, preferring warmer areas.

Edible parts of Alkanet:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. Used like spinach. Flowers - cooked or used as a garnish. The red dye obtained from the roots can be used to colour oils and fats.

Other uses of the herb:

A red dye is obtained from the roots.

Propagation of Alkanet:

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. The seed can also be sown in an outdoor seed bed during July, transplanting the plants to their final positions during early autumn. These plants will grow larger and flower earlier than those sown in spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Roadsides, pastures and waste ground, preferring warmer areas.

Known hazards of Anchusa officinalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.