Herb: Balsam Root

Latin name: Balsamorhiza hookeri

Synonyms: Balsamorhiza hirsuta, Balsamorrhiza hookeri

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Balsam Root:

A decoction of the root has been used for stomach problems, bladder complaints and female complaints.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Dry rock outcrops in foothills and lowlands.

Edible parts of Balsam Root:

Root - raw or cooked. A sweet and agreeable taste when cooked. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and formed into cakes for eating raw or made into a bread.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow early spring in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 2 - 6 days at 18C. Either sow the seed in individual pots or pot up the seedlings as soon as they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in the summer. Division in spring. Very difficult since the plant strongly resents root disturbance. It is probably best to take quite small divisions, or basal cuttings, without disturbing the main clump. Pot these up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer if they have grown sufficiently, otherwise over-winter them in the greenhouse and plant out in late spring.

Cultivation of Balsam Root:

Dry rock outcrops in foothills and lowlands.

Known hazards of Balsamorhiza hookeri:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.