Herb: Hoary Balsamroot

Latin name: Balsamorhiza incana

Synonyms: Balsamorrhiza incana

Family: Compositae

Medicinal use of Hoary Balsamroot:

A decoction of the leaves, roots and stems has been used in the treatment of stomach pains and colds and as a steam bath for treating headaches.

Description of the plant:


90 cm
(2 feet)


Habitat of the herb:

Meadows and other moderately moist to moderately dry open places.

Edible parts of Hoary Balsamroot:

Root - raw or cooked. The thick root can be eaten raw. Seed - raw or cooked. It can be ground into a powder and 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 Hoary Balsamroot:

Meadows and other moderately moist to moderately dry open places.

Known hazards of Balsamorhiza incana:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.