Herb: White Bryony

Latin name: Bryonia alba

Family: Cucurbitaceae (Cucumber Family, Gourd Family)

Medicinal use of White Bryony:

The root is cathartic, hydrogogue, irritant, pectoral and purgative. The root is harvested in the autumn and can be used either fresh or dried. It should be used with great caution, see notes above on toxicity. The fresh root, gathered before the plant comes into flower, is made into a homeopathic remedy. This is used in the treatment of a wide range of complaints. It is said to be one of the best diuretics and an excellent remedy for gravel as well as all other obstructions and disorders of the urinary passage.

Description of the plant:

Perennial Climber

4 m
(13 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Vineyards and woods.

Edible parts of White Bryony:

One report says that the young shoots are edible, though caution is advised. See the notes above on toxicity.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter, planting them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring.

Cultivation of White Bryony:

Vineyards and woods.

Known hazards of Bryonia alba:

All parts of the plant, and especially the root, are poisonous. The root can cause severe diarrhoea and vomiting, resulting in death within a matter of hours.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.