Herb: Heart Seed

Latin name: Cardiospermum halicacabum

Family: Sapindaceae

Medicinal use of Heart Seed:

The whole plant is diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, laxative, refrigerant, rubefacient, stomachic and sudorific. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, nervous diseases, stiffness of the limbs and snakebite. The leaves are rubefacient, they are applied as a poultice in the treatment of rheumatism. A tea made from them is used in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings.The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache. The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, laxative and rubefacient. It is occasionally used in the treatment of rheumatism, lumbago and nervous diseases.

Description of the plant:


3 m
(9 3/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Moist thickets and waste ground in Eastern N. America.

Edible parts of Heart Seed:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. Used as a spinach.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. Germination usually takes place within 3 - 4 weeks at 20C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.

Cultivation of Heart Seed:

Moist thickets and waste ground in Eastern N. America.

Known hazards of Cardiospermum halicacabum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.