Herb: Balmony

Latin name: Chelone glabra

Family: Scrophulariaceae (Figwort Family)

Medicinal use of Balmony:

Balmony is a very bitter herb with a tea-like flavour that acts mainly as a tonic for the liver and digestive system. It has long been held in esteem in N. American folk medicine, though it has never been investigated scientifically. The herb also has anti-depressant and laxative effects. A decoction of the whole herb is antibilious, aperient, appetizer, cathartic, cholagogue, detergent, tonic, vermifuge. It is used internally in the treatment of consumption, debility, diseases of the liver, gallbladder problems, gallstones etc. It is also used to relieve nausea and vomiting, intestinal colic and to expel worms. Its tonic effect upon the digestive system has made it of benefit in the treatment of anorexia nervosa. Externally, it is applied as a soothing ointment to piles, inflamed tumours, irritable ulcers, inflamed breasts etc. The plant is harvested when in flower and is dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


100 cm
(3 1/4 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Margins of swamps, wet woods and rivers.

Propagation of Balmony:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame and keep moist. The seed germinates in 2 - 6 weeks at 20C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the cold frame. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring or early summer. Division in autumn. Cuttings of soft tips in summer in a sandy soil in a frame.

Cultivation of the herb:

Margins of swamps, wet woods and rivers.

Known hazards of Chelone glabra:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.