Herb: Foetid Bugbane


Latin name: Cimicifuga foetida


Synonyms: Actaea cimicifuga


Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



Medicinal use of Foetid Bugbane:

Foetid bugbane is an anti-infective herb that lowers fevers and reduces pain. The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antiperiodic, antiviral, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, tonic. It is used internally in the treatment of rheumatic complaints, coughs, colds, headaches, gum diseases and feverish infections such as measles. The root is harvested in the autumn and used fresh or dried. Use with caution, see the notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
150 cm
(5 feet)

Flovering:
July to
August


Scent:
Scented
Perennial

Habitat of the herb:

Shrubberies and forest clearings on open humus-rich soils, to 4000 metres in the Himalayas. Frequently found in fir forests in Kashmir.

Edible parts of Foetid Bugbane:

Leaves - cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

Both the growing and the dried plant is used as an insect repellent in Siberia.

Propagation of Foetid Bugbane:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Only just cover the seed. It germinates in 1 - 12 months or even longer at 15C. The seed does not store well and soon loses its viability, stored seed may germinate better if given 6 - 8 weeks warm stratification at 15C and then 8 weeks cold stratification. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer. Division in spring or autumn. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Shrubberies and forest clearings on open humus-rich soils, to 4000 metres in the Himalayas. Frequently found in fir forests in Kashmir.

Known hazards of Cimicifuga foetida:

Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does belong to a family that contains a number of toxic species and at least one species in this genus is said to be mildly poisonous. Some caution is therefore advised.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.