Herb: Traveller's Joy

Latin name: Clematis vitalba

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Traveller's Joy:

The leaves are analgesic, diuretic and rubefacient. The boiled roots and stems are used as a cure for the itch. When applied in the nostrils, the plant juice has been used to relieve migraine attacks, but it can also destroy the mucous membranes. The plant should not be taken internally because it is poisonous. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism and skin eruptions. The plant is used in Bach flower remedies - the keywords for prescribing it are "Indifference", "Dreaminess", "Inattention" and "Unconsciousness". It is also one of the five ingredients in the "Rescue remedy".

Description of the plant:


15 m
(49 feet)

July to


Habitat of the herb:

Hedgerows and wood margins, usually on calcareous soils.

Edible parts of Traveller's Joy:

Young shoots - cooked and used like hop shoots (Humulus lupulus). Caution is advised due to reports of toxicity.

Other uses of the herb:

The stems are used in basketry.

Propagation of Traveller's Joy:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as it is obtained in a cold frame. Pre-soak the seed for 12 hours in warm water and remove as much of the tail and outer coat as possible. A period of cold stratification is beneficial. The seed germinates in 1 - 9 months or more at 20C. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a cold frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, taken between nodes, July/August in a frame. Internodal cuttings of soft to semi-ripe wood, late spring in sandy soil in a frame. Layering of old stems in late winter or early spring. Layering of current seasons growth in early summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Hedgerows and wood margins, usually on calcareous soils.

Known hazards of Clematis vitalba:

All parts of the plant are poisonous, the toxic principle is dissipated by heat or by drying.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.