Herb: Wild Carrot


Latin name: Daucus carota


Family: Umbelliferae



Medicinal use of Wild Carrot:

The wild carrot is an aromatic herb that acts as a diuretic, soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the uterus. A wonderfully cleansing medicine, it supports the liver, stimulates the flow of urine and the removal of waste by the kidneys. The whole plant is anthelmintic, carminative, deobstruent, diuretic, galactogogue, ophthalmic, stimulant. An infusion is used in the treatment of various complaints including digestive disorders, kidney and bladder diseases and in the treatment of dropsy. An infusion of the leaves has been used to counter cystitis and kidney stone formation, and to diminish stones that have already formed. Carrot leaves contain significant amounts of porphyrins, which stimulate the pituitary gland and lead to the release of increased levels of sex hormones. The plant is harvested in July and dried for later use. A warm water infusion of the flowers has been used in the treatment of diabetes. The grated raw root, especially of the cultivated forms, is used as a remedy for threadworms. The root is also used to encourage delayed menstruation. The root of the wild plant can induce uterine contractions and so should not be used by pregnant women. A tea made from the roots is diuretic and has been used in the treatment of urinary stones. The seeds are diuretic, carminative, emmenagogue and anthelmintic. An infusion is used in the treatment of oedema, flatulent indigestion and menstrual problems. The seed is a traditional "morning after" contraceptive and there is some evidence to uphold this belief. It requires further investigation. Carrot seeds can be abortifacient and so should not be used by pregnant women.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Biennial


Height:
60 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
June to
August


Scent:
Scented
Biennial

Habitat of the herb:

Cultivated and waste land, amongst grass, especially by the sea and on chalk.

Edible parts of Wild Carrot:

Root - cooked. Thin and stringy. The flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavoured gourmet's delight. The aromatic seed is used as a flavouring in stews etc. The dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee.

Other uses of the herb:

An essential oil obtained from the seed has an orris-like scent. It is used in perfumery and as a food flavouring. The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.

Propagation of Wild Carrot:

Seed - sow August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification.

Cultivation of the herb:

Cultivated and waste land, amongst grass, especially by the sea and on chalk.

Known hazards of Daucus carota:

Carrots sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people. Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Daucus has been reported to contain acetone, asarone, choline, ethanol, formic acid, HCN, isobutyric acid, limonene, malic acid, maltose, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, pyrrolidine, and quinic acid. Reviewing research on myristicin, which occurs in nutmeg, mace, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and parsley, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1: 275, 1979) noted that the psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily modified in the body to amphetamines. Handling carrot foliage, especially wet foliage, can cause irritation and vesication. Sensitized photosensitive persons may get an exact reproduction of the leaf on the skin by placing the leaf on the skin for awhile, followed by exposure to sunshine.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.