Herb: Sundew

Latin name: Drosera rotundifolia

Family: Droseraceae (Sundew Family)

Medicinal use of Sundew:

The sundew has a long history of herbal use, having been popular for its fortifying and aphrodisiac effects. It relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, easing breathing and relieving wheezing and so is of great value in the treatment of various chest complaints. The plant has become quite rare and so it should not be harvested from the wild. The flowering plant is antibacterial, antibiotic, antispasmodic, antitussive, demulcent, expectorant and hypoglycaemic. The plant is used with advantage in the treatment of whooping cough, exerting a peculiar action on the respiratory organs. It is also used in the treatment of incipient phthisis, chronic bronchitis and asthma. Externally, it has been used to treat corns, warts and bunions.The plant is harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. Use with caution. Internal use of this herb causes a harmless colouring of the urine. An extract of the plant contains plumbagin, which is antibiotic against a wide range of pathogens. Because of their protein digesting enzymes, the leaf juice has been used in the treatment of warts and corns. The entire fresh plant, harvested when it is starting to flower, is used to make a homeopathic remedy. It is used mainly in the treatment of coughs and is specific for whooping cough.

Description of the plant:


10 cm
(4 inches)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Wet and moist places in poor peaty soils, occasionally forming a floating fringe on small ponds.

Edible parts of Sundew:

The juice of the plant is used to curdle plant milks. You heat the milk and the leaves together in order to make the milk curdle.

Other uses of the herb:

Substances in the plant are used to curb the growth of bacteria.

Propagation of Sundew:

Seed - best sown thinly as soon as it is ripe into pots of a free-draining soil with some charcoal added and with a layer of finely chopped sphagnum moss on top. Surface sow and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates in 1 - 2 months at 20C. Grow the plants on in the pots for their first growing season, making sure that the soil does not become dry. Divide the plants in the autumn, grow them on in the greenhouse for the winter and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Wet and moist places in poor peaty soils, occasionally forming a floating fringe on small ponds.

Known hazards of Drosera rotundifolia:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.