Herb: Barrenwort


Latin name: Epimedium grandiflorum


Synonyms: Epimedium macranthum, Epimedium violaceum


Family: Berberidaceae (Barberry Family)



Medicinal use of Barrenwort:

The aerial parts of the plant are antiasthmatic, antibacterial, antirheumatic, antitussive, aphrodisiac, hypoglycaemic, tonic and vasodilator. Its use lowers blood sugar levels. It is used in the treatment of impotence, seminal emissions, lumbago, arthritis, numbness and weakness of the limbs, hypertension and chronic bronchitis. It has an action on the genitals similar to the male sex hormone and can increase the weight of the prostate gland and seminal vesicle, it has increased copulation in animals and increases the secretion of semens. The leaves are used as an aphrodisiac. Administered orally, the leaf extract increases the frequency of copulation in animals.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
35 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
May to
June

Habitat of the herb:

Moist woods in the hills. Calcareous rocks in moist woodland. (This entry refers to sub-species E. grandiflorum higoense. Shimau.)

Edible parts of Barrenwort:

Young plant and young leaves - cooked. Soaked and then boiled. (This suggests that the leaves are bitter and need to be soaked in order to remove the bitterness.)

Other uses of the herb:

A good ground cover plant.

Propagation of Barrenwort:

Seed - best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in late summer. Sow stored seed as early as possible in the year in a cold frame. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in light shade in the cold frame or greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in mid to late summer. Division in July/August according to one report, in late spring according to another. 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 spring. Cuttings in late summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Moist woods in the hills. Calcareous rocks in moist woodland. (This entry refers to sub-species E. grandiflorum higoense. Shimau.)

Known hazards of Epimedium grandiflorum:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.