Fumitory - Fumaria officinalis
Latin name: Fumaria officinalis
Synonyms: Fumaria officinale
Family: Fumariaceae (Fumitory Family)
Medicinal use of Fumitory:Fumitory has been highly valued since at least Roman times for its tonic and blood cleansing effect upon the body. It is particularly valuable in the treatment of all visceral obstructions, particularly those of the liver, in scorbutic affections and in troublesome eruptive diseases of the skin, especially eczema (for which it can be taken internally and externally). The herb is antispasmodic, aperient, cholagogue, slightly diaphoretic, mildly diuretic, laxative and weakly tonic. The plant is harvested as flowering begins in the summer and can be used fresh or can be dried for later use. Some caution should be exercised in the use of this herb since excess doses cause hypnotic and sedative effects, especially if it is taken for more than about 8 days.
Description of the plant:
(11 3/4 inch)
Habitat of the herb:Arable land and as a weed in gardens, usually on lighter soils. It is also found growing on old walls.
Edible parts of Fumitory:The fresh or dried herb can be added to sour plant milks. A few sprays are added to each litre of liquid and left until the liquid has soured thickly. The sprays are then removed. It gives a tangy taste to the milk, acts as a preservative and prevents the rancid taste that can accompany soured milk.
Other uses of the herb:A yellow dye is obtained from the flowers. A decoction makes a curative lotion for "milk-crust" on the scalps of babies.
Propagation of Fumitory:Seed - sow spring in situ. There is normally very little need to sow this seed, the plant normally self-sows freely and should manage quite nicely by itself.
Cultivation of the herb:Arable land and as a weed in gardens, usually on lighter soils. It is also found growing on old walls.
Known hazards of Fumaria officinalis:None known
Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.