Herb: Sneezeweed


Latin name: Helenium autumnale


Family: Compositae



Medicinal use of Sneezeweed:

The dried nearly mature flower heads are used in a powdered form as a snuff to treat colds and headaches. When made into a tea they are used in the treatment of intestinal worms. The powdered leaves are sternutatory. An infusion of the leaves is laxative and alterative. An infusion of the stems has been used as a wash in the treatment of fevers. The plant contains helenalin, a compound that has shown significant anti-tumour activity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
180 cm
(6 feet)

Flovering:
August to
October

Habitat of the herb:

Wet meadows and marshes. Rich thickets, meadows and shores. Low, moist calcareous soils in Texas.

Other uses of Sneezeweed:

The plant contains helenalin, a compound that has insecticidal properties, though it is also toxic to fish and worms.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. If you have sufficient seed it might be worthwhile trying a sowing in mid to late spring in situ outdoors. Cuttings of soft wood from the base of the plant, June/July in a frame. Basal cuttings in spring. Harvest the shoots when they are about 10 - 15cm long with plenty of underground stem. Pot them up into individual pots and keep them in light shade in a cold frame or greenhouse until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer. Division in spring or autumn. This needs to be done fairly regularly because the clumps soon become congested. Very easy, 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.

Cultivation of Sneezeweed:

Wet meadows and marshes. Rich thickets, meadows and shores. Low, moist calcareous soils in Texas.

Known hazards of Helenium autumnale:

The plant is poisonous to ruminants. Contact with the plant might cause dermatitis in sensitive people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.