Herb: Hepatica


Latin name: Hepatica nobilis


Synonyms: Anemone hepatica, Hepatica triloba


Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)



Medicinal use of Hepatica:

The leaves and flowers are astringent, demulcent, diuretic, rubefacient, tonic and vulnerary. It is a mild remedy that is little used in modern herbalism, but it is sometimes employed in treating disorders of the liver and gall bladder, indigestion etc. Externally, it is applied to skin diseases, slow healing cuts etc. The plant should be harvested in March and April, it can also be dried for later use. Use with caution, see notes above on toxicity.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
10 cm
(4 inches)

Flovering:
February
to March

Habitat of the herb:

Damp underground in shady deciduous, usually beech, woodlands, scrub and grassland, especially on limestone.

Propagation of Hepatica:

Seed - sow in a moist soil in a shady position. The stored seed requires stratification for about 3 weeks at 0 - 5C. Germination takes 1 - 12 months at 10C. It is probably worthwhile sowing the seed as soon as it is ripe in a shady position in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division just as the leafless plant comes into flower in late winter. Replant immediately into their permanent positions.

Cultivation of the herb:

Damp underground in shady deciduous, usually beech, woodlands, scrub and grassland, especially on limestone.

Known hazards of Hepatica nobilis:

The plant is poisonous in large doses. The toxic principle is dissipated by heat or drying.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.