Herb: Alum Root

Latin name: Heuchera cylindrica

Family: Saxifragaceae (Saxifrage Family)

Medicinal use of Alum Root:

The whole plant, but especially the roots, is astringent. A decoction of the roots is used in the treatment of diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Externally, a decoction is used as a wash on aching joints. A poultice of the mashed peeled roots is used in treating rashes, sores and cuts. When mixed with the spores of puffballs, it has been used as a salve for treating nappy rash.

Description of the plant:


50 cm
(1 foot)

July to

Habitat of the herb:

Streambanks and wet rocky places. Rocky soils, cliffs and talus slopes.

Edible parts of Alum Root:

Leaves - cooked.

Other uses of the herb:

The root can be used as an alum substitute, this is a mordant that is used in fixing dyes. The root is rich in tannin and it has been suggested that this is the mordant. A good ground cover plant for the woodland garden. Plants should be spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Propagation of Alum Root:

Seed - sow early spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. The seed can also be sown in the middle of spring in an outdoor seedbed and planted out in early summer. Alternatively, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in the middle of summer for planting out in the following spring. Division in March or October. It is best to divide the plants in August or early September, making sure that the woody roots are planted quite deeply with only the crown of foliage above the ground.

Cultivation of the herb:

Streambanks and wet rocky places. Rocky soils, cliffs and talus slopes.

Known hazards of Heuchera cylindrica:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.