Herb: Rose Balsam

Latin name: Impatiens balsamina

Family: Balsaminaceae (Touch-me-not Family)

Medicinal use of Rose Balsam:

The plant is cathartic, diuretic and emetic. It is used in the treatment of pains in the joints. The leaf juice is used as a treatment against warts. The flowers are cooling, mucilaginous and tonic. They are useful when applied to burns and scalds. The juice of the flowers is used to treat snakebites. The flowers, and their alcoholic extract, possess marked antibiotic activity against some pathogenic fungi and bacteria. The seed is expectorant and has been used in the treatment of cancer. The powdered seeds are given to women during labour in order to provide strength.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

Habitat of the herb:

Waste places in and around villages.

Edible parts of Rose Balsam:

Leaves and young shoots - cooked. Seed - raw or cooked. They are difficult to collect in quantity, mainly because of their exploding seed capsules which scatter the ripe seed at the slightest touch.

Other uses of the herb:

A dye is obtained from the plant. The prepared juice has been used for dyeing fingers and toenails red. The seed contains 27% of a viscous oil, though the report does not mention if this oil is utilised for any purpose.

Propagation of Rose Balsam:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places in and around villages.

Known hazards of Impatiens balsamina:

Regular ingestion of large quantities of these plants can be dangerous due to their high mineral content. This report, which seems nonsensical, might refer to calcium oxalate. This mineral is found in I. capensis and so is probably also in other members of the genus. It can be harmful raw but is destroyed by thoroughly cooking or drying the plant. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones and hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.