Herb: Annual Mercury


Latin name: Mercurialis annua


Family: Euphorbiaceae (Spurge Family)



Medicinal use of Annual Mercury:

The whole plant, and especially the juice, is emetic, emollient and purgative. It is used externally to treat women's complaints, ear and eye problems, warts and sores. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, dropsy, diarrhoea and disorders of the gall bladder and liver.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Annual


Height:
50 cm
(1 foot)

Flovering:
July to
October

Habitat of the herb:

Waste places. A common weed of cultivated soils, but it avoids acid soils.

Edible parts of Annual Mercury:

Leaves - cooked. They were at one time quite popular, being used like spinach. The acrid principle is said to be destroyed by thoroughly boiling the leaves. The raw leaves are poisonous. It is probably wise not to eat the leaves of this plant.

Other uses of the herb:

This species is a potential source of a very good drying oil.

Propagation of Annual Mercury:

Seed - sow spring or autumn in situ.

Cultivation of the herb:

Waste places. A common weed of cultivated soils, but it avoids acid soils.

Known hazards of Mercurialis annua:

The plant is poisonous, but less so than the perennial M. perennis.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.