Herb: Greater Burnet Saxifrage

Latin name: Pimpinella major

Synonyms: Pimpinella magna

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Greater Burnet Saxifrage:

The leaves are diaphoretic, diuretic, resolvent and stomachic. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and dried for later use. The root is anti-inflammatory, mildly astringent and expectorant. The fresh root is very hot and acrid, but this pungency is greatly reduced when the root is dried. When chewed, the fresh root is effective in treating toothaches and paralysis of the tongue. An effective diuretic, the root is used in treating disorders arising from obstructions of the viscera. The root is also used for soothing coughs or the effects of laryngitis and bronchitis. The roots can be harvested in the spring or autumn and are dried for later use. The seeds are carminative.

Description of the plant:


80 cm
(2 feet)

to July

Habitat of the herb:

Hedge banks, woodland edges and other grassy places.

Edible parts of Greater Burnet Saxifrage:

An essential oil from the roots is used as a flavouring in candy, liqueurs etc.

Propagation of the herb:

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. If you can obtain fresh seed then it is best sown immediately. This can be done in situ if you have sufficient seed, but if you only have a small quantity then it is safer to sow it in pots in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as you can obtain it, this is probably best done in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the pot-grown seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Cultivation of Greater Burnet Saxifrage:

Hedge banks, woodland edges and other grassy places.

Known hazards of Pimpinella major:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.