Herb: Abcess Root

Latin name: Polemonium reptans

Synonyms: Polemonium humile

Family: Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)

Medicinal use of Abcess Root:

The dried roots have a slightly bitter and acrid taste. They are alterative, astringent, diaphoretic, expectorant and pectoral. They can be used in an infusion with water or as a tincture with alcohol. They are used internally in the treatment of coughs, colds, bronchitis, laryngitis, tuberculosis, feverish and inflammatory diseases, including skin conditions and poisonous bites. The root is rarely used in modern herbalism. It is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Rich woods, damp ground and along shady river banks.

Other uses of Abcess Root:

A decoction of the whole plant is used as a hair rinse.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring 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 their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in early spring or early autumn. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of Abcess Root:

Rich woods, damp ground and along shady river banks.

Known hazards of Polemonium reptans:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.