Herb: Lungwort

Latin name: Pulmonaria officinalis

Synonyms: Pulmonaria maculata

Family: Boraginaceae (Borage Family)

Medicinal use of Lungwort:

Lungwort has a high mucilage content and this makes it useful in the treatment of chest conditions, being of particular benefit in cases of chronic bronchitis. It combines well with other herbs such as coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) in the treatment of chronic coughs including whooping cough and can also be taken to treat asthma. The leaves and flowering shoots are astringent, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, emollient, mildly expectorant and resolvent. They are often used for their healing effect in pulmonary complaints and their mucilaginous nature makes them beneficial in treating sore throats. The leaves can also be used externally to stop bleeding. They are harvested in the spring and dried for later use. A distilled water made from the plant is an effective eyewash for tired eyes. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs and diarrhoea.

Description of the plant:


30 cm
(11 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Moist grasslands, damp woods and hedgerows in Britain, avoiding acid soils. Usually found on limestone.

Edible parts of Lungwort:

Leaves - raw or cooked. They can be added to salads or used as a potherb. A fairly bland flavour but the leaves are low in fibre and make an acceptable addition to mixed salads, though their mucilaginous and slightly hairy texture make them less acceptable when eaten on their own. The young leaves make a palatable cooked vegetable, though we have found the texture to be somewhat slimy. The plant is an ingredient of the drink Vermouth.

Other uses of the herb:

A tolerant and slow growing ground cover plant for open woodland and border edges. Plants should be spaced about 50cm apart each way.

Propagation of Lungwort:

Seed - sow spring in a greenhouse. 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 spring or autumn or after flowering in early summer if the soil is not too dry. Very easy, 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 the herb:

Moist grasslands, damp woods and hedgerows in Britain, avoiding acid soils. Usually found on limestone.

Known hazards of Pulmonaria officinalis:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.