Herb: Pasque Flower

Latin name: Pulsatilla vulgaris

Synonyms: Anemone pulsatilla

Family: Ranunculaceae (Buttercup Family)

Medicinal use of Pasque Flower:

Pasque flower is considered by herbalists to be of highly valuable modern curative use as a herbal simple. The plant contains the glycoside ranunculin, this is converted to anemonine when the plant is dried and is the medicinally active principle in the plant. The whole plant is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine and sedative. It is taken internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome, inflammations of the reproductive organs, tension headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, hyperactivity, bacterial skin infections, septicaemia, spasmodic coughs in asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. Externally, it is used to treat eye conditions such as diseases of the retina, senile cataract and glaucoma. This remedy should be used with caution, excessive doses cause diarrhoea and vomiting. It should not be prescribed to patients with colds. See also the notes above on toxicity. The plant is harvested soon after flowering, it is more poisonous when fresh and so should be carefully preserved by drying. It should not be stored for longer than 12 months before being used. In homeopathy, the plant is considered to be specific in the treatment of measles. It is also used for treating nettle rash, toothache, earache and bilious indigestion.

Description of the plant:


20 cm
(7 3/4 inch)

to May

Habitat of the herb:

Dry, sunny grassy calcareous slopes.

Other uses of Pasque Flower:

A green dye is obtained from the flowers. Plants can be grown to form a ground cover, they are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in about 2 - 3 weeks. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. Germination takes about 1 - 6 months at 15C. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring. Root cuttings, 4cm long taken in early winter, potted up in a mixture of peat and sand. They can also be taken in July/August, planted vertically in pots in a greenhouse or frame. Some care is needed since the plant resents root disturbance.

Cultivation of Pasque Flower:

Dry, sunny grassy calcareous slopes.

Known hazards of Pulsatilla vulgaris:

The plant is slightly toxic, the toxins are dissipated by heat or by drying the plant. Repeated handling of the plant can cause skin irritation in some people.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.