Unlike anise, burnet saxifrage does not have hair on its stem and fruits. Its French name, boucage or petit persil (little parsley) de bouc (billy-goat), derives from the typical billy-goat smell that the plant, and especially its root, gives off.
Healing Properties and Indications
The whole plant, and especially its root, contain tannin, essential oil, saponins, pimpinelline, and resins. Its main effect is the stimulation of the secreting activity of the cells of the respiratory airways, the kidneys, and the skin. These are its properties:
- Mucolytic, expectorant, and antitussive: The plant increases the production of bronchial secretions, making them more fluid and being thus more easily eliminated at the same time that cough disappears. It is recommended for bronchial catarrh and hoarseness.
- Diuretic and sudorific: The burnet saxifrage is recommended for those who wish to eliminate toxins and metabolic waste from the blood, especially for arthritis, gout, and kidney dysfunction.
- Calms nervous excitation.
The greater or false pimpernel (Pimpinella major [L.] Hudson = Pimpinella magna L.) is a species very similar to the small pimpernel or burnet saxifrage regarding their botanical features and their properties. Unlike the anise, but like the small pimpernel, the greater pimpernel does not have hair on its stem and fruits.
In many places, the common names of both species are interchanged or mistaken, sometimes both being known as Pimpinella. Their main difference is also found in their most common terms, the burnet saxifrage being called small pimpernel and the false pimpernel being called greater pimpernel.
Burnet Saxifrage Scientific Facts
- Other names: Pimpernel, pimpinella, small pimpernel.
- French: Boucage, petit persil de bouc.
- Spanish: Pimpinela blanca.
- Environment: Slopes, pastures, and calcareous soils all over Europe.
- Description: Vivacious plant of the Umbelliferae family, with an upright, hollow stem growing from 0.3 to 1 m high, and pink or white flowers growing in compound umbels with 8 to 15 fine radius.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The root gathered in Spring (fresh) or Fall (dry), and the umbels.
How to use Burnet Saxifrage
- Decoction with 30 g of root per liter of water, boiling for ten minutes. Add 30 g of flower umbels to achieve a more powerful sedative effect.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 322. Print.