The name of the fumitory plant could be derived from either of two facts. First, when the plant is cut or mashed, it makes anyone shed tears as if it was smoke. Second, its sterling-grey leaves resemble the smoke of a fire, while the flowers seem like the fire itself. It has been successfully used since the time of Dioscorides (1st century A.D.).
Fumitory Plant Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name: Fumaria officinalis L.
- Other Names: Hedge fumitory, earth smoke.
- French: Fumeterre.
- Spanish: Fumaria.
- Environment: Common along roadsides, on unfarmed lands, and near farmed fields. Native to Europe, nowadays spread all over the world.
- Description: Annual plant of the Fumariaceae family, growing from 20 to 70 cm high, with greyish-green leaves and pink or red flowers. It has an acrid smell and a sour taste.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The whole plant, except its root.
The whole fumitory plant contains flavonic substances with antispasmodic and choleretic properties; potassium salts, to which it owes its diuretic and depurative properties, and several alkaloids which are derived from the isoquinoline (fumarine), which give the plant antihistaminic (histamines play an essential role in allergic reactions) and anti-inflammatory properties.
Moreover, the fumitory contains bitter principles and mucilage. It has the following indications:
- Skin eczemas and rashes caused by autointoxication (internal toxicity) with intestinal putrefaction, kidney and liver insufficiency, or allergies.
- Hepatic affections: Congestion and dysfunctions of the liver or chronic hepatitis because of its choleretic effect (stimulates the bile secretion).
- Arterial hypertension, given its diuretic, antispasmodic, depurative, and blood-thinning properties.
How to use Fumitory
- Infusion with fifty grams of plant per liter of water. Drink a cup before every meal.
- Juice of the fresh plant, sweetened with honey. Half a glass before every meal.
- Dry extract: One gram before every meal.
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. 389. Print. [fumitory plant]