The greater burnet plant was discovered and used from the Renaissance onwards. Since its flower spikes look like blood clots, it was supposed to be useful in hemorrhage treatment, and it has been used for centuries with this aim. However, it was not until recently that this supposition was proven true.
Greater Burnet Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name – Sanguisorba officinalis L.
- Other Names – Italian pimpernel.
- French – Grande pimpernelle.
- Spanish – Pimpinela mayor.
- Environment – Wet meadows in Europe and North America.
- Description – Vivacious plant of the Rosaceae family, growing up to one meter high, with small purple flowers growing in oval clusters. It has a sweet smell and a slightly sour flavor.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – The whole plant, including its root.
The whole plant is rich in tannin, and also contains saponins, flavonoids, and vitamin C. These substances explain its astringent, antihemorrhagic and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to its astringent action, it dries the skin surface and the mucosa cells and coagulates small blood vessels.
- Internally used, it is recommended for acute and chronic diarrhea, dysentery, and gastritis (including bleeding gastritis).
- Externally used, both as a decoction and as fresh juice, it is applied in compresses to heal wounds and ulceration of the skin; in gargles for stomatitis (mouth inflammation) and pharyngitis (sore throat); in anal cleansing, to help fight hemorrhoids (it reduces inflammation and stops bleeding), and in vaginal irrigations, for vaginitis and leucorrhea.
How to use Greater Burnet
- Decoction with 100 grams of root per liter of water, boiling for 15 minutes. Aerial parts of the plant can be also added to this decoction. Drink three or four cups daily.
- The aforementioned decoction, however, is more concentrated. Fresh juice of the plant (mashed) can be also used. Both this decoction and the juice are applied in any of the following ways; compresses, rinsings and gargles, and vaginal irrigations.
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. 2 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 534. Print. [greater burnet]