The leaves of the heliotrope plant follow the sun in the sky. Hence, some of its common names. The great Greek physician, pharmacologist, botanist, and author Pedanius Dioscorides already recommended it in the 1st century A.D. to eliminate warts.
Heliotrope Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: European heliotrope.
- French: Heliotrope.
- Spanish: Verrucaria, hierba de las verrugas, heliotropo europeo.
- Environment: Unfarmed lands and roadsides all over Europe, and cultivated in some gardens as an ornamental plant.
- Description: Plant of the Boraginaceae family, growing up to 80 cm high, with a pleasant aroma. Its stems and leaves are covered with a fine hairy layer, and its flowers are small and grow in clusters that curve in on themselves at their tips.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves.
Healing Properties and Indications
The whole plant contains an alkaloid, heliotropin, which gives it antiseptic, cicatrizant, febrifuge, cholagogue, and emmenagogue properties. Its most important application is for skin legions: wounds, abscesses, varicose ulcerations, rashes, and warts, though it takes many days for the plant to eliminate them.
Peruvian heliotrope (Heliotropium peruvianum L., Heliotropium arborescens L.) is highly aromatic, and it is used as a substitute plant for quinine due to its febrifuge properties. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic actions used in cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder). It is used as a vulnerary and wound healing plant in external applications, like European heliotrope.
How to use Heliotrope
- Infusion or decoction with 20 to 40g of leaves per liter of water. Drink up to three cups daily.
- Lotions on the affected skin area, with the same infusion or decoction, internally used.
- Compresses soaked in the infusion mentioned above or decoction.
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. 713. Print. [Heliotrope plant]