The livelong plant belongs to the same family as the houseleek plant. Both plants have fleshy leaves and a hot-spicy flavor and were valued in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. However, they were forgotten by physiotherapists. At present, livelong is used again due to its strong vulnerary properties.
Livelong Plant Scientific Facts
- Other names: Orpine.
- French: Orpin.
- Spanish: Hierba callera.
- Environment: Central and northern Europe. It grows in rocky soils, and it is usual to find it among vineyards.
- Description: Strong evergreen plant of the Crassulaceae family, growing up to 80cm high. It has flat, fleshy leaves and purple, white, or reddish flowers.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally: The leaves.
Healing Properties and Indications
The entire plant contains tannin, sugars, mucilage, and glycoside. It has vulnerary (heals wounds and bruises) and emollient (soothes and softens inflamed areas) properties. It is used in the following cases:
- Wounds, skin ulcers, and burns: Compresses and baths with fresh juice of livelong promote the healing of sores, ulcers, and burns, especially when dirty or infected.
- Calluses and rough skin: The leaves of livelong soften these ailments, and reduce their inflammation, allowing easy withdrawal.
How to use Livelong
- Compresses and washings with the fresh juice of the plant. Apply directly on the affected skin area, twice or three times a day.
- The leaves can be preserved in oil, as was done formerly since they are difficult to dry. They can be applied to the affected area, removing the fine film covering them on the upper side.
Wall pepper (Sedum acre L) is a 10-15cm high plant with small fleshy leaves and yellow or white flowers. The entire plant has a spicy flavor, and its composition is similar to that of livelong. Its juice, fresh, was formerly used to treat bronchial afflictions.
Presently, it is only recommended for external use to treat foot callus and rough skin, like livelong. The fresh juice or a poultice with its leaves, mashed, will be applied on the affected parts several times a day until they become softer. The French people call this plant Povre de muraille, and the Spanish call it Pampajarito.
REFERENCES 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. 726. Print. [livelong plant]