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Alum Root (Heuchera micrantha)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Alum Root
Heuchera micrantha

The root can be used as an alum substitute, this is a mordant used in fixing dyes[172]. The root is rich in tannin, is this the active ingredient that acts as a mordant?[172].

The plant can be crushed and then rubbed on the hair as a tonic to make it grow[257].

A good ground cover plant for the woodland garden[200]. Plants should be spaced about 45cm apart each way[208].

  • Medicinal Use

    The root is antiphlogistic, antiseptic, astringent, febrifuge and ophthalmic[94, 172]. An infusion has been used in the treatment of liver complaints and sore throats[257]. A small piece of the cleaned and peeled root has been chewed to treat sore mouths and gums[257]. A poultice of the mashed root, combined with the pitch from Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) has been used to treat wounds[257]. The poultice was covered with a cloth and, when it was taken off, all the poison was extracted from the open wound[257]. The chewed leaves or roots have also been used on their own as a dressing on wounds[257].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves – raw or cooked[94]. Not very palatable[172].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow early spring in a warm greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination is usually fairly rapid. Prick out the seedlings when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer. The seed can also be sown in the middle of spring in an outdoor seedbed and planted out in early summer. Alternatively, you can sow the seed in an outdoor seedbed in the middle of summer for planting out in the following spring. Division in March or October[1, 111]. It is best to divide the plants in August or early September, making sure that the woody roots are planted quite deeply with only the crown of foliage above the ground[233].
Succeeds in any good sweet garden soil that does not dry out in spring[1]. Prefers full sun but tolerates partial shade[1, 111]. Prefers a well-drained fairly rich and not too heavy soil[111]. Plants are hardy to about -15¡c[187]. Closely related to H. glabra[200], it is apt to hybridize with other members of this genus[111].
Western N. America – British Columbia to California.

Become ungovernable, break the chains of the matrix; grow and forage your own food and medicine.

*None of the information on this website qualifies as professional medical advice. Take only what resonates with your heart and use your own personal responsibility for what’s best for you. For more information [brackets] [000], see bibliography.