(Asarum heterotropoides)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Asarum heterotropoides
Aristolochiaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The entire plant is anaesthetic, analgesic, antipyretic, antitussive, diaphoretic, diuretic and hypotensive[176]. It is used in the treatment of colds, severe toothache, rheumatic pain and chronic bronchitis with copious and thin phlegm[176]. This remedy should be used with caution, large doses of the essential oil can lead to death[176].

    The root is used, interchangeably with A. sieboldii, as a diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, expectorant and purgative[218]. The root contains about 3% of an essential oil which is the main medical agent – the isolated essential oil has caused death in laboratory animals[218].

    The dried plant is used in the treatment of bronchitis, coughs, headaches etc[218].

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no reports of toxicity have been found for this plant, at least 3 other members of this genus have reports that the leaves are toxic[7, 19]. Some caution is therefore advised in the use of this plant.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe in the summer[134]. Stored seed will require 3 weeks cold stratification and should be sown in late winter[134]. The seed usually germinates in the spring in 1 – 4 or more weeks at 18¡c[134]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out when large enough in late spring. Division in spring or autumn. Plants are slow to increase[200]. It is best to pot the divisions up and keep them in light shade in the greenhouse until they are growing away strongly.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of this country. The sub-species A. heterotropoides mandschurica. (Maxim.)Kitag. is used in Chinese medicine[176]. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a rich moist neutral to acid soil in woodland or a shady position in the rock garden[1, 200]. Plants are hardy to at least -15¡c[200]. The flowers are malodorous and are pollinated by flies[200]. Plants often self-sow when growing in a suitable position[200].
E. Asia – N. Japan.

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.