Burnet Saxifrage (Pimpinella saxifraga)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Burnet Saxifrage
Pimpinella saxifraga

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    Burnet saxifrage has long been held in high regard as a medicinal herb, being used especially in the treatment of wounds and internally to ease digestion, soothe respiratory complaints and treat kidney and urinary diseases[244]. The leaves and the root are antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, resolvent and stomachic[4, 7, 13, 21]. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and dried for later use[4]. The root is harvested in the autumn and can also be dried for later use[7].

    The root is anti-inflammatory, mildly astringent and expectorant[9]. The fresh root is very hot and acrid, but this pungency is greatly reduced when the root is dried[4]. When chewed, the fresh root is effective in treating toothaches and paralysis of the tongue[4]. The root is also used for soothing coughs or the effects of laryngitis and bronchitis[9]. The roots can be harvested in the spring or autumn and are dried for later use[9].

    A lotion made from the root is used externally to help regenerate the skin of older people[7].

    A distilled water made from the plant is used as an eye lotion[7].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves and shoots – raw. They can be added in small quantities to mixed salads or used to impart a cool aromatic flavour to cooling drinks[7, 183, 244]. The leaves are said to have a parsley-like tang[7], whilst another report says that the flavour is like cucumber[183].

    Seeds – used as a condiment[46, 61, 105]. They are coated with sugar and eaten as a confection[183].

    An essential oil from the root is used as a flavouring in sweets etc[183]. It gives a bitter flavour to liqueurs[238].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. If you can obtain fresh seed then it is best sown immediately. Germination rates are usually very good so it is probably best done in situ if you have sufficient seed, but if you only have a small quantity then it is safer to sow it in pots in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as you can obtain it, this is probably best done in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the pot-grown seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Succeeds in most soils[200]. Prefers a dry alkaline soil in full sun or light shade[238].
Europe, including Britain, but absent from much of the south and the Arctic, to W. Asia, W. Siberia.

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.