Corncockle (Agrostemma githago)

Annual
Githago segetum. Lychnis githago.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Corncockle
Agrostemma githago
Caryophyllaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The seed is diuretic, expectorant and vermifuge[4, 13, 222]. Minute amounts are used medicinally[222]. It has a folk history of use in the treatment of cancer, warts etc[222]. The plant is not used in allopathic medicine, but it has been found efficacious in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice if used for long enough[4]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity.

    A homeopathic remedy has been made from the seeds[4]. It has been found useful in the treatment of paralysis and gastritis[4].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked[22, 46, 61, 177]. A famine food, used when all else fails[183]. Some caution is advised – see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seed and leaves are poisonous, containing saponin-like substances[4, 19, 76]. Although poisonous, saponins are poorly absorbed by the human body and so most pass through without harm. Saponins are quite bitter and can be found in many common foods such as some beans. They can be removed by carefully leaching the seed or flour in running water. Thorough cooking, and perhaps changing the cooking water once, will also normally remove most of them. However, it is not advisable to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish[K].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring or autumn in situ. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 3 weeks. The seed has a short viability[134]. Eighteen month old seed germinated freely with us[K].
Succeeds in most soils. Prefers a rich soil[133]. Prefers a well-drained not too fertile soil and a sunny position[200]. Plants are hardy to between -15 to -20¡c[200]. Corncockle usually self-sows freely so long as there is some disturbed ground[K].
Europe. Naturalized in Britain.

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.