Cow Cockle (Vaccaria hispanica)

Annual
V. pyramidata. V. segetilis. V. vulgaris. Saponaria vaccaria. L.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Cow Cockle
Vaccaria hispanica
Caryophyllaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The seed is anodyne, discutient, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactogogue, styptic and vulnerary[147, 176, 178, 218]. A decoction is used to treat skin problems, breast tumours, menstrual problems, deficiency of lactation and sluggish labour[218]. The seeds are also taken internally as a galactogogue[218]. The flowers, leaves, roots and shoots also have the same properties[218].

    The sap of the plant is said to be febrifuge and tonic[240]. It is used in the treatment of long-continued fevers of a low type[240].

    The plant is used externally to cure itch[240].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – used as a condiment[177, 179, 183].

    Seed – ground into a meal[179]. Rich in starch[179]. The seed contains 13.8 – 16.1% protein and 1.6 – 3.2% fat[218]. The seed also contains saponins, see notes above on toxicity[218].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seeds and other parts of the plant contain saponins[218, 240]. Although toxic, these substances are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm, they are also broken down if thoroughly heated[K]. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. 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 April in situ[1].
Succeeds in any well-drained soil in a sunny position[200]. Sometimes cultivated for its seed which is often added to wild bird foods[200]. By this means, the plant is often found as an introduced casual in Britain[200].
C. and S. Europe, north to Belgium. An introduced and not infrequent casual in Britain[17].

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.