Foetid Bugbane (Cimicifuga foetida)

Perennial
C. europaea.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Foetid Bugbane
Cimicifuga foetida
Ranunculaceae

Both the growing and the dried plant is used as an insect repellent in Siberia[1, 211, 240].

  • Medicinal Use

    Foetid bugbane is an anti-infective herb that lowers fevers and reduces pain[238]. The root is analgesic, antibacterial, antiperiodic, antiviral, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, sedative, tonic[46, 61, 147, 176, 218, 240]. It is used internally in the treatment of rheumatic complaints, coughs, colds, headaches, gum diseases and feverish infections such as measles[238, 240]. The root is harvested in the autumn and used fresh or dried[238]. Use with caution[176], see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – cooked[105]. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    Although no specific mention of toxicity has been seen for this species, it does belong to a family that contains a number of toxic species and at least one species in this genus is said to be mildly poisonous. Some caution is therefore advised.

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame[1]. Only just cover the seed. It germinates in 1 – 12 months or even longer at 15¡c[164]. The seed does not store well and soon loses its viability[200], stored seed may germinate better if given 6 – 8 weeks warm stratification at 15¡c and then 8 weeks cold stratification[164]. Prick out the young seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in a frame for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer[K]. Division in spring or autumn[1]. Larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the summer or following spring.
Prefers a moist humus rich soil and some shade[1, 200]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54]. There is some confusion over the name of this species, C. foetida (Auct.) is given as a synonym for C. europaea Schipez (said to be native to E. Europe) whilst another authority cites C. europaea as a synonym of C. foetida. It is possible that entries under this species apply also (or instead) to C. europaea[50]. A very attractive plant, but the flowers and the green seed pods have an unusual, slightly unpleasant smell[188] that is reminiscent of decaying fish[245].
E. Asia – C. Russia to 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.