Fringed Pink (Dianthus superbus)

Perennial
D. wimmeri.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Fringed Pink
Dianthus superbus
Caryophyllaceae

None known

  • Medicinal Use

    The fringed pink, called Qu Mai in Chinese herbalism, has been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2,000 years. The whole plant is a bitter tonic herb that stimulates the digestive and urinary system, and also the bowels[238]. It also lowers blood pressure, reduces fevers and controls bacterial infections[218, 238]. Little used on its own, it is often taken with Dan Shen (Salvia multiorrhiza) to induce menstruation[254]. The closely related D. chinensis has the same uses as Qu Mai and is more commonly used[238].

    The plant is abortifacient, contraceptive, diuretic, emmenagogue, ophthalmic, tonic and vulnerary[147, 176, 178, 218]. It is said to promote hair growth[147, 176, 178]. It is ranked 9th in a list of 250 potential antifertility Chinese plants[218]. The plant is taken internally in the treatment of acute urinary tract infections (especially cystitis), urinary stones, constipation and failure to menstruate[238]. Externally, it is applied to skin inflammations and swellings[238].

    The leaves are used in the treatment of haemorrhoids, lumbricoid worms, venereal sores etc[218].

    The flowers are astringent, diuretic, haemostatic, resolvent and vulnerary[218]. Research has shown that the flowers are the most markedly diuretic part of the plant[254].

  • Edible Use

    The leaves, stems and tops are boiled, steeped in water and eaten as a potherb[105, 177, 179, 183]. Young plants are also eaten[183]. One report says that they contain saponins but that the leaves are apparently not toxic[179]. Probably this is because the content of saponins is too low to be harmful[K].

    Children suck the flowers for their sweet edible nectar[105, 177, 183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    The plant contains saponins but apparently in quantities too low to cause harm[179]. Although fairly toxic, saponins are poorly absorbed by the body and most pass straight through without harm. Saponins are found in many foods, such as beans. 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/June in a greenhouse and only just cover the seed. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 weeks at 20¡c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the autumn.
Prefers an alkaline soil but tolerates slightly acid soils[200]. Succeeds in any well-drained peaty soil in sun or light shade[187]. Plants succeed when grown on the top of a broad or retaining wall[219]. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20¡c[187]. The flowers have a soft sweet perfume[245].
Europe to N. Asia.

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.