Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis)

Poterium officinale.
Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Great Burnet
Sanguisorba officinalis

The roots contain tannin[7].

  • Medicinal Use

    Great burnet is employed mainly for its astringent action, being used to slow or arrest blood flow. It is taken both internally and externally internally and is a safe and effective treatment. Modern research in China has shown that the whole herb heals burns more effectively than the extracted tannins (the astringent component of the plant)[254]. Patients suffering from eczema showed marked improvement when treated with an ointment made from the root and petroleum jelly[254].

    The leaves are astringent, refrigerant, styptic and tonic[7, 218, 222]. They are used in the treatment of fevers and bleeding[218, 222]. The plant is prevented from flowering and then the leaves are harvested in July and dried for later use[4, 238].

    The root is anodyne, astringent, diuretic, febrifuge, haemostatic, tonic and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 147, 165, 176, 178, 218]. It is used in the treatment of peptic ulcers, haematuria, menorrhagia, bloody stool, dysentery, diarrhoea, haemorrhoids and burns[176]. The root is harvested in the autumn as the leaves die down and dried for later use[4, 238].

    All parts of the plant are astringent, but the root is most active[4]. Great burnet is an excellent internal treatment for all sorts of abnormal discharges including diarrhoea, dysentery and leucorrhoea[4]. It is used externally in the treatment of burns, scalds, sores and skin diseases[238].

    This species was ranked 19th in a Chinese survey of 250 potential anti-fertility plants[218].

  • Edible Use

    Young leaves and flower buds – raw or cooked[13, 61, 105]. They should be harvested in the spring before the plant comes into flower[9]. A cucumber flavour[7, 46], they can be added to salads or used as a potherb[183].

    The fresh or dried leaves are used as a tea substitute[183].

  • Cautionary Notes

    None known

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring or autumn in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out as soon as they have reached a reasonable size. The seed can also be sown in situ in early spring[4]. Division in the spring or in autumn[4].
Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[1]. Prefers a good moist soil that does not dry out in the summer, in sun or partial shade[187, 200]. Plants grow tolerably well in very poor soils and likes a dry chalky soil[4]. This species is hardy to about -25¡c[187].
Europe, including Britain, from celand south and east to Spain, temperate Asia to Iran, China, 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.