Herb Christopher (Actaea spicata)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Herb Christopher
Actaea spicata
Ranunculaceae

The smell of the plant is reputed to drive away vermin[4].

A black dye is obtained from the berries when alum is used as a mordant[4, 13, 74, 100]. The seeds contain tannin[240].

  • Medicinal Use

    The root is antispasmodic, cytostatic, emetic, nervine and purgative[4, 17, 65, 240]. In Canada the root is used in the treatment of snakebite[211]. It is also considered useful in the treatment of nervous disorders and rheumatic fever[211]. In India it is used in the treatment of rheumatism, goitre and asthma[240]. This remedy should be used with some caution, see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Edible Use

    None known

  • Cautionary Notes

    All parts of plant are poisonous but rarely fatal[4, 10, 13, 19, 65, 76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a cold frame or outdoors in a moist shaded seedbed[200]. The seed has a limited viability[200], it can also be sown in spring in a cold frame but germination rates may be poor. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer of the following year. Division in March or October.
Succeeds in most conditions[233], but prefers a humus-rich moist soil in light shade doing well amongst shrubs and in light woods[1, 200]. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes[54].
Most of Europe, including Britain, through temperate and arctic Asia to China.

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.