Scarlet Pimpernel (Anagallis arvensis)

Common Name Latin Name Plant Family
Scarlet Pimpernel
Anagallis arvensis
Primulaceae

The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing[272].

  • Medicinal Use

    The scarlet pimpernel was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems[254], but there is little evidence to support its efficacy and it is no longer recommended for internal use because it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins[238, 254].

    The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary[4, 7, 9, 21, 46]. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice[7]. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder[9, 272]. The plant is best harvested in June and can be dried for later use[4]. Use with caution[21], large doses can cause polyuria and tremor[7].

    A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant[9]. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts[9].

  • Edible Use

    Leaves – raw or cooked[2, 105, 115]. Used in salads[4] and as a spinach[2]. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable[272]. It is best not to eat these leaves[55, 238], see the notes above on toxicity.

  • Cautionary Notes

    The seeds are slightly poisonous to some mammals, but no cases involving people are known[13, 76]. Skin contact with the plant can cause dermatitis in some people[76].

Cultivation & Habitat

Seed – sow spring in situ.
Prefers a sunny position and a good soil[1]. Succeeds in dry or sandy soils[238]. The flowers open at about 8 am and close at 3pm each day, though they close earlier if it rains. The flowers are also said to foretell wet weather if they close early[207].
Throughout most of the world, including Britain, but absent from the Tropics.

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.