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Common Names : “corncockle” and “corn cockle” and known locally simply as “the corncockle”
Habitat : It is very likely that until the 20th century, most wheat contained some corncockle seed. It is now present in many parts of the temperate world as an alien species, probably introduced with imported European wheat. It is known to occur throughout much of the United States and parts of Canada, parts of Australia and New Zealand.In parts of Europe such as the United Kingdom, intensive mechanised farming has put the plant at risk and it is now uncommon or local. This is partly due to increased use of herbicides but probably much more to do with changing patterns of agriculture with most wheat now sown in the autumn as winter wheat and then harvested before any corncockle would have flowered or set seed.
It is a stiffly erect plant up to 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) tall and covered with fine hairs. Its few branches are each tipped with a single deep pink to purple flower. The flowers are scentless, are 25–50 millimetres (1–2 in) across and are produced in the summer months – May to September in the northern hemisphere, November to March in the southern hemisphere.
Each petal bears two or three discontinuous black lines. The five narrow pointed sepals exceed the petals and are joined at the base to form a rigid tube with 10 ribs. Leaves are pale green, opposite, narrowly lanceolate, held nearly erect against stem and are 45–145 mm (1.8–5.7 in) long. Seeds are produced in a many-seeded capsule. It can be found in fields, roadsides, railway lines, waste places, and other disturbed areas.
The seed is diuretic, expectorant and vermifuge. Minute amounts are used medicinally. It has a folk history of use in the external treatment of cancer, warts etc. The plant is not used in allopathic medicine, but it has been found efficacious in the treatment of dropsy and jaundice if used for long enough.
Corn Cockle is not used in alopathic medicine to-day, but according to Hill, if used long enough, it was considered a cure for dropsy and jaundice.
In homoeopathy a trituration of the seeds has been found useful in paralysis and gastritis.
Known Hazards: All parts of the plant are poisonous (githagin, agrostemmic acid).
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider