Herbs & Plants

Pulsatilla vulgaris

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Botanical Name : Pulsatilla vulgaris
Species:P. vulgaris

Synonyms :  Anemone pulsatilla

Common Name :Pasque flower, Pasqueflower, Common pasque flower, Dane’s blood,European pasqueflower

Habitat:Pulsatilla vulgaris native to Europe.It is found locally on calcareous grassland.It grows in sparsely wooded pine forests or meadows, often on a sunny sloping side with calcium-rich soil. A large colony occurs on publicly accessible land in the Cotswolds, at the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust‘s Pasqueflower reserve.

Pulsatilla vulgaris is an herbaceous perennial plant. It develops upright rhizomes, which function as food-storage organs. Its leaves and stems are long, soft, silver-grey and hairy. It grows to 15–30 cm high and when it is fruit-bearing up to 40 cm. The roots go deep into the soil (to 1 m). The finely-dissected leaves are arranged in a rosette and appear with the bell-shaped flower in early spring. The purple flowers are followed by distinctive silky seed-heads which can persist on the plant for many months. The flower is ‘cloaked in myth’; one legend has it that Pasque flowers sprang up in places that had been soaked by the blood of Romans or Danes because they often appear on old barrows and boundary banks.
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This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society‘s Award of Garden Merit.
Different varities of Pulsatilla vulgaris are available, while the main variety of Pulsatilla vulgaris has purplish flowers; variants include red (Rubra) and white (Alba) forms (see images).

Requires a well-drained humus rich gritty soil in a sunny position. Lime tolerant. Prefers lime. Grows best in a well-drained chalky soil in a dry warm situation. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant[1], there are many named varieties. The plant has become rare in its natural environment, due partly to over-collecting and partly to habitat loss. Large plants transplant badly. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in about 2 – 3 weeks. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. Germination takes about 1 – 6 months at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring. Root cuttings, 4cm long taken in early winter, potted up in a mixture of peat and sand. They can also be taken in July/August, planted vertically in pots in a greenhouse or frame. Some care is needed since the plant resents root disturbance.

Medicinal Uses:
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pulsatilla is used as an anti-inflammatory and is considered specific for amoebic and bacterial dysentery. Externally, it is used as a douche for trichomonas.
Western herbalists and homeopaths, on the other hand, use minute doses of pulsatilla as an important remedy for premenstrual syndrome. Curiously, mainly fair and blue-eyed women are responsive to this remedy. It is generally used as an emmenagogue and to increase blood and energy circulation for both men and women. It strengthens sexual sensitivity while lessening the tendency towards morbid preoccupation. It is a good remedy to consider for disorders of the reproductive organs and the prostate, associated with nervous and emotional problems. Characteristically, the symptoms treated are nervousness, restlessness and an active imagination or fear of impending danger or disease. For menstrual irregularity or delayed menstruation, it is used to treat simple suppression due to atropy or shock. It is also good for some cases of heart disease, again with strong mental symptoms.

Pulsatilla is used for various inflammatory conditions, but especially if accompanied by nervousness, despondency, sadness, unnatural fear, weepiness and depression. It is used also for headache, insomnia, neuralgia in the anemic, thick tongue coating with a greasy taste, stomach disorders from over-indulgence in fats and pastries, various alternating and shifting signs such as diarrhea/constipation, amenorrhea and dysmenorrhea, pain from exposure to wind, toothache and styes.
In France, it has traditionally been used for treating coughs and as a sedative for sleep difficulties. Pulsatilla is also used to treat eye problems such as cataracts.

Pasque flower is considered by herbalists to be of highly valuable modern curative use as a herbal simple. The plant contains the glycoside ranunculin, this is converted to anemonine when the plant is dried and is the medicinally active principle in the plant. The whole plant is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine and sedative. It is taken internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome, inflammations of the reproductive organs, tension headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, hyperactivity, bacterial skin infections, septicaemia, spasmodic coughs in asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. Externally, it is used to treat eye conditions such as diseases of the retina, senile cataract and glaucoma. This remedy should be used with caution, excessive doses cause diarrhoea and vomiting. It should not be prescribed to patients with colds. See also the notes below on toxicity. The plant is harvested soon after flowering, it is more poisonous when fresh and so should be carefully preserved by drying. It should not be stored for longer than 12 months before being used. In homeopathy, the plant is considered to be specific in the treatment of measles. It is also used for treating nettle rash, toothache, earache and bilious indigestion.
Other Uses : ….Dye......A green dye is obtained from the flowers. Plants can be grown to form a ground cover, they are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.

Known Hazards  :  The plant is slightly toxic, the toxins are dissipated by heat or by drying the plant.   Repeated handling of the plant can cause skin irritation in some people.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider



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