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Common Names : Viper’s Bugloss or Blueweed, Common viper’s bugloss
Habitat: Echium vulgare is native to southern and western Europe and Western Asia. It has been introduced to North America and is naturalised in parts of the continent, being listed as an invasive species in Washington. It grows in calcareous and light dry soils, especially on cliffs near the sea is also found on walls, old quarries and gravel pits.
Echium vulgare is a biennial or monocarpic perennial plant growing to 30–80 cm (12–31 in) tall, with rough, hairy, lanceolate leaves. The flowers start pink and turn vivid blue and are 15–20 mm (0.59–0.79 in) in a branched spike, with all the stamens protruding. The pollen is blue but the filaments of the stamens remain red, contrasting against the blue flowers. It flo wers between May and September. It is found in dry, bare and waste places…..CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
Cultivation: Succeeds in any good garden soil but flowers best when the soil is not too rich. Requires a sunny position. The plant is very deep rooted. A good bee plant.
Propagation: : Seed – sow February-May or August-November in situ. Germination usually takes place within 2 – 3 weeks at 15°c. If the seed is in short supply then it can be sown in pots in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.
Edible Uses: Young leaves – raw or cooked. They can be used as a spinach substitute. Mild and mucilaginous. Although somewhat hairy, when chopped up finely they are an acceptable part of a mixed salad. Eating the leaves is said to stimulate sexual desire. Use with caution, there is an unconfirmed report of toxicity.
Part Used in medicine: The whole Herb.
Viper’s bugloss was once considered to be a preventative and remedy for viper bites. It is related to borage, Borago officinalis, and has many similar actions, especially in its sweat-inducing and diuretic effects. In recent times, however, it has fallen out of use, partly due to lack of interest in its medicinal potential and partly to its content of pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are toxic in isolation. The leaves and flowering stems are antitussive, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and vulnerary. An infusion of the plant is taken internally as a diuretic and in the treatment of fevers, headaches, chest conditions etc. The juice of the plant is an effective emollient for reddened and delicate skins, it is used as a poultice or plaster to treat boils and carbuncles. The leaves are harvested in the summer and can be dried for later use. The roots contain the healing agent allantoin. The plant is said to be efficacious in the treatment of snake bites. When chopped up finely, the fresh flowering heads can be made into a poultice for treating whitlows and boils.
Known Hazards: The leaves are poisonous. No cases of poisoning have ever been recorded for this plant. The bristly hairs on the leaves and stems can cause severe dermatitis.
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.