Herbs & Plants (Spices)


Botanical Name: Alkanna tinctoria
Family: Boraginaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Boraginales
Genus: Alkanna
Species: A. tinctoria

Common Names:Alkanet, Dyers’ bugloss, Orchanet, Spanish bugloss, or Languedoc bugloss.

Habitat: Alkanet is native to the Mediterranean region. It grows on maritime sands, uncultivated ground, calcareous soils and pine forest.

Alkanna tinctoria is a perennial plant, growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft). It is in flower in June. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).A. tinctoria has a bright blue flower. The plant has a dark red root of blackish appearance externally, but blue-red inside, with a whitish core. The root produces a fine red colouring material, which has been used as a dye in the Mediterranean region since antiquity. The root as a dyestuff is soluble in alcohol, ether, and the oils, but is insoluble in water.


Prefers a well-drained sandy or loamy soil in sun or partial shade. Dislikes acid soils but thrives in alkaline soils. A very drought tolerant plant when established, succeeding in a hot dry position, it is a useful plant for dry sandy or alkaline soils. Plants are hardy to about -10°c. This species is occasionally cultivated as a dye plant[61]. One report says that it is cultivated for its seed.

Edible Uses:
Used as a vegetable. No further details are given. A red dye obtained from the roots is used as a food colouring.

Medicinal Uses:
The root is antibacterial, antipruritic, astringent and vulnerary.It is used externally in the treatment of varicose veins, indolent ulcers, bed sores and itching rashes. Used internally to treat cough and bronchial catarrh (see known hazards above). Used in the treatment of skin wounds and diarrhoea .The root is harvested in the autumn and can be dried for later use. All plant parts are demulcent and expectoran

Other Uses:
Dye Litmus

A red dye is obtained from the roots, it is used by pharmacists as well as in perfumes and to stain wood or marble. The dye is also used in thermometers and as a litmus to test for acids and alkalines. It can make wood look like rosewood or mahogany.It is used to give colour to wines and alcoholic tinctures, to vegetable oils, and to varnishes.

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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