Herbs & Plants

Peucedanum officinale


Botanical Name : Peucedanum officinale
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Peucedanum
Species: P. officinale
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Apiales

Synonyms: Sow Fennel. Sulphurwort. Chucklusa. Hoar Strange. Hoar Strong. Brimstonewort. Milk Parsley. Marsh Parsley. Marsh Smallage.
(French) Persil des Marais.
(German) Sumpfsilge.

Common Names: Hog’s Fennel, Sulphurweed, Hoar Strange, Hoar Strong

Habitat:Peucedanum officinale or the Hog’s Fennel is a a native of Great Britain.It is found mainly in Central Europe and Southern Europe. It grows on rough grassland, clayey banks and cliffs near the sea.
Peucedanum officinale is a herbaceous perennial plant with stems up to 2 m in height, solid, striate, sometimes weakly angled, sparsely blotched wine red, surrounded by fibrous remains of petioles at the base and springing from a stout rootstock. The umbels of greenish-yellow flowers contrast pleasingly with the bushy, radiating mass of dark green, long-petioled leaves, which bear linear, sessile lobes, attenuate at both ends and having narrow, cartilaginous margins (i.e., individual lobes resembling blades of grass)
Flowers bloom from July to September. Its leaves are cut into long narrow segments, hence perhaps its popular name of Hog’s Fennel....CLICK & SEE HE PICTURES

The thick root has a strong odour of sulphur – hence one of the other popular names of the plant, Sulphurwort, and when wounded in the spring, yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice, which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong scent of the root.

This plant is now naturalized in North America, where in addition to the name of Sulphurwort, it is called Chucklusa.

Cultivation :
An easily grown plant, it succeeds in any moisture-retentive soil in a sunny position. Suitable for group plantings in the wild garden.

Seed – we have no information on this species but suggest sowing the seed in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe if this is possible otherwise in early spring. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.

Edible Uses:The gum.
Part Used in medicines : The whole Herb.

Constituents: The active constituent of the root is Peucedanin, a very active crystalline principle, stated to be diuretic and emmenagogue.

Medicinal Uses:
Anodyne; Antispasmodic; Aperient; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Pectoral.

The plant is anodyne, antispasmodic, aperient, diaphoretic, diuretic and pectoral. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh etc[9]. The root is mainly used, it is harvested in the spring or autumn and dried for later use. A homeopathic remedy is made from the roots. It is used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, coughs, intermittent fevers and to stimulate menstrual flow.

The long stout taproot – ‘black without and white within’ and sometimes ‘as big as a man’s thigh’, as Gerard has it – yields,when incised in Spring, a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green latex, which dries into a gummy oleoresin and retains the strong, sulphurous scent of the root. This harvesting technique,and the product so obtained, very much recall those of two other medicinal umbellifers: Ferula assa-foetida and Dorema ammoniacum. A decoction of the root of P. officinale is diuretic, sudorific, antiscorbutic and controls menstruation. Gummi Peucedani, the oleoresin derived from the drying of the root latex, has properties similar to those of Gum Ammoniac (the oleoresin derived from Dorema ammoniacum). Peucedanum officinale has also been used in veterinary medicine

The juice used with vinegar and rose-water, or with a little Euphorbium put to the nose benefits those that are troubled with the lethargy, frenzy or giddiness of the head, the falling sickness, long and inveterate headache, the palsy, sciatica and the cramp, and generally all the diseases of the sinews, used with oil and vinegar. The juice dissolved in wine and put into an egg is good for a cough or shortness of breath, and for those that are troubled with wind. It also purgeth gently and softens hardness of the spleen…. A little of the juice dissolved in wine and dropped into the ears or into a hollow tooth easeth the pains thereof. The root is less effectual to all the aforesaid disorders, yet the powder of the root cleanseth foul ulcers, and taketh out splinters of broken bones or other things in the flesh and healeth them perfectly; it is of admirable virtue in all green wounds and prevents gangrene.’

Russian herbalists have used the powdered herbs as a remedy for epilepsy. An infusion is used in the treatment of coughs, bronchial catarrh, intermittent fever and to stimulate menstrual discharge .

The juice, say Dioscorides and Galen, used with vinegar and Rose-water put to the nose, helps those that are troubled with lethargy, frenzy, giddiness of the head, the falling-sickness, long and headache, palsy, sciatica and the cramp. The juice dissolved in wine, or put into an egg, is good for a cough, or shortness of breath and for those that are troubled with wind in the body. It purges the belly gently, expels the hardness of the spleen, gives ease to women that have sore travail in childbirth and eases the pains of the reins and bladder, and also the womb
Other Uses: The root is wounded in the spring and then yields a considerable quantity of a yellowish-green juice which dries into a gummy resin and retains the strong sulphur-like smell of the plant. The gum of Ferula communis is used as an incense and also has medicinal value.

Known Hazards: Skin contact with the sap of this plant is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. It is also said to contain the alleged ‘psychotroph’ myristicine.

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.