Such wonderful weather the last few days…yippee!!! I’ve been out in the garden every afternoon the last few days, cutting back dead flowers, leaves, branches, and clearing away debris to reveal new young shoots and buds. I love spring!
The snowdrops are nearly gone…
the primulas are blooming and the daffodils are getting ready to bloom.
One of my favourite early flowering medicinal herbs in the garden is my Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis). It is one of the first herbs to flower in early spring and is now in full bloom. The stem grows about 20 cm high and bears hairy, alternate, oval leaves with greyish white spots. The small tubular, bell-shaped flowers grow in small clusters, at first pink and later becoming blue, or white or purple. As the summer progresses, the flowers disappear but the spotted leaves grow really large.
In days gone by, Lungwort was used as a cure for lung disorders according to ‘Doctrine of Signatures’. The young leaves were used as a spring pot herb in soups, stews and salads; the flowering plant was made into a tea for gastro-intestinal and pulmonary ailments; and homeopathically used for bronchitis and colds.
According to www.herb2000.com the mucilage (a gummy substance secreted by some plants) properties of lungwort makes it immensely helpful in treating chest problems, especially chronic bronchitis. In addition, lungwort may be blended with other herbs like coltsfoot for effectual remedy of chronic coughs and also be administered for alleviating asthma. A combination of lungwort and coltsfoot is particularly effective in curing whooping cough. In addition, lungwort may also be used in curing ailments like sore throat as well as jamming. Years ago, physicians applied lungwort for coughing up blood released owing to tubercular contagion. It may be mentioned here that leaves of lungwort plant are astringent (a substance that draws tissue together) in nature and are frequently uses to impede bleeding.
Lungwort can be ingested both as an infusion as well as a tincture. To prepare an infusion of the herb, add one to two teaspoons of dried up lungwort in a cup of boiling water and leave it to permeate for around 10 to 15 minutes. An individual should drink the infusion prepared from lungwort thrice daily.
Chemical analysis of lungwort has shown that the herb encloses tannins, flavonoids, saponins, vitamin C. However, dissimilar to many other members of the borage family, lungwort does not comprise pyrrolizidine alkaloids.
In my earlier gardening years here in Ireland, I gathered many medicinal plants, many of which still grow in my gardens, and I considered growing all medicinal herbs and going the route of a homeopathic herbalist. But….instead, I opted to go the culinary route, growing herbs for flavouring foods. Besides…ALL culinary herbs have wonderful medicinal properties, and are completely safe for internal as well as external use….AND when used in the right proportions and combinations can elevate any dish from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Now…I must say I have used the leaves from a lot of medicinal plants in my salads and have been pleasantly surprised. I think lungwort leaves deserve a place in my next stew! 🙂