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Medicinal Action and Uses
The older herbalists held this plant in greater repute than it enjoys at the present day. Pliny recommended a decoction of the plant beaten up with honey for divers complaints. Dodoens recommended it as a healer of wounds, 'made into powder and dronke with wine, wherin iron hath bene often quenched, and so doth the herbe alone, being but only holden in a man's hande as some have written. The leaves stiped in wine and dronken, doth comfort and rejoice the hart and are good against the trembling and shaking of the same.' Parkinson grew Burnet in his garden and the early settlers in America introduced it from the Mother Country. 'It gives a grace in the drynkynge,' says Gerard, referring to this use of it in cool tankards. We are also told that it affords protection against infection, 'a speciall helpe to defend the heart from noysome vapours and from the infection of the Plague or Pestilence, and all other contagious diseases for which purpose it is of great effect, the juice thereof being taken in some drink.' and that 'it is a capital wound herb for all sorts of wounds, both of the head and body, either inward or outward, used either in juice or decoction of the herb, or by the powder of the herb or root, or the water of the distilled herb, or made into an ointment by itself or with other things to be kept.' It is still regarded as a styptic, an infusion of the whole herb being employed as an astringent. It is also a cordial and promotes perspiration. Turner advised the use of the herb, infused in wine or beer, for the cure of gout and rheumatism.
Burnet saxifrage has long been held in high regard as a medicinal herb, being used especially in the treatment of wounds and internally to ease digestion, soothe respiratory complaints and treat kidney and urinary diseases. The leaves and the root are antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, resolvent and stomachic[4, 7, 13, 21]. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and dried for later use. The root is harvested in the autumn and can also be dried for later use. The root is antiinflammatory, mildly astringent and expectorant. The fresh root is very hot and acrid, but this pungency is greatly reduced when the root is dried. When chewed, the fresh root is effective in treating toothaches and paralysis of the tongue. The root is also used for soothing coughs or the effects of laryngitis and bronchitis. The roots can be harvested in the spring or autumn and are dried for later use. A lotion made from the root is used externally to help regenerate the skin of older people. A distilled water made from the plant is used as an eye lotion.
"This root is considered the best remedy for a sour stomach and is said to expel stones from the bladder."