Substances & Homeopatic Remedies

Sanguisorba officinalis

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---Parts Used Medicinally---The herb and root, the herb gathered in July, and the root dug in autumn.

Culpepper says of 'The Great Wild Burnet':
'This is an herb the Sun challenges dominion over, and is a most precious herb, little inferior to Betony- the continual use of it preserves the body in health and the spirits in vigour, for if the Sun be the preserver of life under God, his herbs are the best in the world to do it by.... Two or three of the stalks, with leaves put into a cup of wine, especially claret, are known to quicken the spirits, refresh and cheer the heart, and drive away melancholy: It is a special help to defend the heart from noisome vapours, and from infection of the pestilence, the juice thereof being taken in some drink, and the party laid to sweat thereupon.'
He also recommends it for wounds, both inwardly and outwardly applied.

---Cultivation---Burnet may be cultivated. It prefers a light soil. Sow seeds in March and thin out to 9 inches apart. Propagation may also be effected by division of roots, in the autumn, that they may be well-established before the dry summer weather sets in. The flowers should be picked off when they appear, the stem and leaves only of the herb being used.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---Astringent and tonic. Great Burnet was formerly in high repute as a vulnerary, hence its generic name, from sanguis, blood, and sorbeo, to staunch. Both herb and root are administered internally in all abnormal discharges: in diarrhoea, dysentery, leucorrhoea, it is of the utmost service; dried and powdered, it has been used to stop purgings.

The whole plant has astringent qualities, but the root possesses the most astringency. A decoction of the whole herb has, however, been found useful in haemorrhage and is a tonic cordial and sudorific; the herb is also largely used in Herb Beer.


This herb is theroot of Sanguisorbaofficinalis L.(family Rosaceae) which is produced in all parts of China. It is col-lected in spring and autumn, washed clean, dried in sunlight then sliced and usedunprepared or carbonized.
Bitter and sour inflavour,slightly cold in property, acting on the liver, stomach and large intestine channels.
Stopping bleeding by eliminat-ing pathogenic heatform the blood andaccelerating the healing of sores bydetoxication.
Used for:
1. Various kindsof bleeding,especial-ly effective for hema-fecia, hemorrhoi-dalbleeding, dysenterywith bloody stool,and metrorrhagia and metrostaxis due to pathogenic heat in the blood of the lower-jiao. For hema-fecia and hemorrhoidalbleeding, it is fre-quently used with sophora flower, for metrorrhagia and me-trostaxis due to pa-thogenic heat in the blood, it can be used with dried rehmanriaroot and scutellaria root; for dysentery with bloody stool, itcan be used withcoptis and aucklandia root.
2. Scalds. eczema,shin ulceration, etc.For scalds, the mix-ture of its powder and sesame oil or the mixture with sesame oil of the fine powder of this herb, phellodendron bark,unprepared gypsum, rhubarb and calcitein the proportionsof 8:4:4:2:2 is used for external applica-tion; for eczema and skin ulceration,gauzesoaked in the concen-trated decoction ofunprepared sanguisorba root is prepared forexternal use or themixture of the finepowder of this herb, calcined gypsum and dried alum is spread on the diseased area.
Dosage and admi-nistration: 10-15g, decocted in water for an oral dose; proper amount for external use. It is usually used unprepared fordetoxication and acce-lerating the healing of sores but for arresting bleeding, it is used stir-baked.
Forlarge areas of burns,preparations of san-guisorba should not be used for external application becausethe hydrolytic tannin in the herb could be absorbed by the body to result in toxichepatitis.