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Common Name: Gromwell
Lithospermum officinale is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.75 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
Europe, including Britain, except the extreme southwest and north, east to Iran and the Caucasus.
Hedges, bushy places and woodland borders, usually on basic soil[
Prefers a moderately fertile well-drained soil[
The leaves are used as a tea substitute[
The mature seeds are diuretic, lithontripic and oxytocic[
]. They are ground into a powder and used in the treatment of bladder stones, arthritis and febrile conditions[
An infusion of the leaves is used as a sedative[
The root is depurative[
]. A syrup made from a decoction of the root and stems is used in the treatment of eruptive diseases such as smallpox, measles and itch[
All parts of the plant contain a substance that inhibits the secretion of the pituitary gonadotrophic hormone[
]. Extracts of the herb possess contraceptive properties[
A purple dye is obtained from the roots. It is best harvested in the spring[
Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts.