Common Name: Fool's Parsley
Aethusa cynapium is an erect, branched annual plant that can grow from 5 - 120cm tall[
The plant is sometimes harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
The entire plant is poisonous though less so than Conium maculatum (q.v.)[
]. Small amounts can cause pain, confusion of vision and vomiting[
]. The dried plant might be safe to eat[
Europe - Norway, south to Spain, east to Turkey and the Caucasus, and through the Russian Federation to Ciscaucasia
Grows in waste places and is also a common weed of cultivated ground but rarer in the north of Britain[
All parts of the plant have an unpleasant smell reminiscent of hemlock (Conium maculatum)[
Leaves - raw or cooked[
]. It is very inadvisable to eat this plant, see the notes above on toxicity[
Although fairly toxic, fool's parsley has occasionally been used in folk medicine[
]. The herb is sedative and stomachic. It has been used in the treatment of gastro-intestinal problems, especially in children, and also to treat convulsions and summer diarrhoea[
Extreme caution in the use of this herb is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
The plant is used in homoeopathy. The characteristic symptoms relate mainly to the brain and nervous system, connected with gastro-intestinal disturbance. It is used especially for young children during teething or when, particularly during summer, there is diarrhoea, a marked inability to digest milk, and poor circulation[
Seed - we have no details on this species but suggest sowing the seed in situ as soon as it is ripe or in spring.