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Common Name: Greater Burnet Saxifrage
Pimpinella major is a perennial plant that can grow up to 0.80 metres tall.
It is harvested from the wild for local use as a food and medicine
Europe, including Britain, from Scandanavia south and east to Portugal, the Balkans and Caucasus.
Hedge banks, woodland edges and other grassy places[
Easily grown in any good soil[
], preferring rather moist conditions[
]. Grows best in a cool position[
Plants are hardy to about -20°c[
An essential oil from the roots is used as a flavouring in candy, liqueurs etc[
The leaves are diaphoretic, diuretic, resolvent and stomachic[
]. The plant is harvested as it comes into flower and dried for later use[
The root is anti-inflammatory, 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[
]. An effective diuretic, the root is used in treating disorders arising from obstructions of the viscera[
]. 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[
The seeds are carminative[
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. If you can obtain fresh seed then it is best sown immediately. This can be done in situ if you have sufficient seed, but if you only have a small quantity then it is safer to sow it in pots in a cold frame. Sow stored seed as soon as you can obtain it, this is probably best done in a cold frame. When they are large enough to handle, prick the pot-grown seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer.