Medicinal plants

Bärwurz – Application & Treatment for Health


Bärwurz is one of the old European medicinal plants. Today, however, the herb is hardly known.

Occurrence and cultivation of Bärwurz

The Bärwurz ( Meum athamanticum ) is the only representative of the genus Meum. It is part of the umbelliferae family ( Apiaceae ). The medicinal plant reaches a height of between 15 and 60 centimeters and a width of about 30 centimeters. It has a hardy rootstock and a hollow stem.

The rootstock is also equipped with a tuft of fibers, while the leaves are pinnate like a hair. Bärwurz is one of the perennial herbaceous plants. Its flowering period takes place in the months of May and June. One of the typical characteristics of the medicinal plant is its strong smell, which can be perceived even when it is dried. In autumn, the seeds, which are about seven millimeters long, emerge from the yellowish-white Bärwurz flowers.

The home of the Bärwurz can be found in Western and Central Europe. However, the plant’s distribution area can extend as far as Bulgaria and southern Italy’s Calabria. Even in Morocco specimens of Bärwurz can be found. Preferred locations of the medicinal plant are screes, pastures and stony places below Krummholz.

Effect & Application

The constituents of Bärwurz include essential oils , phthalides, monoterpenes, resin, fats, ligustilide, caffeic acid, sugars , starch and gum. Bärwurz is not only used as a medicinal plant, but also in the kitchen, where it is used as a herb. The roots and the dill-like foliage ensure a hearty taste.

Bärwurzschnaps is also very popular in Bavaria. The fresh leaves of the plant are served in the kitchen like parsley . They have the property of stimulating the appetite and aiding in digestion . Bärwurz can be administered in various ways for medicinal purposes. The leaves can be crushed and applied to the affected areas as poultices for gout complaints or skin diseases .

Internal use as a tea is also possible. A teaspoon of dried leaves is poured over 250 milliliters of boiling water. The tea takes about ten minutes to brew. After straining, the preparation can be taken. The tea is considered effective for indigestion.

In addition to the tea, the Bärwurz seeds can also be poured over 250 milliliters of boiled water. Before straining, they have to steep for about 20 minutes. The seeds are suitable for treating bladder problems , migraines and loss of appetite . Other dosage forms of Bärwurz are a decoction of the roots and a tincture.

You can also make the tincture yourself. For this purpose, the user fills the roots of the plant in a screw-top jar. He then pours spirits or double grain over the contents. When all parts of the plant are covered, he closes the mixture and lets it steep for a period of two to six weeks. The mixture is then strained into a dark bottle.

The tincture is then taken one to three times a day with ten to fifty drops. With too intense a concentration of tincture, there is an opportunity to dilute it with water. In addition to internal use, Bärwurz tea can also be administered externally. This is done through ablutions, compresses or baths.

Importance for health, treatment & prevention

Bärwurz has largely been forgotten as a medicinal plant. So it is hardly to be found in the herbal books of the present. The plant was already held in high regard in ancient times. It was recommended by physicians such as Dioscurides in the 1st century AD and Galenos in the 2nd century AD to treat urinary retention, joint problems or hysteria .

In the medical work Physica, the polymath Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) also mentioned Bärwurz benevolently. The positive properties of the medicinal plant for gout and fever were praised. Even today, Hildegard medicine uses Bärwurz to treat fever and cardiac insufficiency . The plant is also used in homeopathy . In contrast, conventional medicine attaches no importance to Bärwurz.

Bärwurz was also mentioned in 1539 in the herb book by Hieronymus Bock (1498-1554). His student Jakob Dietrich (1522-1590), also known as Tabernaemontanus, praised the plant as a component of the medieval antidote theriac. Bärwurz was often cultivated in monastery gardens. Witch medicine used the plant as feverfew. It was also used during childbirth. Dried Bärwurz was also used as cattle feed because the cattle avoided fresh specimens.

From the 19th century Bärwurz was almost exclusively used in veterinary medicine. Instead, the plant was increasingly used as a kitchen spice. In Bavaria, Bärwurz is still used today as a raw material to produce Bärwurz liqueur. This promotes digestion and strengthens the stomach. Bärwurz is recommended by folk medicine for the treatment of various diseases.

These include flatulence , loss of appetite, intestinal catarrh, problems with digestion, jaundice (icterus), diseases of the bladder, heart failure, gout, poisoning , kidney problems, white flow and colic . Other indications include menstrual cramps , migraines , rashes on the skin , stress , age-related symptoms and hysteria.

In addition, Bärwurz is said to have deflating, appetizing, stomach-strengthening, purifying, detoxifying, tonic, diuretic and warming effects. In addition, the medicinal plant strengthens the heart and has a positive effect on female menstruation. However, a warning is given against too high a dosage of Bärwurz root. This can lead to headaches.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.