Sundew as a medicinal plant

Use of sundew in historic times

In the 12th century Matthaeus Platearius, an Italian physician of the school of Salerno described the use of sundew under the name “herba sole” as medicinal plant for the treatment of cough. Sundew was further used to strengthen the heart and as an aphrodisiac as well as for sunburn and freckles.
Superstitious hunters believed that sundew provided they will not miss shooting if they carried the herb with them. The herb was also inserted into amulets and was believed to protect from witchcraft and mania..

Pharmacologically relevant compounds

Drosera rotundifolia contains several compounds that are pharmacologically relevant such as naphtochinone derivatives (7-methyljuglone, plumbagin, droseron, ramentaceon) and flavonglycosides (quercentin, myricetin) and camphor oil.

Sundew has versatile sanative effects

1,4 naphtochinone derivatives are the reason behind the pronounced bronchyolitic, antibiotic and antiphlogic properties of sundew. Naphtochinone and in parts flavonoids have antitussive (inhibits cough), secretolytic and spasmolytic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. Plumbagin already has antibiotic effects at low concentrations.

Areas of application for sundew

Sundew is mostly used as a cough remedy. In traditional Europaen medicine the herb is used to remove warts, corns and freckles. Also internal applications for the treatment of cramps, liver illnesses and arteriosclerosis are reported.
Drosera tincture is used as a digestive aid and as treatment for bloating. Extraktum Droserae fluidum is used for the treatment of bronchitis and whooping cough.

Veterinary medicine

Traditionally sundew is also used internally as spasmolytic, diuretic and aphrodisiac for domestic animals (German: “Bullenkraut” which means bull’s herb).

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