Saxifrage, Greater Burnetotanical: Pimpinella magna
Family: N.O. Umbelliferae Parts Used: Herb, seeds.
The Greater Burnet Saxifrage is very like large specimens of Pimpinella saxifraga, but larger in all its parts and of a paler green in colour, the root-stock much thicker and the stems generally 2 to 4 feet high, stouter and more angular. The leaflets are larger and broader, generally less deeply cut. The umbels and flowers are similar, though the styles are longer and more slender.
Medicinal Action and Uses: This plant has much the same medicinal properties as the former species, and has been employed in a similar manner.
The root is very acrid, and is powerfully diuretic, having been prescribed with success, in strong infusion, in disorders arising from obstructions of the viscera. The seeds are carminative, and have been used in colic and for dispersing wind in the stomach, administered in powdered form.
The Aniseed of medicine and commerce is a foreign species of this same genus.
Culpepper says this plant:
'has the properties of the parsleys but eases pains and provokes urine more effectually. ... The distilled water, boiled with castoreum, is good for cramps and convulsions, and the seed used in comfits (like carraway seeds) will answer the same purpose. The juice of the herb dropped into bad wounds in the head, dries up their moisture and heals them.'