Medical Herbs Catalogue



Botanical Name: Antennaria dioca (GAEERTN.)
Family: N.O. Compositae

Synonyms: Life Everlasting. Mountain Everlasting. Gnaphalium dioicum (Linn.). Cudweed.
Part Used: Whole herb.
Habitat: Europe, Asia, America to the Arctic regions, abundant in Great Britain, often to the coast level.

Description: This plant derives its name from the antennae of a butterfly which the pappus hairs of the Staminate florets resemble. It is the only British species, a small perennial with tufted or creeping leafly stalks and almost simple flowering stems, from 2 to 5 inches high. Lower leaves obovate or oblong, upper ones linear, white underneath or on both sides. Flowers early summer white and pinky, dioecious. In the males, inner bracts of the involucre have broad white petal-like tips, the females inner bracts narrow and white at tips, florets filiform with long protruding pappus to the achenes. Taste astringent odour pleasant and strongest in the female heads, male plant has white membraneous scales and the female rosecoloured. Gerard alludes to it as 'Live for ever,' and says: 'When the flower hath long flourished and is waxen old, then comes there in the middest of the floure a certain brown yellow thrumme, such as is in the middest of the daisie, which floure being gathered when it is young may be kept in such manner (I meane in such freshness and well-liking) by the space of a whole year after in your chest or elsewhere, wherefore our English women have called it "Live Long," or "Live-for ever," which name doth aptly answer thiseffects.' Another variety of Cudweed was called 'Herbe Impious' or 'Wicked Cudweed,' a variety 'like unto the small Cudweed, but much larger and for the most part those floures which appeare first are the lowest and basest; and they are over topt by other floures, which come on younger branches, and grow higher as children seeking to overgrow or overtop their parents (as many wicked children do) for which cause it hath been called "Herbe Impious." ' Medicinal Action and Uses: Discutient and used for its astringent properties, as a cure for quinsy, and mumps, said to be efficacious for bites of poisonous reptiles, and for looseness of bowels.

Constituents: Resin, volabile oil tanin and a bitter principle.

Doses: For a mouthwash: 1 OZ. Cudweed, 1 OZ. Raspberry Leaves, 1 OZ. Tincture of Myrrh. As an infusion: 1 OZ. herb to pint boiling water is given internally in wineglassful doses and applied externally, as a gargle and as a fomentation. Fluid extract: Dose, 1/2 to 1 drachm.