Anthyllis vulneraria L. Fabaceae. Kidney vetch, woundwort. 'vulneraria' means 'wound healer'

  • Dr Henry Oakeley
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'wort' has been used in England since the 9th century to mean root or plant. Parkinson (1640) notes Anthylis prior and Anthyllis lentisimilis (Dodoens) Anthyllis leguminosa (Lobel, Clusius) Lagopodium (Tabermontanus) Arthetica wundkraut Saxonum (Thalius) Vulneraria rustica (Gesner) and several more names from different authors. Small herb. Distribution: Europe to Iran and North Africa. The hairy flowers and leaves would act, like cotton wool, to promote platelet clotting. Parkinson (1640) notes it as Anthyllis leguminosa vulgaris writing ' ... much use among the Germans for their wonds and hurts, inward and outward, so doe both wayes apply them, whence their name: Thalius [said] it was used for the gout' . Anthyllis vulneraria is being used to clear up contaminated mine sites as it can absorb zinc, lead and camium from mine tilings where the metal concentrations are 500 times higher than European standars allow, storing up to 8% by weight in vacuoles in their leaves. It has no modern medical use. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.


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