Anemone pulsatilla-Pasque Flower
Other names: Pulsatilla, Wind Flower, Meadow Anemone.
Habitat: Europe and parts of Russia, cultivated elsewhere.
Pasque flower is considered by herbalists to be of highly valuable modern curative use as a herbal simple. The plant contains the glycoside ranunculin, this is converted to anemonine when the plant is dried and is the medicinally active principle in the plant. The whole plant is alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, nervine and sedative. It is taken internally in the treatment of pre-menstrual syndrome, inflammations of the reproductive organs, tension headaches, neuralgia, insomnia, hyperactivity, bacterial skin infections, septicaemia, spasmodic coughs in asthma, whooping cough and bronchitis. Externally, it is used to treat eye conditions such as diseases of the retina, senile cataract and glaucoma. This remedy should be used with caution, excessive doses cause diarrhoea and vomiting. It should not be prescribed to patients with colds. See also the notes above on toxicity. In homeopathy, the plant is considered to be specific in the treatment of measles. It is also used for treating nettle rash, toothache, earache and bilious indigestion.
Description of Pasque Flower:
Pulsatilla vulgaris is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.2 m (0ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Apr to May, and the seeds ripen from Jun to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
Needs full sun. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.
Cultivation of Pasque Flower:
Requires a well-drained humus rich gritty soil in a sunny position. Lime tolerant. Prefers lime. Grows best in a well-drained chalky soil in a dry warm situation. Established plants are fairly drought tolerant. A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -20°c. A very ornamental plant, there are many named varieties. The plant has become rare in its natural environment, due partly to over-collecting and partly to habitat loss. Large plants transplant badly. A greedy plant, inhibiting the growth of nearby plants, especially legumes.
Propagation of Pasque Flower:
Pulsatilla Vulgaris Seeds – best sown as soon as it is ripe in early summer in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in about 2 – 3 weeks. Sow stored seed in late winter in a cold frame. Germination takes about 1 – 6 months at 15°c. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in the spring. Root cuttings, 4cm long taken in early winter, potted up in a mixture of peat and sand. They can also be taken in July/August, planted vertically in pots in a greenhouse or frame. Some care is needed since the plant resents root disturbance
Collection: The stalks should be gathered at the time of flowering which is in March or April. The plant is harvested soon after flowering, it is more poisonous when fresh and so should be carefully preserved by drying. It should not be stored for longer than 12 months before being used.
Culinary uses of Pasque Flower:
Actions: Nervine, anti-spasmodic, antibacterial.
Part Used: Aerial parts.
Indications: Pasque Flower is an excellent relaxing nervine for use in problems relating nervous tension and spasm in the reproductive system. It maybe used with safety in the relief of painful periods (dysmenorrhoea),ovarian pain and painful conditions of the testes. It may be used to reduce tension reactions and headaches associated with them.It will help insomnia and general over-activity. The antibacterial actions give this herb a role in treating infections that affect the skin,especially boils. It is similarly useful in the treatment of respiratory infections and asthma. The oil or tincture will ease earache.
This remedy was far more widely used in the last century. To quote sections from the extensive monograph in King’s Dispensatory: “Pulsatilla forms an important remedy with the Eclectic physicians as well as with homeopaths, who make extensive use of it. According to Dr. Scudder, its most important use is to allay irritation of the nervous system in persons of feeblehealth, thus giving sleep and rest, preventing unnecessary expenditure of nerve force, and, by this means, facilitating the action of tonics and restoratives.In feeble women and men who have become nervous from sedentary habits or mental over-exertion, as well as in the nervousness and restlessness of masturbators,or persons addicted to the excessive use of tobacco, he has found it very certain in its action. It is the remedy for nervous women, when there is debility and faulty nutrition of the nerve centers. It is a remedy of wide applicability, but more particularly for those conditions in which the mind is a prominent factor. A gloomy mentality, a state of nerve depression and unrest, a disposition to brood over real or imagined trouble a tendency to look on the dark side of life, sadness, mild restlessness, and a state of mental unrest generally denominated in broad terms”nervousness,” are factors in the condition of the patient requiring Pulsatilla. The whole countenance and movements of the body depict sadness, moroseness, despondency, and lack of tone. Hysteria of the mild and weeping form may be a symptom. The whole condition is one of nervous depression, the nutrition of the nerve centers are at fault. Pulsatilla may be given to produce sleep, when there is great exhaustion. If the insomnia is due to nervous exhaustion it is a prompt remedy to give rest, after which sleep obtains. Where sleep is disturbed by unpleasant dreams, and the patient awakens sad and languid, Pulsatilla should be given. It has a large field in troubles incident to the reproductive organ of both sexes. As an emmenagogue, it serves a useful purpose in amenorrhoea in nervous and anemic subjects, with chilliness a prominent symptom. Indysmenorrhoea, not due to mechanical causes, and with the above-named nervous symptoms, no remedy is more effective. Pulsatilla frequentlyproves a good remedy in ovaritis and ovaralgia with tensive,tearing pain. Sluggish, ineffectual, and weak labor-pains are sometimes remedied by this drug. It is frequently a remedy for pain, when dependent on or associated with debility,and sometimes when due to acute inflammation. It is a leading remedy in epididymitis and orchitis, whether due to gonorrhoeal infection or to metastasis from mumps. It relieves the pains of orchialgia, and subdues mammary swelling from the metastasis of mumps. It is especially valuable in relieving urethral irritation and consequent spermatorroea and prostatorrhoea. It alleviates the nervous irritability accompanying or produced by varicocoele. In gonorrhoea, particularly of the chronic type, Pulsatilla is of value when the urethral membrane is swollen. Many unpleasant conditions of the urinary apparatus are relieved by Pulsatilla, as frequent but ineffectual attempts at urination, the bladder giving a sensation as if bloated; dribbling of urine from movement, the dysuria of pregnancy, and in involuntary micturition from colds or from nervous debility. It frequently proves a useful remedy in headache of various types. It relieves the frontal headache from nasal catarrh, nervous headache.
Pulsatilla, Pasque Flower should be remembered as a remedy to control the catarrhal symptoms of the exanthemata; it also controls the irritability frequently accompanying these disorders. In measles, it has done good service in checking the coryza and profuse lachrymation, as well as the dry,tight, painful cough, and when retrocession of the eruption has taken place, it has reversed this unpleasant condition. It has been used to good advantage for the relief of haemorrhoids. One of the earliest uses of this plant was for the relief of cataract, and opacity of the cornea, conditions in which the reputed value of Pulsatilla is very much overrated. It stands out prominently as a remedy for horadeolum or “stye.” It is also a prompt remedy when the conjunctiva is hyperemic and the vision weakened,especially after reading, or from sexual abuse or sexual excesses(!?!), and in profuse lachrymation when in the wind.”
CAUTION: Do not use the fresh plant!
Preparations & Dosage of Pasque Flower:
Infusion: a cup of boiling water onto 1/2-lteaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day or when needed.
Tincture: 1-2 ml 3 times a day.
Combinations: For painful periods it will combine well with Cramp Bark. For skin conditions it combines with Echinacea.
Other uses of Pasque Flower:
A green dye is obtained from the flowers. Plants can be grown to form a ground cover, they are best spaced about 30cm apart each way.
Esoteric uses of Pasque Flower:
None known but if you use this plant for any purpose please let us know!
* Lactones; protoanemonin, which dimerizes on drying to anemonin, ranunculin
* Triterpenoid saponins
* Miscellaneous; anemone camphor, tannins, volatile oil.