Daucus carota-Wild Carrot
Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae
Other names: Queen Anne’s Lace, Bird’s Nest Weed, Devil’s Plague (!)
Habitat: Europe, Asia, North America and N. Africa. Cultivated and waste land, amongst grass, especially by the sea and on chalk.
Carrots sometimes cause allergic reactions in some people. Skin contact with the sap is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Daucus has been reported to contain acetone, asarone, choline, ethanol, formic acid, HCN, isobutyric acid, limonene, malic acid, maltose, oxalic acid, palmitic acid, pyrrolidine, and quinic acid. Reviewing research on myristicin, which occurs in nutmeg, mace, black pepper, carrot seed, celery seed, and parsley, Buchanan (J. Food Safety 1: 275, 1979) noted that the psychoactive and hallucinogenic properties of mace, nutmeg, and purified myristicin have been studied. It has been hypothesized that myristicin and elemicin can be readily modified in the body to amphetamines. Handling carrot foliage, especially wet foliage, can cause irritation and vesication. Sensitized photosensitive persons may get an exact reproduction of the leaf on the skin by placing the leaf on the skin for awhile, followed by exposure to sunshine.
Description of Wild Carrot:
Daucus carota; Wild Carrot, is a BIENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in).
It is hardy to zone 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to August, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies, beetles.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. Needs full sun. It prefers moist soil. The plant can tolerate maritime exposure.
Cultivation of Wild Carrot:
Prefers a sunny position and a well-drained neutral to alkaline soil. A good plant for the summer meadow, it is a food plant for caterpillars of the Swallow-tail Butterfly. This species is the parent of the cultivated carrot. It can act as an alternative host for pests and diseases of the cultivated carrots. The plant has become a pest weed in N. America, where it is spreading rapidly and crowding out native vegetation. The whole plant, when bruised, gives off an aniseed-like scent.
Propagation of Wild Carrot:
Wild Carrot Seeds – sow August/September or April in situ. The seed germinates better if it is given a period of cold stratification.
Collection: The aerial parts of the herb should be collected between June and August when in flower or when seeding in August and September.
Culinary uses of Wild Carrot:
Edible Parts: Flowers, Root.
Edible Uses: Coffee, Condiment.
Root – cooked. Thin and stringy. The flower clusters can be french-fried to produce a carrot-flavoured gourmet’s delight. The aromatic seed is used as a flavouring in stews etc. The dried roasted roots are ground into a powder and are used for making coffee.
Actions: Diuretic, anti-lithic, carminative, anti-spasmodic.
Part Used: Dried aerial parts and seeds.
Indications: The volatile oil that is present in Wild Carrot is an active urinary antiseptic, which helps explain its use in the treatment of such conditions as cystitis and prostatitis. It has been considered a specific in the treatment of kidney stones for a long time. In thetreatment of gout and rheumatism it is used in combination with other remedies to provide its cleansing diuretic action. The seeds can be used as a settling carminative agent for the relief of flatulence and colic.
Preparations & Dosage of Wild Carrot:
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. To prepare an infusion of the seeds, use 1/3-1 teaspoonful to a cup of water.
Tincture: take 1-2 ml of the tincture three times a day.
Combinations: For urinary infections it may be used with Yarrow and Bearberry. For kidney stones use it with Hydrangea or Gravel Root.
Other uses of Wild Carrot:
Cosmetic, Essential oil.
An essential oil obtained from the seed has an orris-like scent. It is used in perfumery and as a food flavouring. The oil has also been used cosmetically in anti-wrinkle creams.
Esoteric uses of Wild Carrot:
- Daucine, an alkaloid
- Volatile oil
- Petroselinic acid, tannins