- Family Primulaceae
- Anagallis arvensis
- Adder's Eyes, Poor Man's Weatherglass, Red Chickweed, Red Pimpernel, Shepherd's Barometer
- It is not recommended for use more than two or three weeks at a time.
Found in Europe, temperate zones of Asia, North Africa, North America, non-tropical South America, and Australia, this creeping annual grows to about two inches in height, producing oval to lance-shaped leaves and scarlet five-petaled flowers on long stems. The poisonous flowers close each night and at the first sign of rain, opening again about nine in the morning. It prefers open areas and untended sandy soil. The herb is gathered in the summer towards the end of its flowering period.
Glassical Greek writers believed the herb helped melancholy. In 1931, Mrs. Grieves, a noted herbalist, quoted an old saying, "No heart can think, no tongue can tell. The virtues of the pimpernel"
The herb has been used for more than 2,000 years to treat epilepsy and mental problems, but there is little evidence to support this efficacy.
- induces sweating
- saponins (including anagalline)
- Aerial parts
- Cucurbitacins are cytotoxic to cells.
Although rarely used by herbalists today, it is sometimes employed as a poultice to treat joint pain.
In European folk medicine, it has long been used to treat gallstones, cirrhosis of the liver, lung problems, kidney stones, urinary infections, gout, and rheumatism. This pattern of use suggests a detoxifying nature of the plant.
As an expectorant, it was used to stimulate the coughing up of mucus and to help recovery from colds and flu.
In Chinese medicine, the herb is used for snake bites, dog bites, fish poisoning, joint ailments, and edema.
In Indian medicine it is used for menstrual disorders.
Homeopathic remedies treat skin rashes, warts, and urinary tract infections.