PULMONARIA: Properties, Uses and Benefits

Family: Boraginaceae

Species: Pulmonaria Officinalis

Common Names: Lungwort, Pulmonaria, Bethlehem sage

 

This shade plant is not only attractive, but surprisingly resilient. Lungwort prefers moist locations but can survive in drier locations if enough shade is provided. If planted in full sun, the plant will wilt… I suggest grow them under trees where other plants may have a hard time.

Coltivation

Lungwort plants grow in clumps and reach a height of about 40 cm. In proper conditions they can spread rapidly, root division should be carried out in early spring or fall. When doing so, don’t panic if the plants wilt soon after division, once established, lungwort need little extra care.
Because it’s very sensitive to environmental toxins, we can find this beauty in areas such unpolluted old forests. Perhaps the presence of Lungwort is often a good indicator of an ecosystem’s health.

IS IT EDIBLE?

The leaves of Pulmonaria’s plant are harvested and air dried to find use in medicinal supplements, rather than infused and drunk as a tea. Leaves themselves have a bitter taste, honey and stevia are my suggestion to sweeten its teas. Despite the bitterness, some people eat the leaves cooked or even raw in salads, we all fortunately have different taste.

Beside, to add some fresh leaves to your soups or smoothies can be an useful routine because rich of mucilage, that have the ability to protect internal mucous membranes, in order to prevent irritation of the digestive system.

The best time to harvest the flowers and leaves of lungwort is spring, up until the month of April. The way to do it is to cut the plant’s stem close to the ground while it still has the leaves and flowers on. Tie them in bunches and hang them by the stems in a shady and airy place. When they first open up, the flowers are red in color, but they turn blue as they are pollinated by bees.

MEDICINAL PROPERTIES

Pulmonaria officinalis, is a natural plant that has been used around the world for a variety of respiratory ailments, including coughs, colds, bronchial detoxification, relieve fluid retention and even to treat lung diseases such as tuberculosis.

There are different forms to benefit from what this plant has to offer us; leaves and flowers infusion, whole dried plant powder and tincture (by macerating the plant in 40° alcohol for a couple of months).

 


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