The main use of the alkanet in herbal medicine today is in the role of an expectorant - a substance that brings up phlegm, for topical purposes, it is also used as an emollient - a substance that softens and soothes the skin. However, clinical researchers and pharmacologists have not found any evidence that supports the expectorant action of the alkanet. The emollient action of alkanet is still to be evaluated in a clinical setting as well. Alkanet remedies made from any parts of the herb posses an expectorant and demulcent activity. Such remedies are used as a topical treatment for the treatment of all kinds of cuts, bruises and phlebitis; these remedies are also consumed to treat persistent coughs and disorders such as bronchial catarrh in different patients. The herb is also used in preparing a homeopathic remedy often used in alleviating ulcers in the stomach and duodenum.
Alkanet is a European species; it is an invasive species in North America and can now be found growing locally in the wild from Maine up to New Jersey in the south as well as westward up to the states of Ohio and Michigan - it is seen as a weed in most of the places it grows in. This herb thrives in sunny areas and can grow well on most type of soils. At the same time, the alkanet prefers fertile and well drained soils. Flowers of the alkanet are very attractive to bees, as they are a rich source of nectar. Alkanet leaves are also dried and used in potpourris as they give off a rich and musky fragrance, the fragrance is similar to the smell of wild strawberry leaves before they are dried. To grow alkanet in the garden from seeds, sow the seeds during the spring in sandy soil in pots. Germination is aided by the overnight drop in temperature. Seeds normally germinate in about one to four weeks at an average temperature of about 21�C. As the alkanet plants grow and become large enough to handle by hand, each individual seedling must be pricked out into individual pots and then planted out in the soil during the summer months. An outdoor soil bed can also be used to sow the seeds during the month of July; this must be followed by the transplantation of the growing plants to where they will finally be fully grown early in the autumn season. Such plants tend to grow larger and flower earlier than the plants that were sown during the spring season.