For several centuries, woundwort has been used as a remedy to treat an assortment of diseases and health conditions all over the world. In effect, herbalists consider woundwort something like an universal remedy. This herb possesses a number of remedial uses and they are very constant. The entire woundwort plant has several medicinal properties, including antipyretic (any medication that checks or prevents fevers), antiseptic, antibacterial, astringent, antispasmodic, carminative (a medication that helps to expel gas from the stomach), and febrifuge (a medication that dispels fever), diuretic, stomachic (a medication that is beneficial for the stomach), hypotensive (a medication that treats low blood pressure), and tonic, styptic (a medication that helps to bind body tissues), vulnerary (any herb that heals wounds) and vermifuge (a medication that expels worms from the body). While an infusion prepared with cold water and freshly sliced or dried as well as powdered leaves is said to be a revitalizing drink, a weak infusion of the herb may also be used as therapeutic eyewash for sties and pinkeye (a severe type of conjunctivitis). In addition, woundwort is also ingested as a remedial tea to treat diarrhea, fevers, internal hemorrhage, tender mouth and throat as well as the debility of the heart and liver. The wound healing properties of woundwort have given much repute to this herb, especially owing to its effectiveness in treating internal as well as external hemorrhages. The name of the herb itself suggests that it has been used traditionally as a medication to stop bleeding as well as treating inflamed parts. In addition, woundwort is highly useful for treating health conditions, such as cramps, gouts and joint pains. Generally, the herb is harvested during summer just before the plant starts blooming. In most cases, the herb is dried after harvesting for use when necessary. Woundwort plant also yields a yellow dye or pigment.
Woundwort, especially its tuberous roots, are edible and eaten both raw and cooked. It is considered to be a healthy and nourishing food having a pleasing gentle nutty taste. One may also prepare bread and other items by using the dried and pounded powder of the tuberous woundwort roots. The tubers of this plant are formed during autumn. While they are somewhat small in size, the tuberous roots are moderately smooth and formed in reasonable amounts and, hence, they are not very difficult to use. The young shoots of the herb can also be consumed after cooking much in the same way as asparagus. Hence, these shoots are often used as a substitute for asparagus. Although the shoots have a pleasing flavour, their smell is disgusting.
Woundwort is indigenous to Europe and widespread in the United Kingdom, where it is found growing in the wild in swamp meadows as well as along the river banks and beside streams and ditches. This herb is extensively scattered in the northern temperate climatic zones. Woundwort has the aptitude to grow and thrive in a variety of soil conditions. The herb prefers light or sandy soil, but it also thrives well on medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils provided the drainage is adequate. In addition, the plant has a preference for acidic soils, but also grows well in neutral and basic or alkaline soils. Woundwort can grow in partial shade, such as in light forested areas, as well as in sunlight. In effect, for proper growth, this herb needs a moist or damp soil that is well drained. In the wild, woundwort grows around marshy lands, ditches as well as beside water bodies. The woundwort plant is propagated by its seeds. It is best to sow the seeds in a cold frame during spring. When the seedlings have grown large enough to be handled, prick each of them individually and plant them in separate pots indoors. When the young plants are sufficiently large, plant them in their permanent positions outdoors. Alternately, this herb can also be propagated by means of root division done in spring. Large root divisions can be directly planted in their permanent positions outdoors. The woundwort plant produces flowers at different times of the year conditional on the climate as well as a number of other conditions. More often than not, the plants blossom during the period between June and August. The entire plant is harvested just prior to the blooming and dried for later use. The leaves as well as the small flowers of the herb are edible.
Chemical analysis of the woundwort plant has revealed that the most helpful elements enclosed by the herb include betulinic acid, delphinidin, D-camphor, manganese, hyperoside, oleanolic acid, rutin, rosmarinic acid, ursolic acid and also a variety of tannins and saponins.