Health Benefits of Frostwort

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Frostwort Quick Facts
Name: Frostwort
Scientific Name: Helianthemum canadense
Origin Eastern North America
This flowering plant, with its large, bright yellow face, is indigenous to all parts of the United States, growing in dry, sandy soils and blossoming from May to July. The flowers open in sunshine and cast their petals the next day. When seen growing you will notice some with petals and some without. The Rock rose is a perennial herb, simple, ascending downy stems about 1 ft. high. The leaves are alternate, from ½–1 in. long, and about a quarter as wide. The leaves, as well as the stem, are covered with a white down, hence its name.

The whole plant is official, having slight aromatic odour; and astringent and bitter taste.

Professor Eaton, in his work on Botany, records this curious fact of the plant: “In November and December of 1816, I saw hundreds of these plants sending out broad, thin covered ice crystals, about an inch in breadth from near the roots. These were melted away by day, and renewed every morning for more than twenty-five days in succession.”

Plant description

Frostwort is a flowering perennial plant 8-24 inches high which blooms from May to June. Normally each stem has single flower but rarely can have two. Flower is yellow with five petals and between ¼ and 1 ¼ inches across. Leaves are covered in hairs and alternate in pattern. Stems are covered in hairs and are brown or green in color.

Facts about Frostwort

Name Frostwort
Scientific Name Helianthemum canadense
Native Eastern North America
Common/English Name Rock Rose, Frostweed, Frost Plant, Sun Rose, Scrofula Plant, Longbranch frostweed, Canada frostweed, Rock frost, Frostplant, Frostwort
Name in Other Languages English: Canada frostweed, Longbranch frostweed;
French: Hélianthème du Canada
Soil Dry, base-rich
Medicinal part The herb
Flowering Season May until July
Flower Bright yellow, saucer-shaped


Flowers are single stalked at the tip of stem or branch, sometimes two but only one flower opens at a time. Flowers are about ¾ to 1¼ inch across with five yellow petals and 10 or more orange tipped stamens fanning around small central column. Flowers are five green to red tinged sepals, inner three broadly triangular, outer two very narrow and half as long to nearly as long as the inner. Sepals are covered in a mix of short star shaped hairs, long and spreading to ascending hairs.

Leaves and stems

Leaves are alternate, narrowly elliptic or wider, 1 ¼ inch to 1/3 inch wide, pointed or blunt at the tip, stalkless and tapering at the base. Upper surface is shiny and covered in short star shaped hairs mixed with scattered, long and unbranched hairs. Typically leaves on branches are smaller than those on main stem and do not have long and unbranched hairs. The undersides of leaves are densely covered in short and star shaped hairs providing gray-green appearance. Stems are hairy, round, green or brown, initially branched forming several ascending branches after initial yellow petaled flower has finished blooming.


A round capsule which is enclosed by persistent sepals resembling cleistogamous flowers. Usually, the fruits developed from yellow petaled flowers are larger and has more seeds than fruit developed from cleistogamous flowers.

Medicinal uses

  • Dried leaves act as antiscrofulatic, laterative, tonic and astringent.
  • Tea made from leaves is used for treating kidney ailments and sore throats.
  • Strong leaf tea is used for treating scrofula.
  • Apply it externally to eye infections and skin diseases.
  • Use it in the form of syrup, decoction and fluid extract.


Has been used for cancerous degenerations, especially the oil procured from the plant. In scrofula, its valuable contents have performed with astonishing admiration.

It can be used with advantage in diarrhoea, as a gargle in scarlatina and aphthous ulcers (small white ulcers on the tongue, and in the mouth) and as a wash in scrofulous ophthalmia. Effective in venereal treatment, obviating the many side-effects of the popular treatment.

It is used in the form of decoction, syrup, or fluid extract, but is advised to be used with Dicentra canadensis (Corydalis) and Stillingia.


Steep 1 teaspoonful of the granulated herb in 1 cup of boiling water for ½ hr., strain, take 1 tablespoonful three to six times a day. Of the tincture, 5–10 min.


  • The leaves made into a poultice are effective in treating scrofulous tumours, and ulcers.
  • Surely there is something in the unruffled calm of nature that exceeds our anxieties and doubts, and is in control by obeying her.


Overdose causes nausea and vomiting.






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