Uses and benefits of Rupturewort

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Rupturewort Quick Facts
Name: Rupturewort
Scientific Name: Herniaria glabra
Origin Africa, Asia, Europe and Northern America
Shapes Egg-shaped, thin-walled achene, slightly longer than calyx
Taste Bitter
Health benefits Beneficial for kidney and bladder stones, gouts, urinary bladder infections, renal disease, diabetes, hernias, hypertension, cardiac decompensation, rheumatism
Rupturewort, known scientifically as Herniaria glabra, is a medicinal herb belonging to the Caryophyllaceae family and is associated to dianthus and carnations. There are around 15 to 20 species of annual or perennial plants that belong to the genus Herniaria and most can be found growing wild. Rupturewort is the only member of the species which is cultivated. The plant is native to Africa  (Algeria,  Egypt, Libya,  Morocco,  Tunisia),  Asia  (Armenia, Azerbaijan,  Georgia,  China,  Japan,  Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,  Tajikistan,  Uzbekistan,    Mongolia, Russian  Federation,  Afghanistan,  Iran,  Iraq, Palestine,    Lebanon,  Turkey),  Europe  (Belarus; Estonia;  Latvia;  Lithuania;  Russian  Federation,  Ukraine,  Austria,  Belgium,  Czech  Republic, Germany,  Hungary,  Netherlands,  Poland,  Slovakia, Switzerland,   Denmark,   Sweden,  United Kingdom, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece,  Italy,  Macedonia,  Montenegro,  Romania, Serbia,  Slovenia,  France,  Portugal,  Spain)  and Northern America (Canada and USA).

Some of the well-known names of the plant are Smooth Rupturewort, Bruckkraut, Flax Weed, Herniaire Hirsute, plain Herniary, glabrous rupturewort, Herniary breastwort, Rupturewort, Green carpet and Smooth burstwort. The plant was named Herniaria glabra because of its supposed capability to treat hernias. Its common name ‘rupturewort’ has the same derivation. However, the hernias it was used to treat were actually skin ruptures like cuts as opposed to the internal hernias we associate with the word. These days, rupturewort is a popular plant in the garden with gardeners who often use it as ground cover for poor soil. Because of this, it is also known as ‘Green carpet. While it does have certain medicinal properties, there is little scientific evidence regarding its efficacy. If the herb is stored for too long, or if it has not been dried in the right way, the active ingredients in the herb quickly break down. Therefore it is best to use the fresh herb or dried herb that has been stored (in sealed containers) for a short time. The herb has a slightly bitter taste.

Rupturewort Facts

Name Rupturewort
Scientific Name Herniaria glabra
Native Africa, Asia  Europe and Northern America
Common Names Smooth Rupturewort, Bruckkraut, Flax Weed, Herniaire Hirsute, plain Herniary, glabrous rupturewort, Herniary breastwort, Rupturewort, Green carpet, Smooth burstwort
Name in Other Languages Albanian: Herniaria e shogët, herniarie
Arabic: Showail
Aragonese: Mil en grana
Azerbaijani: Çılpaq herniyar
Bashkir: Бүҫер үләне
Bulgarian: Golo belilo (голо белило), golo izsiplivche (голо изсипливче)
Catalan: Herniària vera, cent-en-grana, cent-en-rama, cent-en-rama llisa, granelluda, herba arenària, herba còlica, herba de cent en grana, herba de cent granes, herba de la irritació, herba de la rapa, herba de les dones, herba de les mil granes, herba de mal de pedra, herba de Noé, herba de pedra, herba granària, herba renària, herba turca, herniària, herniària vera, mil granes, milengrana, milgranes, santa en grana, santaengrana, santa-en-grana, santingrana, trenca-pedra, trencapedra granelluda, urinària
Chinese: Zhì shàn cǎo
Croatian: Gola kilavica
Czech: Průtržník lysý
Danish: Brodurt, Brudurt
Dutch: Breukkruid, kaal breukkruid, Almindelig brudurt
English: Glabrous rupturewort, smooth rupturewort, Herniary breastwort, Rupturewort, Smooth rupturewort, Green carpet, Smooth burstwort
Estonian: Sööt-reiarohi, Harilik söötreiarohi
Finnish: Ketotyräruoho, tyräruoho
French: Casse-pierre, herniaire glabre, herniaire vulgaire, herniole, hernière glabre, miligrane, milligrane, turquette, turquette glabre
Galician: Coquera, coriña, erva-das-quebraduras, herba do pedreira, herba dos mexos, turca
German: Kahles Bruchkraut, kahles Tausendkorn
Greek: Erniária (ερνιάρια), erniaría leía (ερνιαρία λεία)
Hebrew: Darkanit kerachat, דַּרְכָּנִית קֵרַחַת
Hungarian: Kopasz porcika, Porcikafű
Italian: Erba turchetta, erniaria, erniaria glabra, erniola
Japanese: Kogomebiyu (コゴメビユ)
Latvian: Kailā trūkumzālīte
Lithuanian: Plikasis skleistenis
Majorcan: Herba pixotera, mil en grana, pitxosa, trenca-pedras
Norwegian: Brokkurt, Brudgras, Tusind korn
Occitan: Erbo de la gravello
Persian: علف ترکی
Polish: Połonicznik gładki, połonicznik nagi
Portuguese: Erva turca, erva-das-quebraduras, erva-herniária, erva-turca, herniaria, herniola, herníola, herva das quebraduras,herva turca, milegrana, turca
Romanian: Feciorică, iarbă fecioarelor glabra
Russian: Gryzhnik gladkiy (грыжник гладкий)
Serbian: Gola priputnitsa  (гола припутница), sipanica (сипаница)
Slovak: Prietržník holy
Slovene: Goli kilavec
Spanish, Castillian: Arenal, arenilla, cazapete, ciento en grana, herniaria, cientoengrana, gazapeio, gazapeiro, gazapeos, gazapero, gazapete, gazapeto, gazapote, hierba cólica, hierba de la piedra, hierba del turco, hierba lacólica, hierba turca, manzanilla fuerte, mil en grana, milengrana, millegranos, polígono menor, polígono menor llamado herniaria, yerba del mal de piedra, yerba del turco, yerba golondrina, yerba turca, rompepiedras, sanguinaria
Swedish: Knytling, Vanlig knytling
Tajik: Alafi gunçişk (Алафи гунҷишк)
Turkish: Atyaran
Ukrainian: Ostudnyk holyy (остудник голий), ostudnik kotova (остудник котова)
Upper Sorbian: Hładka přetoržnička
Valencian: Arenària, cent en rama, herba cagadera, herba cagadora, herba d’arenal, herba d’orina, herenària
Welsh: Llysiau’r-fors llyfn
Plant Growth Habit Slow-growing, low growing hardy, annual  or  perennial groundcover
Growing Climates Dry sand fields, sandy hillside ridges, sand pits, roadsides, railway embankments, loading areas, wasteland, forestry rides, golf courses, car parks, disused gravel-pits and disturbed areas in short grassland
Soil Thrives in most soil types, including dry, rocky, poor quality varieties. The only thing it won’t like is one that is overly moist, so the soil should be well-drained
Plant Size Up to 4 cm and spreads easily in all directions, each plant being able to cover up to 2 feet
Root Short and hairy tap roots grow horizontally in all directions, thereby forming flat, circular mats that can be up to 30 cm in diameter and approx. 4 cm in height
Stem Spreading, 5–18[–35] cm,  glabrous or  thinly  pilose, prostrate and very branched
Leaf Leaves are very small, elliptic to lanceolate, sessile ; glabrous or hairy, of a pale green; they stand two at each joint, and are also of a pale green, tinged yellow. Stipules small, ovate, ciliate
Flowering season July to August
Flower Flowers are very small, and yellow, scarcely discernible from the stalks and leaves
Fruit Shape & Size Egg-shaped, thin-walled achene, slightly longer than calyx
Seed Flat-orbicular, 0.5  mm  in diameter
Taste Bitter
Plant Parts Used Stems  and the Aerial Parts
Available Forms Capsules and liquid extract
Season August
Health Benefits
  • Arthritis and Gout
  • Wound Healing
  • Urinary Tract Infections

Plant Description

Rupturewort is a slow-growing, low growing hardy, annual or perennial groundcover that normally grows up to 4 cm and spreads easily in all directions, each plant being able to cover up to 2 feet. The plant has short and hairy tap roots that grow horizontally in all directions, thus forming flat, circular mats that can be up to 30 cm in diameter and approx. 4 cm in height. Plant has spreading, 5–18 cm, glabrous or thinly pilose, prostrate and very branched. The plant is found growing in dry sand fields, sandy hillside ridges, sand pits, roadsides, railway embankments, loading areas, wasteland, forestry rides, golf courses, car parks, disused gravel-pits and disturbed areas in short grassland. The plant thrives in most soil types, including dry, rocky, poor quality varieties. The only thing it won’t like is one that is overly moist, so the soil should be well-drained.

Leaves

Leaves are very small, elliptic to lanceolate, sessile; glabrous or hairy, of a pale green; they stand two at each joint, and are also of a pale green, tinged yellow. Stipules are small, ovate, ciliate.

Flower and fruits

Flowers are very small, and yellow, and sit in small clusters in the leaf axils, hardly discernible from the stalks and leaves. The sepals are green and blunt. Flowering normally takes place in between July to August.  

Fertile flower are followed by egg-shaped, thin-walled achene, slightly longer than calyx and is found enclosed between the sepals. Seed us flat-orbicular and about 0.5 mm in diameter.

Health benefits of Rupturewort

The majority of the plant’s therapeutic abilities are likely due to the presence of flavonoids and saponins. The plant has diuretic properties as well as anticonvulsive and astringent properties and the ability to disinfect the urinary tract. Listed below are few of the popular health benefits of Rupturewort

1. Urinary Tract Infections

Rupturewort has been used for centuries for medicine and the first mention of its use dates back to the early 1500s when it was used as a natural diuretic to treat urinary tract infections and cystitis. The herb is still used today to treat a range of urinary tract conditions including urethritis, urinary tract infections and cystitis and it has an anti-spasmodic effect on the bladder. It is also used to prevent kidney stones or kidney gravel from forming.

2. Wound Healing

Rupturewort has also been used traditionally to help treat minor wounds and ulcers. Its common name as well as its scientific name Herniaria stem from its purported ability to treat herniated or ruptured skin. Because it has astringent properties, the herb is applied topically in the form of a poultice to help speed up the healing of minor wounds, ulcers and sores.

3. Arthritis and Gout

Rupturewort has also been used to help treat joint conditions like rheumatism and arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to confirm its efficacy and we are dependent on anecdotal evidence and traditional use.

It is also occasionally used to treat gout possibly because of its purported diuretic ability. Because of its diuretic actions, rupturewort may help flush uric acid and other toxins from the system. It is the build-up of uric acid which causes painful episodes of gout.

Traditional uses and benefits of Rupturewort

  • The whole plant, gathered when in flower, is astringent, very actively diuretic and expectorant.
  • It appears to have an antispasmodic effect upon the bladder and is used in the treatment of dropsy, catarrh of the bladder, cystitis and kidney stones.
  • It has also gained a reputation for treating hernias.
  • Externally, it has been used as a poultice to speed the healing of ulcers.
  • It is recommended for catarrh of the bladder.
  • It was used for centuries as a diuretic agent in the treatment of chronic cystitis and urethritis.
  • It was also used traditionally as a treatment for ailments of the upper respiratory tract, arthritis, rheumatism and as a “blood cleansing” agent.
  • The plant has a mild anticonvulsive and disinfectant effect on the urinary tract.
  • Rupturewort is still used by some herbalist to treat urinary symptoms such as cystitis, urethritis, and to prevent the formation of kidney stones and kidney gravel.
  • The herb is occasionally used as a poultice to accelerate healing of sores and wounds because of its astringent properties.
  • It has also been used traditionally to treat rheumatism, gout and coughs.
  • It is still used in a poultice and applied to the skin to help heal minor wounds and ulcers.
  • Drinking a few cups a day may help naturally treat a urinary tract infection.
  • Rupturewort is also used to treat nerve pain, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle pain and gout
  • The whole plant is also used to make a poultice that is applied externally to heal ulcers.
  • The whole herb can be applied topically to help treat minor wounds and ulcers.
  • It was used traditionally  for the treatment of kidney and bladder stones, gouts,  urinary bladder infections,  renal  disease,  diabetes, hernias, hypertension,  cardiac  decompensation,  as  well  as rheumatism,  and  was  externally  applied  as  an antiseptic and skin emollient.
  • It was used traditionally  as  blood  purification,  circulatory disorders,  vascular  disorders,  to  decrease  blood pressure,  diuretic,    bone  and  Joint  conditions,  respiratory  conditions  and  breathing  disorders, neuritis,  neural  catarrh  and  for  urinary  tract conditions.

Dosage and Administration

To make a tea for diuretic purposes, one to two grams (one teaspoon) of the herb is added to hot water (not boiling) and allowed to steep for a while. The usual recommended intake is two to three cups a day.

Some commercial products that can be found on the market today and are intended to treat urinary tract infections contain rupturewort.

Other Facts

  • A good ground cover plant, allowing spring bulbs to grow through it.
  • An aqueous extract of the plant is a hand cleanser, making the skin soft and supple.
  • The soft, green leaves produce a musky odor when they are crushed.

Precautions

  • Make sure that you speak to your doctor before using rupturewort especially if you are pregnant or suffer from any pre-existing illness.
  • Rupturewort may also interact with other medications so it is important to consult your doctor before using the herb.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=20299#null

https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?latinname=Herniaria+glabra

https://www.cabi.org/isc/datasheet/114771

http://www.floracatalana.net/herniaria-glabra-l

https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/r/ruptur23.html

https://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=HEGL8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herniaria_glabra

http://www.tn-grin.nat.tn/gringlobal/taxonomydetail.aspx?id=310830

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2846931

https://gd.eppo.int/taxon/HEQGL

https://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/57384/#b

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