Health benefits of Salad Burnet

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Salad Burnet Quick Facts
Name: Salad Burnet
Scientific Name: Sanguisorba minor
Origin Europe, western Asia and Siberia, and northern Africa
Shapes Achenes, paired in a persistent, usually winged, 3- to 5-mm-long
Taste Bitter, Pungent
Health benefits Treat Impotency, Improve Digestive Health, Treat Burns, Treatment Rheumatism, Plagues, Improves Oral Health, Control Cholesterol Level, Treats Skin Problems, Control Excessive Bleeding, Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Sanguisorba minor commonly known as salad burnet, is a perennial herb of the Rosaceae (Rose family). The plant is native to Europe, western Asia and Siberia, and northern Africa. In North America it is found occasionally in the western U.S. and to a lesser extent in the eastern U.S. from Tennessee and North Carolina to New England and the Great Lakes region. It is mostly grown in the herb gardens for its tasty leaves. Few of the popular common names of the plant are garden burnet, official burnet, burnet bloodwort, common burnet, salad burnet, sanguisorba, little burnet, small burnet and greater burnet. Genus name comes from the Latin words sanguis meaning blood and sorbeo meaning to soak up for its use to stop bleeding. Specific epithet means smaller.

It is used as an ingredient in both salads and dressings, having a flavor described as “light cucumber” and is considered interchangeable with mint leaves in some recipes, depending on the intended effect. Typically, the youngest leaves are used, as they tend to become bitter as they age. Salad burnet has the same medicinal qualities as medicinal burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis). It was used as a tea to relieve diarrhea in the past. It also has a respectable history, called a favorite herb by Francis Bacon, and was brought to the New World with the first English colonists, even getting special mention by Thomas Jefferson.

Plant Description

Salad Burnet is an introduced, hardy, herbaceous, relatively long-lived, evergreen, non-leguminous, perennial forb that grows about 40–90 cm tall. The plant is found growing in pinyon-juniper, woodlands, ponderosa pine, forests, relatively dry quaking aspen, park lands, mountain grasslands, chaparral, mountain brush lands, desert shrub lands, sagebrush steppes, damp areas, meadows, pastures, ditches and prefers alkaline soil. The plant is most productive on light sandy, medium loamy and heavy clay soils and prefers well-drained soil, although it also grows on sandy and clayey soils.  It usually has a branched caudex (thick base of stems) with a prominent taproot and is sometimes-weakly rhizomatous. The stems are simple or branched above and sparsely pilose with moniliform hairs or sometimes glabrous.


The plant has 12 to 17 pinnately compound basal leaves that are 2 to 8 inches (4-20 cm) long, egg-shaped, and sharply toothed. Each leaf has 4-12 pairs of rounded, toothed leaflets (to 1 inch long). The lower leaves are cauline and pinnate with the stipules adherent to the petiole and 10-15 cm long. Leaflets are crenate-toothed, alternate and pinnately compound and progressively reduced upward. Young leaves have the best taste (reminiscent of cucumber). Leaves are used fresh off the plant in salads, soups, herbal butters, vinegars or cold drinks.

Flower & Fruits

Salad burnet plant has male, bisexual and female flowers that appear in late spring and early summer. The top flowers are male, middle flowers bisexual and the female flowers grow on the top of the cluster. The flowering stems rise from the basal rosette and can grow to 1 foot in height. The inflorescence is a dense head or spike at the end of a long naked peduncle, 10-25 mm long. Each flower is subtended by a papery bract and there are approximately 12 stamens. There are no petals and the four sepals are broad, 4-5 mm long, greenish or white to red or purple. Flowering stalks are slightly interesting but not particularly ornamental and are often removed by gardeners who are more interested in harvesting the leaves for culinary use. Flowering normally takes place from May to August. Fertile flowers are followed by achenes, paired in a persistent, usually winged, 3- to 5-mm-long. Seeds are small, with about 50,000 seeds per lb.

Health Benefits of Salad Burnet

Listed below are few of the popular health benefits of Salad burnet

1. Helps in treating Impotency

Salad Burnet has been known to boost the sex life of people and is normally utilized for the purpose of treating erectile dysfunction in men. Roots of this plant is dried and then crushed to obtain a powder which is utilized for this function.

2. Improve Digestive Health

Leaves of this herb are known to be helpful in treating issues related to gastro-intestinal tract and are utilized as a treatment for issue such as diarrhea.

3. Can treat Burns

Powder derived from the roots of this herb and then mixed with sesame oil has been known to be effective in treatment against burns and cuts.

4. Improves Oral Health

Utilizing the powder of the Salad Burnet you can make a mouthwash which helps in treatment against issues such as swollen and bleeding gums.

5. Treatment of Skin Problems

Salad burnet leaves can be infused and used as a calming treatment for skin-related problems such as eczema, rashes and sunburn.

6. Control of Excessive Bleeding

The term Sanguisorba minor is derived from a Latin word known as “Sanguisorba”, which means blood absorber. This suggests why this plant is a quick remedy for stopping bleeding. Interestingly, salad burnet can also be infused as herbal tea and taken to stop excessive bleeding and to prevent hemorrhage.

7. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The herb has been known to possess anti-inflammatory qualities and therefore is an effective cure against issues such as gout and rheumatism.

8. Control of Cholesterol Level

Salad burnet consists of saponins, tannins, ellagitannins and glycosides (sanguisorbins), which are supposed to be helpful in reducing the cholesterol level. Another important cholesterol-reducing compound in salad burnet is the beta-sitosterol.

9. Treatment of Rheumatism

Salad burnet can be used for manufacturing medications that treat rheumatism.

10. Treatment of Plagues

Due to the astringent properties of garden burnet, it can be used as a remedy for plague.

Traditional uses and benefits of Salad Burnet

  • Both root and the leaves are astringent, diaphoretic and styptic, though the root is most active.
  • Plant is an effective wound herb, rapidly staunching any bleeding.
  • An infusion is used in the treatment of gout and rheumatism.
  • Leaves can be used fresh, or are harvested in July and dried (the plant should be prevented from flowering).
  • An infusion of the leaves is used as a soothing treatment for sunburn or skin troubles such as eczema.
  • Small burnet is used as a folk medicine in Europe and the Middle East as an astringent to stop bleeding and to treat gout and rheumatism.
  • It may have anti-HIV activity, caused lowered blood sugar and provided protection against ulcers in mice, and may have fungicidal activity.
  • In Europe, more so than North America, small burnet leaves are used as a cucumber-flavoring in iced drinks, salads, and other foods.
  • Tea made out of the leaves of salad burnet will relieve diarrhea.
  • In both Chinese and Western herbal medicine a decoction of the root has been used internally for heavy menstrual bleeding, blood in stool and urine, bleeding hemorrhoids and uterine bleeding.
  • It has been utilized in the treatment of a variety of digestive disorders, such as diarrhea, dysentery, enteritis, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and irritable colon.
  • Mouthwash can be made from the herb and used as an herbal treatment for gum inflammation and swollen tonsils.
  • Salad Burnet has been used externally as a folk remedy for nose bleed, wounds, burns, eczema, rash, boils and hemorrhoids.
  • To treat burns, the powdered root can be blended with sesame oil and then applied to the affected areas.
  • It is helpful with problems related to the urinary system and is a mild diuretic.
  • It can also be helpful treating symptoms of impotency and erectile dysfunction.
  • Making a mouthwash out of the powder / paste can help with swollen or bleeding gums.

Culinary uses

  • Young leaves and shoots are consumed raw or cooked.
  • They are best used before the plant comes into flower.
  • Eaten in salads, used as a garnish or added to soups, cooling drinks and claret cups.
  • Young seedlings are boiled and eaten.
  • In the acid soil of our Cornish trial grounds, the leaves have a distinctly bitter flavor, though when the same plants were grown on a chalky soil they had a much milder flavor.
  • Herb tea is made from the dried leaves.
  • In Spain, where it is known as hierba del cuchillo, the fresh leaves are added to cold drinks and used as a flavoring like mint or borage.
  • Dried leaves are also used to make medicinal tea, although fresh leaves are preferred for culinary uses; as the flavor of burnet leaves deteriorates over time, making them bitter.
  • Burnet leaves are used to flavor cream cheese and also added to tomato sauce, like basil or oregano.
  • Salad burnet is used in various salads and dressing and has the taste of ‘light cucumber’.
  • It is added in soups, salads, cooling drinks and claret cups.
  • Substitute salad burnet for basil in recipes for a unique taste.

Other facts

  • Plants have extensive root systems and are used for erosion control; they are also used to reclaim landfills and mined-out terrain.
  • Small burnet has good to excellent forage value for livestock and wildlife during all seasons.
  • Small burnet is considered very desirable forage for elk, deer, antelope and birds either as herbage or seed.
  • Salad burnet has a role to play in erosion control after fires.
  • It can be used to grow in place of invasive or noxious weeds when repairing land after a fire.


  • It should not be used by women who are breastfeeding or during pregnancy.
  • Because of the high content of tannins the herb should not be used continuously over a long time.






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