Traditional uses and benefits of Viper’s Bugloss – Echium vulgare

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

Viper’s Bugloss (Blueweed) Quick Facts
Name: Viper’s Bugloss (Blueweed)
Scientific Name: Echium vulgare
Origin Europe and western and central Asia and it occurs as an introduced species in north-eastern North America
Colors Brown or gray
Shapes Cluster of four seeds (i.e. nutlets or mericarps) that are enclosed by five bristly bracts
Health benefits Beneficial for fevers, headaches, chest conditions, whitlows, boils, snake or viper bites, cracked hands and heal wounds
Echium vulgare which is known as viper’s bugloss and blueweed is a species of flowering plant in the borage family of Boraginaceae. The plant is native to Europe (i.e. Denmark, Finland, Ireland, Norway, Sweden, UK, Austria, Belgium, Czechoslovakia, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland, Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, western Russia, Ukraine, Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania, Yugoslavia, France, Portugal and Spain), western Asia (i.e. Cyprus, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, southern Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan) and western China where it is most commonly found in pastures, fields, disturbed sites, waste places and roadsides. Its reputation among gardeners runs the gamut from an aggressive weed to attractive wildflower.

Blueweed, Blue echium, Blue thistle, Blue-devil, Common echium, Common viper’s bugloss, Common vipersbugloss, Viper’s-bugloss, Vipers bugloss, Blue devil are few of the popular common names of the plant. Echium is the Greek name for this plant. It is derived from echis which means viper in reference to the nutlet shape which resembles the head of a viper and the ancient medicinal use of the plant root as a treatment for snakebite. Specific epithet means common. Plants were once used as a treatment for snake/viper bites. Plant nutlets are reported to resemble snake/viper heads.

Viper’s Bugloss Facts

Name Viper’s Bugloss
Scientific Name Echium vulgare
Native Most of Europe and western and central Asia, and it occurs as an introduced species in north-eastern North America
Common Names Blueweed, Blue echium, Blue thistle, Blue-devil, Common echium, Common viper’s bugloss, Common vipersbugloss, Viper’s-bugloss, Vipers bugloss, Blue devil
Name in Other Languages Afrikaans: Blueweed, Blou-echium
Albanian: Blueweed, Ushqerza e rëndomtë, ushqerëz
Amharic: Semayawī (ሰማያዊ)
Arabic: bulyud (بلوويد), akhiun (أخيون)
Armenian: Kapuyt (կապույտ), Izhakhot sovorakan (Իժախոտ սովորական)
Azerbaijani: Göyərti
Basque: Sugegorri-belar
Belarusian: Siniak zvyčajny (Сіняк звычайны), Siniakviet zvyčajny (Сіняквет звычайны), kuchi ezik obiknoven (кучи език обикновен), obiknoveno usoĭniche (обикновено усойниче)
Bengali: Blueweed
Bulgarian: Blueweed, Obiknoveno usoĭniche (Обикновено усойниче)
Burmese: Hkyitsuu (ချစ်သူ)
Catalan: Bolenga borda, Borratja borda, Cul de porc, Herba viborera, Viperina, llengua de bou, herba del vibre, llengua de bou vulgar
Chinese: Lán cǎo (蓝草), Lan Ji (蓝蓟)
Corsican: Viparina turchina
Croatian: Blueweed, obična lisičina
Czech: Blueweed, Hadinec obecný
Danish: Blueweed, Almindelig slangehoved, Læge-Kvæsurt, Slangehoved
Dutch: Blauwkruid, Slangenkruid, gewoon slangekruid
English: Blueweed, Blue echium, Blue thistle, Blue-devil, Common echium, Common viper’s bugloss, Common vipersbugloss, Viper’s-bugloss, Vipers bugloss, Blue devil
Esperanto: Blueweed
Estonian: Sinikas, Harilik ussikeel, Ussikeel
Filipino: Blueweed
Finnish: Blueweed, Punaluppio, Kyläneidonkieli, neidonkieli
French: Blueweed, Vipérine commune, Vipérine, Vipérine vulgaire, bouquet bleu, herbe aux vipers, herbe bleue, herbe piquante, langue d’oie, Vipérine vulgaire , buglosse sauvage
Georgian: Blueweed, lurji dzirts’itela (ლურჯი ძირწითელა)
German: Blueweed, Gemeiner Natterkopf, Gewöhnlicher Natterkopf, Gewöhnlicher Natternkopf, buglosse sauvage,
Greek: Ble (μπλε )
Gujarati: Bluviḍa (બ્લુવિડ)
Hausa: Blueweed
Hebrew:  כחול-כחול
Hindi: Blueweed
Hungarian: Blueweed, Kígyószisz, terjőke kígyószisz, közönséges kígyószisz
Icelandic: Bláleitur
Indonesian: Blueweed
Irish: Blueweed, Lus nathrach
Italian: Blueweed, Erba viperina, Viperina azzurra, echio commune, erba delle vipere, erba rogna, lingua di bove, viperina azzurra, viperina commune,
Japanese: Burūu~īdo (ブルーウィード), Shibenagamurasaki (シベナガムラサキ)
Javanese: Blueweed
Kannada: Blūvīḍ (ಬ್ಲೂವೀಡ್)
Kashubian: Zwëczajny mòdrzińc
Kazakh: Kökşil (көкшіл)
Korean: Haecho (해초)
Kurdish: Blueweed
Lao: Khi ai (ຂີ້ອາຍ)
Latin: Blueweed
Latvian: Zilganzaļa, parastais daglītis
Lithuanian: Mėlynė, Paprastasis ežeinis
Macedonian: Sino (сино), Volchǰa opashka (Волчја опашка)
Malagasy: Blueweed
Malay: Blueweed
Malayalam: Blūvīḍ (ബ്ലൂവീഡ്)
Maltese: Blu
Marathi: Bloo veed (ब्लूवीड)
Mongolian: Khökhrökh (хөхрөх)
Nepali: Nilōvīḍa (निलोवीड)
Norwegian: Blueweed, Blodtopp, Ulvegab, Vargflab, Ormehode, Ormehovud
Occitan: Bourrage-fèr, Suçamèlo
Oriya: ବ୍ଲୁୱିଡ୍
Ossetian: Uox (Уохъ)
Pashto: نیليویډ
Persian: Blueweed, گل افعی رسمی
Polish: Blueweed, Żmijowiec zwyczajny
Portuguese: Blueweed, Colubrina, Suajos, erva-viperina, viperina, Borrago, Erva-azul, lingua-de-boi, soagem, viboreira,
Punjabi: Nīlā (ਨੀਲਾ)
Quechua: Llunku-llunku
Romanian: Larba albastră, Iarba şarpelui, Iarba șarpelui, iarba-şearpelui
Russian: Blueweed-ˈblo͞owēd, Sinyak obyknovennyy (Синяк обыкновенный)
Serbian: Blueveed (блуевеед), lisichina (лисичина), obichna lisichina (обична лисичина)
Sindhi: بليو ويڊ
Sinhala: Blūvīḍ (බ්ලූවීඩ්)
Slovak: Hadinec obyčajný
Slovenian: Blueweed, navadni gadovec
Spanish: Blueweed, Viborera, abalea, boninos, buglosa salvaje, buglosa, cardo, chupamiel, chupamieles, hierba azul, hierba de la víbora, hierba viborera, culebrera, hierba cerruda, lengua de gato, melera, viborera morada, viperina, manasa, ortiguilla, paraque tequiero
Sundanese: Blueweed
Swedish: Blueweed, Blodtopp, Gråpimpinell, Prunkhallon, Blåeld, Kyläneidonkieli, Blåtistel, Rävarompa, Rävasvans
Tajik: Kaʙud (кабуд)
Tamil: Puḷūvīṭ (புளூவீட்)
Telugu: Blueweed-ˈblo͞owēd
Thai: Blueweed-ˈblo͞owēd
Turkish: Blueweed, Adi engerek out, engerek otu
Ukranian: Blyuvotka (блювотка), Synyak zvychaynyy (Синяк звичайний)
Upper Sorbian: Módry kosmač, Wšědna hrimanka
Urdu: بلیو ویڈ
Uzbek: Ko’katlar
Vietnamese: Xanh
Welsh: Blueweed, Gwiberlys
Zulu: Oluhlaza okwesibhakabhaka
Plant Growth Habit Upright, relatively long-lived biennial or monocarpic perennial  herbaceous plant
Growing Climates Roadsides, open waste and disturbed land, stony riverbeds, cliffs near the sea,  on walls, old quarries, gravel pits, calcareous grassland and heaths, bare and waste places, railways, coastal cliffs, sand dunes and shingle, pastures, waterways, overgrazed pastures, gravel bars, moist upland forests
Soil Often found in alkaline soils with a dolomite or limestone base material, although it can also be found in areas with more acidic soils. While blueweed exhibits a preference for sandy, well-drained soils, it does not do well in very arid regions
Plant Size 30-60 cm tall, but occasionally reaching up to 1.2 m in height
Root Significant rooting system comprised of a taproot and smaller fibrous roots. The taproot is black with a reddish cast, ranging in length from 12 to 32 inches (30.5 to 81cm)
Stem Several upright stems is covered in coarse hairs (sometimes red at the base) and finer shorter hairs that arise from the base of the plant. These hairs can cause skin irritation if touched.
Leaf Rosette leaves are long and narrow (5-15 cm long, 8-15 mm wide) but become shorter and narrower moving up the stem
Flowering season July to October
Flower Trumpet-shaped flowers, up to 12-15 mm long, are deep-blue. Each flower has five stamens, four of which protrude out of the flower tube whereas the fifth is included inside
Fruit Shape & Size Cluster of four seeds (i.e. nutlets or mericarps) that are enclosed by five bristly bracts
Fruit Color Greyish-brown
Propagation By Seed
Plant Parts Used Leaves, flowers, roots
Seed Pale brown, 2-3.5 mm long and rough on the outside. Up to four seeds are produced from each flower
Season August to October

Plant Description

Viper’s Bugloss (Blueweed) is an upright, relatively long-lived biennial or monocarpic perennial herbaceous plant that normally grows about 30-60 cm tall, but occasionally reaching up to 1.2 m in height. The plant is found growing in roadsides, open waste and disturbed land, stony riverbeds, cliffs near the sea,  on walls, old quarries, gravel pits, calcareous grassland and heaths, bare and waste places, railways, coastal cliffs, sand dunes and shingle, pastures, waterways, overgrazed pastures, gravel bars, moist upland forests. The plant is often found in alkaline soils with a dolomite or limestone base material, although it can also be found in areas with more acidic soils. While blueweed displays a preference for sandy, well-drained soils, it does not do well in very arid regions. The plant has significant rooting system comprised of a taproot and smaller fibrous roots. Taproot is black with a reddish cast, ranging in length from 12 to 32 inches (30.5 to 81 cm).

Stem

The upright and usually unbranched stems arise from a basal rosette of leaves. They are covered in short, stiff hairs and grow 30 – 80 cm tall.  These stems are green in color and covered in stiff hairs or bristles. They generally have conspicuous dark flecks at the bases of some hairs. There may be one to several stems per plant.

Leaves

Plant consists of a low rosette of basal leaves spanning up to 1½ feet across, but during the final year one or more erect to ascending stems are produced that become 1–3¼ feet tall. Basal leaves are 3-9 inches long and ½–1¾ inches across. They are oblanceolate-oblong, oblanceolate-elliptic, or oblong-elliptic in shape, while their margins are entire, ciliate with stiff bristly hairs, and sometimes undulate (wavy up-and-down). Each central stem is pale grayish green, terete, and densely covered with stiff bristly hairs that have swollen purplish bases. Abundant alternate leaves occur along each stem, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend. These leaves are 1½–8 inches long, ¼–1½ inches across, and sessile. They are lanceolate-elliptic, lanceolate-oblong, or oblong-elliptic in shape, while their margins are entire, ciliate with stiff bristly hairs, and sometimes undulate (wavy up-and-down). The upper and lower surfaces of both basal and alternate leaves are yellowish green or grayish green, and they are covered with stiff bristly hairs that sometimes have swollen white bases. Both basal and alternate leaves have prominent central veins. All leaves are hairy on both surfaces.

Flowers

Stems terminate in inflorescences that are ½–2 feet long. They consist of spike-like racemes of short scorpioid cymes. The cymes are incurled like a scorpion’s tail, and they contain up to 20 flowers each. The sessile flowers are arranged along only one side of the cyme. Each flower is about ¾ inches across and 1 inch long, consisting of a deep blue or blue-violet corolla with 5 shallow lobes, 5 grayish green sepals, 5 stamens with reddish purple filaments, a slender white style with a divided tip, and a 4-lobed ovary. The large corolla is campanulate (bell-shaped), but longer above than below. The sepals are grayish green, linear-oblong in shape, and covered with stiff bristly hairs. Both the stamens and style are strongly exserted from the corolla. At the base of each cyme, there is a linear-lanceolate leafy bract up to 1 inch long that is grayish green and covered with stiff bristly hairs. The central stalk of the inflorescence has the same characteristics as the central stem. The blooming period occurs during the summer and early autumn, lasting 1-3 months. The plant is an insect attracting plant, including various bees, bumblebees and butterflies

Fruits

Fertile flowers are followed by a cluster of four seeds (i.e. nutlets or mericarps) that are enclosed by five bristly bracts (i.e. the persistent sepals). Seeds are 0.8-0.12 in. (2-3 mm) long and are greyish-brown in color woody, three-angled, and roughly textured (i.e. strongly wrinkled and pitted). The surface of the seed is rough and very hard. They are spread by the wind or humans and animals.

Traditional uses and benefits of Viper’s Bugloss (Blueweed)

  • Eating the leaves is said to stimulate sexual desire.
  • Viper’s bugloss was once considered to be a preventative and remedy for viper bites.
  • Leaves and flowering stems are antitussive, aphrodisiac, demulcent, diaphoretic, diuretic, pectoral and vulnerary.
  • An infusion of the plant is taken internally as a diuretic and in the treatment of fevers, headaches, chest conditions etc.
  • Juice of the plant is an effective emollient for reddened and delicate skins; it is used as a poultice or plaster to treat boils and carbuncles.
  • Roots contain the healing agent allantoin.
  • The plant is said to be efficacious in the treatment of snake bites.
  • When chopped up finely, the fresh flowering heads can be made into a poultice for treating whitlows and boils.
  • Plant root was used in ancient times as a treatment for snake or viper bites.
  • Seeds are also thought to resemble snake heads, thus specifying it as a cure for the bites of serpents.
  • In poultices, the fresh leaves and flowers are apparently useful for getting rid of boils and hard skin.
  • Leaves, especially those growing near the root, make a good cordial on infusion, which operates by perspiration and alleviates fevers, headaches and nervous complaints, relieving inflammatory pains.
  • In Iran it has been used for centuries to stimulate the mood and as an aphrodisiac.
  • Leaves and flowering tops are used in infusions and decoction for coughs and other respiratory problems and are also used to soften the skin and relieve inflammation and redness.
  • The tisane can be used on wounds to speed healing and it has been found that the roots contain allantoin which is known to be a wound healer, so a poultice of decoction of the roots may be good for wounds.
  • Freshly squeezed juice of the plant can be applied to reddened and irritated skin.
  • As a poultice it helps against boils and abscesses.
  • Juice of the plant is an effective emollient for reddened and delicate skins.
  • The Viper’s bugloss is used in traditional folk medicine to treat cracked hands and heal wounds.

Culinary Uses

  • Young leaves can be consumed raw or cooked.
  • They can be used as a spinach substitute.
  • Although somewhat hairy, when chopped up finely they are an acceptable part of a mixed salad.
  • Flowers can be added to salad, crystallized or made into a cordial.
  • Leaves are somewhat hairy, but when chopped up finely they are acceptable – young leaves taste mild and mucilaginous, can be eaten raw in a mixed salad/ or cooked and used as a spinach substitute.

Other Facts

  • A red dye is obtained from the root.
  • If eaten, the plant is toxic to horses and cattle through the accumulation of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in the liver.
  • In some countries Echium is grown as an oilseed crop because of the fatty acid composition of the seed oil.
  • Like Borage and Evening primrose oil, it contains significant amounts of gamma linolenic acid (GLA), and it also contains the rarer stearidonic acid.
  • When young, the plants are highly palatable to sheep
  • Plants produce from 500 to 2,000 seeds per plant.

References:

https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=31899#null

http://www.hear.org/pier/species/echium_vulgare.htm

https://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=14879

https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Echium+vulgare

http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=277970

http://www.floracatalana.net/echium-vulgare-l

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

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

https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=5564

https://profiles.ala.org.au/opus/weeds-australia/profile/Echium%20vulgare

http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2784423

https://keyserver.lucidcentral.org/weeds/data/media/Html/echium_vulgare.htm

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

https://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/b/bugvip85.html

78%
78%
Awesome

Comments

comments

Share.

Comments are closed.

DISCLAIMER

The content and the information in this website are for informational and educational purposes only, not as a medical manual. All readers are urged to consult with a physician before beginning or discontinuing use of any prescription drug or under taking any form of self-treatment. The information given here is designed to help you make informed decisions about your health. It is not intended as a substitute for any treatment that may have been prescribed by your doctor. If you are under treatment for any health problem, you should check with your doctor before trying any home remedies. If you are taking any medication, do not take any vitamin, mineral, herb, or other supplement without consulting with your doctor. If you suspect that you have a medical problem, we urge you to seek competent medical help. The Health Benefits Times, authors, publisher and its representatives disclaim responsibility for any adverse effects resulting directly or indirectly from information contained in this website www.healthbenefitstimes.com