Benefits Of Alkanet Herb For Health

Benefits Of Alkanet Herb For Health


Alkanet Herb


Benefits And Nutrition Of Alkanet Herb For Health
Alkanet Herb

Alkanet heb is also known as: Batschia canescens, Hoary puccoon, Lithospermum canescens, Dyer's bugloss.

Alkanet has a large thick root, of a reddish colour, long, narrow, hairy leaves, green like the leaves of Bugloss, which lie very thick upon the ground. The stalks are thick with leaves.

Alkanet (Alkanna tinctoria) belongs to the Boraginaceae plant family. It is native to the Mediterranean region. There are several related species of plants that go by the name alkanet but it is Alkanna tinctoria that is used in cosmetics for the red dye. The red dye is obtained from the dark red roots of the plant although the flowers of Alkanna tinctoria are usually blue-purple in color. Alkanet root is primarily used as a dye and dying, especially for materials, soap and lip balm.

The alkanet is an invasive species and thrives in all kinds of temperate environments such as grazing pastures, alfalfa fields, pine forests, on prime rangeland, and even in waste or deserted lands. The alkanet tends to be very competitive for space, as it can grow in large and very dense stands, this gives very stiff competition to the native plant communities.


Benefits Of Alkanet Herb For Health


Benefits And Nutrition Of Alkanet Herb For Health
Alkanet Herb Picture

Alkanet root pieces


Common alkanet originated in the Mediterranean but, the name alkanet is a derivation of the Arabic term; al khenna, "alhinna" or "henna" from the red color of the roots. This Arabic name of the plant reflects the ancient use of this plant and other related species, whose roots were and are still used as a red organic dye. Today, Alkanet (A. tinctoria) is commonly cultivated in Central and Southern Europe and sometimes Britain, for its dye, which is readily extracted by oils and alcohols.

Alkanet root apparently has been used as a dye since the earliest recorded history. Theophrastus, (the Greek scholar and botanist c. 300 B.C.) made reference to alkanet in many works, and Dioscorides (77 C.E., in his "De Materia Medica",) described in great detail many of the properties of the red dyestuff. In the third and fourth centuries C.E., The Stockholm Papyrus, (or Papyrus Graecus Holmiensis) describes techniques of alkanet use as practiced Egypt. The vast detail in which the preparation of the fibers and the dyeing materials and the dyeing process itself are recorded; has led scholars to believe that it had to have been practiced for thousands of years.

Alkanet leaves


Alkanet leaves are also dried and used in potpourris as they give off a rich and musky fragrance similar to the smell of wild strawberry leaves before they are dried.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Alkanet Herb For Health
Alkanet Herb

Bark of the roots yield a weak brownish red or lilac dye and in powdered form it was traditionally used in Western Europe as rouge. The roots' red dye is fat soluble, so this plant has been used to dye ointments, oils, and waxes and is frequently used in soaps, lotions, and make up products across the world today.

Well known for its pigmentation properties, dried herbs like alkanet root are largely used for dying wood and fabrics. In wood staining, alkanet is a fine imitation of rosewood, or mahogany. It is also used in varnishes for fine wood products, such as violins.

Vinegar makes the root give a pinkish brown dye and the flowers give a green dye. Alum turns the roots' dye gray-green.

According to Culpeper


A cold infusion was a diuretic, and a hot one produced sweating. A homeopathic remedy for ulcers is still made from this plant. The leaves and shoots can be cooked and eaten like spinach, and the flowers cooked or used as a garnish.

Herbal Remedies and Medicinal Uses of Alkanet Herb


It is serviceable in old ulcers, inflammations, burns, and St. Anthony's fire. The best way is to make it into an ointment; or make a vinegar of it, as you make a vinegar of roses. It is useful in the yellow jaundice, spleen, and gravel. Dioscorides saith, it cures venomous bites, whether it be taken inwardly, or applied to the wound. It stays the flux, and kills worms. Its decoction made in wine, strengthens the back, and removes its pains. It is good for bruises and falls, and to drive out the small pox and measles. Made into an ointment, it is excellent for green wounds, punctures, etc.

Note: The traditional uses for these herbs have not been confirmed by medical science and in some cases may actually be dangerous. Do not use the these herbs for any use, medicinal or otherwise, without first consulting a qualified doctor.