Ragwort contains livertoxic pyrrolizidines. Its use is discouraged. -Henriette.
This herb is also called Staggerwort, St. James' Wort, and Stammerwort. It is very common in pastures and near the seaside. The root is perennial, and consists of many long, thick fibres. The stem grows from 2 to 4 feet high, robust, erect, purplish towards the bottom, branched. The leaves are lyrate, pinnatifid, gladrous; the flowers are yellow in colour, and bloom in July or August.
Medicinal Properties: Antiseptic. Antiscorbutic, Discutient, Emetic, Cathartic.
It is one of our best remedies for ulcers, canker, quinsy, catarrh, sore throat or mouth. It Is also valuable for use as a gargle.
Ragwort is a specific for emetic or cathartic purposes. If it does not effect emesis it influences the Vital Force to carry the obstruction down through the bowels. The infusion is made of one ounce to one pint of boiling water, and is taken in teacupful doses for above purposes.
As a compress it is unsurpassed for pain in the loins and sciatica, and also as a fomentation. For these purposes Ragwort is fully the equal of Comfrey or Marshmallow.
A good ointment is composed of one ounce of Green (= fresh. -Henriette) Ragwort cut fine, and simmered with half a pound of leaf lard until the herbs are crisp; then express the juice and put in it a fresh lot of herbs; simmer gently again, and finally express the oil and keep it for use. The ointment is without an equal for inflammation of the eyes.
Health from British Wild Herbs was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, N.A.M.H., in 1918.