Habitat: Common in Europe and the British Isles, especially incultivated fields.
Collection: It should be collected when in flower, which is throughout the summer.
Part Used: Aerial parts.
Constituents: Isoquinoline alkaloids, including bulbocapnine, canadine, coptisine, corydaline, dicentrine, cryptopine, fumaricine, fumariline, fumaritine, N-methylhydrastine, protopine, sanguinarine, sinactine.
Actions: Diuretic, laxative, alterative, hepatic.
Indications: Fumitory has a long history of use in the treatment of skin problems such as eczema and acne. Its action is probably due to a general cleansing mediated via the kidneys and liver. Fumitory may also be used as an eyewash to ease conjunctivitis.
King’s dispensatory gives the following medical uses: “It is a weak tonic, very much used in cutaneous diseases, in jaundice, obstructions of the abdominal viscera, scurvy, and in cases of debility of the digestive organs. It is also slightly diaphoretic and aperient. Dose of the infusion, a wineglassfulevery 2 or 3 hours; of the expressed juice, half a wine glassful, 2 or 3 times a day. Two ounces of the tops and flowers infused in 3 pints of Madeira wine, andtaken twice a day in doses of from 2 to 4 fluid ounces, will strengthen the stomach and improve the appetite.”
Combinations: It may usefully be combined with Burdock, Cleavers orFigwort.
Preparations & Dosage: Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and let infuse for l0-l5 minutes. This may be drunk freely, but for skin problems it should be drunk at least three times daily.
Tincture: take l-2ml of the tincture three times a day.