Such a common plant to see in gardens here that often you wouldn’t pay attention to it – except that it often grows where you wouldn’t want it to and grows pretty tall so can’t really be ignored.  Before removing any plant though I always now check whether there are any uses for it and whether I should tkae it to the drying room or simply to the compost heap.

Nipplewort doesn’t look unlike some kind of dandelion but it’s actually a member of the sunflower family.

In terms of its uses I found conflicting information about it while doing my research.  Many references stated that it traditionally was used to heal ulcers and dryness of women’s nipples.  The flower buds of Nipplewort were thought to resemble nipples.  It was therefore expected that its use would help to heal sore nipples according to the “Doctrine of Signitures”, which determined that plants with a likeness to a body part often had a use toward that body part.  It has been used in tea to dry up milking breasts.

The ancient Greeks used it to treat digestive problems, while the Chinese used it to treat respiratory ailments. In traditional European medicine, nipplewort was used as a diuretic and laxative, as well as a remedy for coughs and colds. reference

I did (more interesting to me) find reference to it having properties that aid with skin conditions – given that it has been used for chapped nipples one would not be surprised that it can be used on other areas of skin as well.  In particular it was suggested that Nipplewort might be useful in the treatment of eczema and psoriasis due to its anti-inflammatory properties reducing itching and redness.

It should be noted though that many references declare that there are no medicinal uses for Nipplewort though the leaves can be eaten in salad.

I decided to dry some of the leaves in case I want to use them in the future.  I may add them to an infusion to make into a slave at some point.  I have a small (but very irritating) patch of psoriasis on the back of my head and I am always looking to create the perfect salve to relieve symptoms.


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