BORAGINACEAE Pulmonaria officinalis
True to the doctrine of signatures, lungwort both resembles and heals lungs. But it does a lot more than that:
A perennial herb with bell-shaped blossoms arranged in terminal monochasial cymes. They are pink at first, blue after fertilization. All portions of the plant have stiff hairs. Lungwort typically sports a creeping rhizome together with a clump of angled, unbranched, upright or ascending stems. The alternating leaves are oval or else cordate, generally white-spotted; the low ones are stalked, the higher ones sessile and clasping at the base. The fruit consists of four one-seeded nutlets.
History And Distribution
These particular lungworts should not be mixed-up with a lichen (Lobaria pulmonaria), which is the lungwort listed by herbalists nowadays and also used in chest complaints.
It is also often grown in gardens for its attractive spotted leaves, as is the related Bethlehem Sage (P. saccharata). The generic and well-known names of Lungwort denote the blotchy leaves, which are likened to diseased lung tissue in the past and the plant was previously used to improve assorted lung ailments. Narrow-leaved Lungwort (P. angustifolia) has also been employed medicinally. It is indigenous to the British Isles yet somehow crops up only in Hampshire, Dorset as well as the Isle of Wight.
The leaves and flowering stems are used medicinally. Their constituents incorporate tannins, mucilage, saponins, silicic acid solution and mineral salts. These substances grant Lungwort emollient, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, diaphoretic and astringent attributes. It is found in herbal medicine in an infusion to calm bronchitis, cough and whooping cough, as well as to check diarrhoea.
On the outside it is included in compresses and bath water treatments for wounds and skin disorders.
Lungwort grows throughout Europe in woodland, wood margins, scrub and hedgerows. It is probably not native to the British Isles but is regionally naturalized in various locations, especially in the south.
Flowering time: March to May (Northern Hemisphere)