Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Achillea ptarmica

Sneezewort is a relative of the much commoner Yarrow. It grows in most of northern Europe and in the mountain areas in southern Europe, everywhere connected to light-open habitats in well-drained , but moist soil. It is popular as a herbaceous perrennial in the garden with white flowers in July -September. The plant is poisonous to cattle, sheep, and horses.

The Latin word ptarmi is from Greek ptario (sneeze) meaning that it causes sneezing. Leaves were used as a form of snuff and to cure headaches. Other names for Sneezewort are Sneezeweed, Fair-maid-of-France, Goose Tongue, Wild Tansy etc. In folklore is said that Sneezewort can be used to start a nosebleed and was once used to relieve migraine and stuffy heads, another reason for adding it to the old snuff recipes.

In Harry Potter Sneezewort is used together with Scurvy Grass and Lovage in a drink called Confusion Concoction which causes confusion in the drinker - and the plants are described as very effective when it's about infecting the brain and are often used in confusion- and intoxication drinks, where the sourcerer wishes to cause hot temper and recklessness.

photo september 2007: grethe bachmann, Høstemark Skov, Lille Vildmose, North Jutland


Teresa Evangeline said...

It's interesting to read of all the uses for these plants. Eerything we need is really already here.

Thyra said...

Yes, and I sometimes forget to bring some herbs home with me when I'm out. I only use them for snaps! Common Yarrow gives a fine fresh snaps.