encyclopedia

Sundew

Scientific Names:
Drosera ramentacea BURCH ex HARV. et SOND. and other Drosera species [Fam. Droseraceae]

Forms:
Bitter-tasting leaves, roots, flowers, and fruits of sundew species.

Traditional Usage:
– Acute Breathing Disorders

– Antibacterial

– Bronchitis

– Bronchial spasms

– Bunions

– Colds

– Corns

– Cough

– Dry irritating coughs

– Laryngitis

– Pneumonia

– Vascular Disorders

– Whooping cough

Overview:
Sundews, Drosera spp. [Fam. Droseraceae], which include about 90 to 100 species of mainly perennial herbs, are among the most common of insectivorous plants found worldwide in bogs and along the shores of rivers and ponds. They are valued for their medicinal properties in many different parts of the world. Sundew is primarily used to treat respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and whooping cough, as well as coughs due to colds and dry irritating coughs. Sundew also has antibacterial properties, which helps prevent the growth of streptococci, staphylococci, and pneumococci. As a folk remedy, sundew was used to treat acute breathing disorders and to diminish warts. Dr. James Duke in the book, The Green Pharmacy, recommends sundew for treating bunions, coughs, laryngitis and pneumonia. Other traditional usages of sundew include for treating vascular diseases as well as externally for dissolving corns. The leaves contain protein-digesting enzymes and the compound plumbagin that are antibiotic against several bacteria. Round-leaved sundew, D. rotundifolia L. and related endemic species to Europe and North America are all threatened by extinction and are therefore protected plants. The comparatively larger, long-leaved sundew, Drosera ramentacea BURCH. ex HARV. et SOND., otherwise known as Madagascar sundew, was deemed as an acceptable alternative source of this herbal drug and is now listed by the German Commission E as an official drug. The Madagascar sundew originated in East Africa and Madagascar where it can be found in damp areas such as bogs and along the shores of rivers and ponds, although it too is now a protected species. The stalks, leaves and flowers of sundews have a bitter or astringent taste. Leaf glands excrete a clear, sticky fluid that clings to them like dewdrops; the name sundew is taken from these drops, as they are not dried up by the sunlight.

Active Ingredients:
The active compounds in all Drosera species are 1,4-naphthoquinone derivatives, in D. ramentacea essentially plumbagin, ramentaceone, ramentone, and biramentaceone.

Suggested Amount:
Sundew is available in liquid and solid forms for both internal and external use.

Tea: Pour boiling water over 1-3 grams of finely chopped sundew. Steep for then minutes then strain. Drink infusion three or four times per day. 1 Teaspoon = 0.4 g.

Drug Interactions:
None known.

Contraindications:
None known.

Side Effects:
None known.

References:

Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 127; 181; 373; 433. Rodale Press.

Foster S, and Duke JA. 1990. Elderberry in Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY, p. 28.

Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Sundew. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart.