- A Modern Herbal, by Mrs. M. Grieve Home Page

Spearwort, Lesser

Botanical: Ranunculus flammula (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Ranunculaceae

---Part Used---Whole plant.

The Lesser Spearwort has been used in the Isle of Skye and in many parts of the Highlands of Scotland to raise blisters, the leaves being well bruised in a mortar and applied in one or more limpet shells to the part where the blister is to be raised.

It was used in the fourteenth century under the name of 'flame' for 'cankers,' a term probably used for ulcers. Its distilled water has been employed as a harmless emetic.

This plant is very common throughout Britain, growing in wet and boggy parts of heaths and commons, where it flowers from June to September.

The stems often root at the lower joints, being more or less horizontal to start with, but afterwards rising to a foot or more in height, being terminated by a few loose flower-bearing branches. It has undivided, lanceolate (lance-shaped) leaves, the uppermost being the narrowest and smallest. The flowers are numerous, on long stalks, a light golden-yellow, 1/2 to 3/4 inch across.

---Medicinal Action and Uses---A tincture is used to cure ulcers.


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Bear in mind "A Modern Herbal" was written with the conventional wisdom of the early 1900's. This should be taken into account as some of the information may now be considered inaccurate, or not in accordance with modern medicine.

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