Blackroot officinalis

Black root medicinal (Cynoglossum officinale L.)

Black root officinalis is a herbaceous biennial from the Borage family (Boraginaceae). Other names: helminthic grass, cat soap, lihodeyka, dog tongue, dog root.


A biennial herbaceous plant 40-100 cm tall with a vertical tap root. Stems 2-3, furrowed, straight, strong, branched in the upper part; basal leaves are oblong, drying out during flowering, narrowed into a petiole; upper leaves sessile, all leaves white-appressed-hairy. Inflorescence paniculate, of 2 terminal and several lateral curls; flowers on felt-pubescent pedicels, elongating with fruits up to 15 mm; calyx woolly; corolla funnel-shaped, dirty dark red or red-blue; fruits are flattened with nuts on the outside, seated with anchor-like spines. Black root blooms in May-June. A weed that grows along roads, in fields, wastelands, on coastal cliffs.

Harvesting, description of raw materials:

For medicinal purposes, the roots and leaves of black root are used. The roots are dug up at the end of summer – at the beginning of autumn, the leaves – during flowering in May-June. The raw material consists of long narrow leaves with or without petioles. Their color is grayish-green; peculiar smell; astringent taste.

Contains active substances:

The roots of black root contain alkaloids cynoglossin and cynoglossofin, glucoalkaloid consolidin, heliosupin, which are an ester of heliotridin, macrotomic and angelic acids, tannins in a small amount, a bitter substance cynoglossoidin, a dye, resins, etc. The grass contains alkaloids (0.24% ), heliosupin, essential oil (0.1%), choline, resins and other substances.

Medicinal use, useful properties:

In the past, black root was used in medical practice. Doctors used it as a means of soothing pain and relieving convulsions. Black root was also used for other diseases. The alkaloid cynoglossin has a curare-like effect, but, being the strongest poison, has not found practical application. The literature indicates that black root has raticidal and insecticidal properties. Plant sap and roots are used for this purpose. In addition, there are indications that rats and mice do not tolerate the smell of this plant, according to some sources, only in fresh form, according to other sources, and in a dried state. These data are confirmed by the observations of K.V. Kostrin, who reports that “the basal leaves and stems with blackroot seeds collected in autumn, placed in the cellar where potatoes were stored, really had a beneficial effect in regards to protecting it from rats. Rodents disappeared from these cellars, ceased to gnaw through their wooden walls and dig passages in the ground. “I.D. Sonin also experienced the beneficial effect of black root in the fight against mice. He laid out cut plants in places where mice were found, and they no longer appeared I. D. Sonin also notes that in folk medicine, black root is used as a gastric remedy and for pulmonary diseases… He recommends sowing black root, which is a good honey plant, near apiaries, and in the fall, scatter the roots and stems of leaves in a lomshanik so that mice do not penetrate into hives These observations are noteworthy.

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