Blackroot officinalis

Biennial gray-pubescent plant 40-100 cm tall, with an unpleasant mouse smell that disappears when dry. Root taproot, vertical, slightly branched, up to 1-2.5 cm in diameter. Stems solitary, rarely 2-3, furrowed, strongly branched in upper part, soft hairy. Leaves appressed-pubescent, almost tomentose below; basal – oblong-lanceolate, turning into petioles; stem leaves decrease upwards, lanceolate, sharp; the lower ones are petiolate, the middle and upper ones are sessile. Inflorescence paniculate, consisting of several whorls. Flowers five-membered. Corolla funnel-shaped, dirty dark red, sometimes red-blue, not often white, with a five-lobed limb. Stamens 5, located in the corolla tube. Pistil with upper four-lobed, four-celled ovary. The fruit consists of four nuts. Blooms in May-June in the northern regions – in July-August. In Russia – a widespread weed plant. Found along roadsides, within dwellings, in wastelands and meadows in all areas.

Medicinal raw materials are the roots dug up in August-September, and the leaves collected during flowering. The raw material consists of long, narrow leaves with or without petioles. Its color is grayish green; peculiar smell; astringent taste.

In the past, black root was used in medical practice as a means of soothing pain and relieving convulsions. The alkaloid cynoglossin has a curative-like effect, but, being a strong poison, has not found application.

There are indications that rats and mice do not tolerate the smell of this plant; basal leaves and stems with seeds collected in autumn, placed in a cellar where potatoes are stored, etc., have a beneficial effect in protecting them from rats. Rodents disappeared from these cellars, ceased to gnaw through wooden walls and dig passages in the ground. It is recommended to sow this plant near apiaries, and in the autumn to scatter the roots and stems with leaves in a lomshanik so that mice do not penetrate into the hives. Black root is planted in gardens to protect trees and flower beds from mice. The roots and seeds of the plant contain alkaloids cynoglossein, glucoalkaloid cansolidin, inulin, resins, bitterness, essential and fatty oils.

In folk medicine, it is used as a gastric remedy, for lung diseases, as a sedative, analgesic, expectorant, also for convulsions, hemoptysis, coughs, diarrhea, in the form of lotions – for burns, snake bites.


Outwardly in the form of ointments or lotions – for boils, bites of snakes and rabid dogs (if there is no possibility of providing emergency medical care), while crushed roots or leaves are used. Black root is also used for burns, joint pain, rheumatism, from aching bones, in this case, the root powder is mixed with fat and rubbed on sore spots. Vodka tincture is poured over wounds and taken in drops for internal diseases.


A decoction of the root or leaves: 5 g per 200 ml; half a teaspoon 3 times daily.

Tincture: 10%; 5-10 drops 3 times every day. Fresh juice is used in the same way as tincture. For pain in the joints and cancer, the root is insisted on wine (100 g of root per 500 ml of wine) for 5 days. Drink 30 ml 3 times every day.

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