Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Knapweed-Centaurea Biebersteinii, Centaurea Maculosa, Centaurea Cyanus, Centaurea Reperis, Centaurea Protensis, Centaurea Imperialis, etc.

Also known as:  Spotted Knapweed, Star Thistle, Meadow Knapweed, Russian Knapweed, Centaury, Basket Flower

Parts used:  leaves, roots

Meridians/Organs affected:  liver, stomach, eyes, nervous system

Properties:  vulnerary, nervine, digestive, styptic, hepatic, ophthalmic, anti-carcinogenic, stimulant

Knapweed is a rather robust plant that can be found in dry, infertile soil, vacant lots, near railroad tracks, roadsides, coastlines and high lime or salt areas.

Knapweed has deeply, lobed, gray-green leaves that get up to 6 inches long in its first year.  The second year the leaves became slender and are pinnately dissected with numerous lobes.  The flowers are thistle-like and appear at the ends of the stems or branches around mid to late summer.  The flowers bulbs resemble a small basket before the flowers actually bloom, hence the name 'basket flower'.  The flowers range in color, depending on the species, from yellow to pinkish-purple.  They bloom from July to October.  This plant produces an abundance of nectar and is well loved by honeybees (which possibly helps to explain why they have managed to propagate so easily and freely).

In many states knapweed is considered to be a noxious plant and has found a permanent spot on the "Top 10 Noxious Weeds" list.  Although it is considered a weed by most of the populace, it is a medicinal herb that has been used for centuries.  Culpeper said that "knapweed gently heals up running sores, both cancerous and fistulous, and will do the same for scabs of the head."

The Native Americans used it for jaundice, eye disorders, venomous bites and indigestion.  It was commonly used in the 14th century as an appetite stimulant, a sore throat remedy, and as a topical wound healing agent.  Herbalists throughout the ages have used it as a nervine to relieve problems related to the nervous system and nerve impairment.  It has also been used as a remedy for bleeding gums, bruises, nose bleeds and catarrh.  It is supposed to work very well for glandular issues as well.

Arctiin, a component found in the imperialis species of knapweed, has been found to have anti-carcinogenic abilities in lab studies.  This herb also has been found to inhibit lipid peroxidation (the process in which free radicals steal electrons from fats within cell membranes causing cell damage) and xanthine oxidase (an enzyme involved in purine metabolism which reduces the production of uric acid) which would help  with conditions like gout.  This is also one of the remedies used for an adder or viper bite.  It was made into a tea and drunk.

In some countries, knapweed is considered an edible plant although it has never been considered so in western cultures.  In Albania, Turkey, Crete and Italy, knapweed leaves are boiled and fried in mixtures with other greens. 

As is customary with my posts I am including some links below that I hope you will find interesting and beneficial.  Stay well and healthy!

1 comment:

  1. Just found this growing on the edge of my clover field. Awesome article! Thank you.