Scarlet Pimpernel

Anagallis arvensis - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Leaves.

Leaves - raw or cooked. Used in salads and as a spinach. The tender shoots are cooked as a vegetable. It is best not to eat these leaves though, as they can be toxic to some people.

Medicinal Uses

Antitussive; Cholagogue; Diaphoretic; Diuretic; Expectorant; Homeopathy; Nervine; Purgative; Stimulant; Vulnerary.

The scarlet pimpernel was at one time highly regarded as a medicinal herb, especially in the treatment of epilepsy and mental problems. The whole herb is antitussive, cholagogue, diaphoretic, diuretic, expectorant, nervine, purgative, stimulant and vulnerary. It can be taken internally or applied externally as a poultice. An infusion is used in the treatment of dropsy, skin infections and disorders of the liver and gall bladder. The plant is best harvested in late winter and can be dried for later use. Use with caution, it contains toxic saponins and cytotoxic cucurbitacins, large doses can cause polyuria and tremor. A homeopathic remedy is made from the plant. It is used internally to treat itchy skins and externally to remove warts.

Other Uses


The squeezed plant is used in Nepal for washing and bathing.