Herbs & Botanicals
Pulsatilla (bai tou weng)
What is pulsatilla? What is it used for?
Pulsatilla is a thick, woody flower found throughout central and northern
Europe. It is known by a variety of other names, including pasque flower,
wind flower and meadow anemone. It consists of a rather thick stalks which
are covered with fine, silky hairs and dull, dark purple flowers. The
entire plant is used medicinally.
The main active ingredient in pulsatilla is anemonin, a crystalline,
odorless substance that acts as a purgative and depressant. As an herbal
medicine, it is used to treat painful conditions of the reproductive system
and digestive problems, and can help patients sleep better. Homeopathic
practitioners sometimes use pulsatilla to relieve eye problems, toothaches,
earaches and indigestion.
How much pulsatilla should I take?
The amount of pulsatilla to be taken depends on the condition being
treated. For general use, many providers recommend 100-300mg of dried
pulsatilla taken three times daily as part of a tea; other recommended
doses include 2-6 drops of a pulsatilla extract three times daily or 10-60
drops of a pulsatilla tincture three times daily.
What forms of pulsatilla are available?
The most common form of pulsatilla is as a dried herb, which is available
at many herbal markets and specialty stores. It is also available as a
tincture, extract or tablet.
What can happen if I take too much pulsatilla?
Are there any interactions I should be aware of? What precautions should
Since pulsatills is poisonous, great care must be taken when using it.
Anemonin can cause an allergic reaction to the nose, throat, stomach and
skin. Fresh pulsatilla can cause similar reactions to the eyes and mouth;
as a result, only dried pulsatilla should be used in herbal remedies.
Large amounts of the herb can lead to violent gastroenteritis, convulsions
and vomiting similar to symptoms experienced with aconite poisoning; overdoses
can cause the respiratory system to cease functioning, leading to a loss
of breathing, paralysis and death. Make sure to consult with a qualified
health care professional before taking pulsatilla or anemonin supplements.
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