What is Rupturewort?
Rupturewort, known scientifically as Herniaria glabra, is a medicinal herb that grows wild across Europe, North Africa and West Asia. While it does have certain medicinal properties, there is little scientific evidence regarding its efficacy.
The name rupturewort as well as its scientific name are derived from its traditional use in treating ruptured or herniated skin as opposed to internal hernias. The herb is still used in a poultice and applied to the skin to help heal minor wounds and ulcers.
Rupturewort grows wild in many parts of the world including Europe, North Africa and western Europe. It thrives in dry conditions and prefers open and sunny areas. These days, rupturewort is popular with gardeners who often use it as a ground cover for poor soil.
There are between 15 and 20 species of plants belonging to the genus – Herniaria and most can be found growing wild. Rupturewort is the only member of the species which is cultivated.
Rupturwort is usually regarded as a perennial plant but it can also be annual. The short, hairy roots grow horizontally in every direction to form flat, round mats up to 50 centimeters in diameter but only around 4 centimeters in height.
Rupturewort contains several therapeutic compounds including flavonoids, coumarins, phenolic acids, tannins, sapponins and essential oil.
The plant is believed to have several medicinal properties including astringent, diuretic and anti-convulsive properties.
Uses of Rupturewort
The majority of the plant’s therapeutic abilities are likely due to the presence of flavonoids and saponins. The plant has diuretic properties as well as anticonvulsive, and astringent properties and a the ability to disinfect the urinary tract.
Urinary Tract Infections
Rupturewort has been used for centuries for medicine and the first mention of its use dates back to the early 1500s when it was sued as a natural diuretic to treat urinary tract infections and cystitis.
The herb is still used today to treat a range of urinary tract conditions including urethritis, urinary tract infections and cystitis. It is also used to prevent kidney stones or kidney gravel from forming.
Unfortunately, no scientific studies have been done to confirm its efficacy with regard to urinary tract disorders.
Ruprurewort has also been used traditionally to help treat minor wounds and ulcers. Its common name as well as its scientific name – ‘Herniaria’ stem from its purported ability to treat herniated or ruptured skin.
Because it has astringent properties, the herb is applied topically in the form of a poultice to help speed up the healing of minor wounds, ulcers and sores.
Arthritis and Gout
Rupturewort has also been used to help treat joint conditions like rheumatism and arthritis. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to confirm its efficacy and we are reliant on anecdotal evidence and traditional use.
It is also sometimes used to treat gout possibly because of its purported diuretic ability. Because of its diuretic actions, rupturewort may help flush uric acid and other toxins from the system. It is the build-up of uric acid which cause painful episodes of gout.
How to Use Rupturewort
Rupturewort is available in several different supplementary forms including capsules and liquid extract. The herb can also be used fresh or dried to make a healthy tea with diuretic properties. Drinking a few cups a day may help naturally treat a urinary tract infection.
To make the tea, add a teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of hot water and allow the tea to steep for at least ten minutes. The herb should not be added to boiling water since it loses its therapeutic properties when boiled. Add honey to taste and drink two or three cups a day to help treat a urinary tract infection.
The entire aerial parts of the plant are used to make herbal medicines. The flowering plants are harvested in summer then quickly dried in the shade. The active ingredients found in the herb can break down quickly if the plant is stored too long.
Because of this, the fresh herb may be the best way to go. If it is not possible to find the fresh variety, then it is recommended to use the herb before it has been stored for a long time.
- Rupturewort is a popular plant in the garden used as ground cover. Because of this, it is also known as ‘Green carpet.
- The plant spreads up to half a meter but grows only a few centimeters tall.
- The soft, green leaves produce a musky odor when they are crushed.
- The plant flowers in the summer months but the tiny flowers are hardly noticeable.
- Rupturewort belongs to the Caryophyllaceae family and is related to dianthus and carnations.
- Other common names include Flax weed, Herniary, Herniaire hirsuite and Bruckraut.
- The plant was named Herniaria glabra because of its purported ability to treat hernias. Its common name ‘rupturewort’ has the same derivation. However, the hernias it was used to treat were actually skin ruptures like cuts as opposed to the internal hernias we associate with the word.
- These days rupturewort is still used for certain medical conditions. It is used to prevent spasms and to flush unwanted fluids from the system.
- Rupturewort has natural diuretic properties and is used as a natural treatment for urinary tract infections, kidney stones and cystitis.
- Rupturewort is also used to treat nerve pain, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle pain and gout.
- The whole plant is also used to make a poultice that is applied externally to heal ulcers.
- The plant has diuretic, astringent and expectorant properties.
Precautions and Potential Side Effects
When it comes to herbal treatments, the regulations are not as as strict as those for other drugs. At present, there is not enough information about the safety of rupturewort to determine whether it is safe and more studies are needed.
Make sure that you speak to your doctor before using rupturwort especially if you are pregnant or suffer from any pre-existing illness. Rupturewort may also interact with other medications so it is important to consult your doctor before using the herb.
- Pregnant women should not use rupturewort because there is insufficient evidence regarding its safety. The same applies to women who are breastfeeding.
- There is no data regarding side effects from using rupturewort.
Rupturewort may have diuretic effects meaning it helps flush fluids out of the system like a pharmaceutical water pill. Because of this using rupturewort may affect the body’s ability to rid itself of lithium. If you are using lithium, it is important to speak with your doctor before using rupturewort.
- Rupturewort known scientifically as Herniaria glabra is an herb with several medicinal uses.
- Rupturewort contains saponins and flavonoids and has diuretic and astringent properties.
- The herb is mostly used to treat urinary tract conditions including cystitis and urethritis but is also used for several other conditions including arthritis and gout.
- The whole herb can be applied topically to help treat minor wounds and ulcers.
- Rupturewort can be made into a healthy, diuretic tea but is also available in other supplementary forms.
Have you ever used rupturewort for any of the conditions mentioned above? Please let us know what you thought of its effectiveness. We would be delighted to hear from you.