What is Houseleek?
Houseleek which is known scientifically as Sempervivum tectorum is a medicinal plant with its origins in Europe. It is a very hardy plant which can thrive in unlikely areas and under extreme conditions.
Houseleek can grow on most types of soil and can even be seen in rocky, barren and dry areas. It is also able to grow in extreme temperatures whether cold or hot. These days, because of its ability to thrive in a range of conditions, houseleek is a fairly common site around the world.
Houseleek is one of around 40 plants in the sempervivium genus which are common throughout the world. This perennial evergreen grows to between 15 and 20 centimeters in height and has broad, green leaves around 3 inches in diameter. During the summer months, the plant bears reddish purple flowers in clusters.
Since ancient times, houseleek has been used both topically and internally to treat a variety of medical conditions including fevers, ulcers, wounds and skin complaints. It certainly has a very long documented history of use and the Romans regarded it as a love plant which they grew outside their windows.
Houseleek was not always regarded as just a medicinal plant and it had various uses beyond the purely ornamental. If you are curious about its strange name, it makes sense when you learn that in times gone by it was believed that it could protect the home from evil spirits, spells, lightning strikes and fire.
Even in this day and age, you can still see evidence of these traditional beliefs …. in many parts of the world, houseleek is still a common site on balconies, backyards and rooftops.
Some of the plants names in other languages are a reflection of its purported ability to protect us from the elements. It is variously named in some places after the thunder god Jupiter. Some of these include thunder plant, Jupiter’s beard and Jo-barb.
Medicinal Properties of Houseleek
Houseleek is still used as a medicinal plant today and is believed to be effective because of its chemical composition. The plant contains malic acid, formic acid, tannins and calcium malate as well as small amounts of resin.
These compounds are thought to give houseleek certain medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and diuretic abilities. Although the scientific evidence may be lacking, houseleek is commonly used to treat various conditions including cysts, hemorrhoids, ear infections, colitis and infections of the urinary tract.
It is also used to deal with a number of skin complaints such as warts, cuts, burns, rashes and mouth ulcers.
The most common ways to use the plant are in teas or juices while it is also combined with honey for certain conditions. It can be used both internally or topically depending on the condition that you are trying to treat.
Health Benefits of Houseleek
The reported health benefits of houseleek include the following:
- It can help to treat ear infections.
- It is effective against diarrhea.
- It is an effective remedy for infections of the urinary tract.
- It can improve digestive complaints such as cramps, bloating and constipation.
- It is effective against hemorrhoids.
- It is effective against cysts, fibroids and warts.
- It can help be topically applied to help soothe skin irritations from burns, bites and rashes.
How to use Houseleek
Houseleek tea is fairly easy to make and can be used as a soothing remedy for various conditions. You can either drink the tea or use it as a topical application to deal with skin problems and minor wounds. In order to make the most of your houseleek and enjoy its therapeutic benefits, you should use the freshest leaves possible.
How to make Houseleek Tea
All you will need to make this therapeutic tea are a couple of fresh houseleek leaves and some hot water.
- Cut the leaves and shred them very finely.
- Put the leaves in a pot and cover them with 250 ml of water.
- Bring the water to the boil then simmer for between 10 and 15 minutes.
- Strain out the leaves and allow it to cool.
- You only need to drink a quarter of a cup or so with your meals three or four times each day.
Houseleek tea has a very calming effect on the stomach and is especially useful for people suffering from digestive cramps, urinary tract complaints and heavy menstruation.
Houseleek and Honey
Houseleek is even more effective when combined with honey to treat certain conditions. This combination is a popular natural remedy to boost the body’s immune system, fibroids, cysts, indigestion, constipation and various other stomach ailments. It is easy to make by following a few simple steps.
All you need is around 300 grams of fresh houseleek leaves and 500 grams of good quality honey. We recommend manuka honey for its amazing health benefits but any good qulity honey will be effective.
- Take your fresh houseleek leaves and mince or chop them finely.
- Add your honey to the leaves and mix it all up thoroughly.
- Pour the finished mixture in a jar or container.
- Cover it and wrap it with foil.
- Put the jar into your fridge.
Eat a tablespoon of the mixture every morning half an hour before eating your breakfast or drinking your coffee. People who have used this remedy recommend that you avoid any food or drink for at least 30 minutes after taking it.
As well as the illnesses mentioned above, the combination of houseleek and honey can help your body to detoxify and eliminate any unwanted toxins.
Houseleek for Hemorrhoids
Eating houseleek or drinking its tea is is considered to be an effective natural hemorrhoid treatment. An alternative way to use houseleek for hemorrhoids is to use it as a natural wash.
Here is what you need to do.
- Take two fresh houseleek leaves and chop them up very finely.
- Mix them up with a sufficient amount of olive oil.
- After you have mixed the ingredients, place some of the mixture onto a soft pad and then
apply it to the affected area.
- Do this several times a day for as long as necessary and you should see some positive results.
Houseleek for Ear Infections
One of the traditional uses of houseleek was to treat ear infections and many people still swear by the remedy.
- You can extract the juice of a fresh houseleek leaf and put a few drops into the affected ear.
- Turn your head to the side so that your ear is facing upwards for a few minutes before allowing it to drain away.
- You should always be careful when using any herbal medications both internally and externally and houseleek is no exception to the rule.
- There is no evidence that there are any adverse side effects caused by houseleek but this lack does not mean you should not exercise caution.
- Pregnant women and nursing moms should err on the cautious side and avoid using houseleek. Young children should also not use houseleek.
- There is also no evidence that houseleek interacts with any other medications.