Perennial with a spiny ridged stem growing to 6½ ft (2 m), lance-shaped leaves, and lilac-colored flowers blooming from hooked heads.
Habitat & Cultivation
Common throughout Europe and western Asia, teasel thrives on open areas, roadsides, and banks. It is cultivated only on a small scale. The root is unearthed in late summer.
Teasel contains inulin, bitter substances, and a scabioside.
History & Folklore
Traditionally, the root was used to treat conditions such as warts, fistulas (abnormal passages opening through the skin), and cancerous sores. The water that collects in the leaf was called “Venus’s bath” by early herbalists, and was thought to be very beneficial for the eyes.
Medicinal Actions & Uses
Teasel root is little used medicinally today, and its therapeutic applications are disputed. It is thought to have diuretic, sweat-inducing, and stomach-soothing properties, cleansing the system and improving digestion. Due to its apparent astringency, teasel is considered helpful in diarrhea.
It is also thought to increase appetite, to tone the stomach, and to act on the liver, helping with jaundice and gallbladder problems. A new application of teasel, so far unsubstantiated, is in the treatment of Lyme disease.