This beautiful native plant is stunning enough to be grown in any garden and yet is considered a weed. It has not been used much in medicine in recent years but was a favourite of the American Eclectic physicians in treating diarrhoea and typhoid. Its soothing, astringent and tonic action is wonderful for all sorts of intestinal irritation, and it makes a good mouthwash.
Description: A tall 1.5m perennial, with stunning magenta flower spikes in summer and into autumn.
Habitat: Heaths, mountains, forest clearings, waste ground and railway embankments.
Distribution: Throughout the British Isles, and across Europe, Asia and North America; also parts of north Africa.
Related species: Rosebay willowherb is closely related to other willowherbs in the Epilobium genus: see page 186 of Hedgerow Medicine.
Parts used: Flower spikes and leaves, harvested in summer.