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HERBAL INFORMATION – Queen Anne’s Lace Seeds

 

Family: Apiaceae

Latin names: Daucus Carota

Common names: Queen Anne’s lace, Wild carrot, Bird’s nest, Bishop’s lace

Parts Used:  Herb (flower head), Root, Seed

Constituents: Flavonoids; daucine (an alkaloid); volatile oil; petroselinic acid; tannins1

 

Description

A native of Europe, this biennial plant has naturalized in North America and can now be found in abundance.  Daucus can reach an average height of one metre and tends to go into flower in mid June to early July.  It is most easily recognized by its umbrella-like flower configuration known as an umbel.  The flowers are a pale pink before changing to a bright white once they are fully opened.  Often times a single dark red flower can be found in the centre of the umbel, which helps to attract insects.  Once it turns to seed, the umbel contracts and becomes concave like a bird’s nest, giving rise to the common name ‘bird’s nest’. 

Considered an invasive weed by many, this plant has amazing healing properties.  The herb (flower head), root and seeds are all used medically.  The young root is often harvested as wild carrot in Europe, due to its similar taste to the garden carrot.  The seeds contraceptive abilities were first noted by Hippocrates over 2000 years ago.    

 

As the flower begins the contract the seeds will start changing colour, beginning with green, changing to yellow, then red and finally brown.  The seeds are at their most potent when they change to red, which usually occurs from mid to late August (depending on where you live). 

Daucus carota has a similar appearance to Poison Hemlock, so please exercise caution when wild harvesting.  It is recommended that you have at least one field guide with you and/or someone knowledgeable in wild harvesting.  If you are uncertain of the species/identification please DO NOT harvest or ingest.  

 

Therapeutic Properties

Anthelmintic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antilithic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, diuretic, tonic emmenagogue, hypocholesterolemic, nervine, prostatic, relaxant, tranquilizer, uterine relaxant, neurovasodilator

Medicinal Uses

Female Reproductive System

  • Amenorrhea (absent or extremely irregular menstrual period), PMS symptoms, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps), menopausal symptoms
  • Infertility and low sex drive

Digestive system

  • Functional conditions (flatulence, bloating, indigestion, cramping, heart burn etc.)
  • Poor appetite, anorexia
  • Inflammatory and spasmodic conditions (IBS, colic, diverticulosis, spasms etc.)

Liver (Cholagogue)

  • Congestion and inflammation of the liver/gall bladder
  • Spasms of the liver/gall bladder

Nervous System

  • Headaches (including tension headaches & migraines), insomnia, nervous exhaustion, fatigue, muscle tension, inflammatory conditions of the nerves, poor memory/concentration

Urinary System + Prostate Conditions

  • Cystitis, prostatitis
  • Edema, puffiness under skin, swollen feet, water retention (also during menstruation)
  • Gout, urinary stones, gravel in urine

Musculoskeletal System

  • Gout, rheumatism, rheumatic arthritis

Cardiovascular

  • Poor peripheral circulation (cold hands/feet) and heart palpitations

 

Contraindications

  • The seeds are mildly photosensitizing and therefore may increase photosensitivity
  • It may also increase the photosensitivity of some medications (if they are known to increase light sensitivity)
  • Daucus carota seeds are not recommended in pregnancy
  • Use with caution when taking oral contraceptives, anticonvulsant, sedative or mood-altering medications

 

References:

Aromatherapy – Christine Westwood

Class Notes – Living Earth School

Earthwise Herbal, The – Matthew Wood

Holistic Herbal – David Hoffman

Medical Herbalism – David Hoffman 1

New Encylopedia of Herbs & Their Uses – Deni Bown