The medicinal power of small beavernel

Small beavernel is an annual plant that grows only 30 to 70 centimeters high. It likes to grow in meadows and on forest edges. The young leaves of small beavernel can be eaten as salad vegetables. They can also be cooked like spinach. The plant is best known as a medicinal plant. it has been used traditionally. In modern phytotherapy it is a plant that is used, among other things, for coughs, hoarseness and sore throat. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of small beavernel / Source: Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Traditional use small beavernel
  • The black Plague
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Small beavernel for cough and throat problems
  • Other medicinal uses small beavernel
  • Dose and safety

Traditional use small beavernel

Small beavernel was a widely used medicinal herb in ancient times and the Renaissance. Pliny the Elder belonged to the ancient Romans. He recommended a decoction of this plant to drink with honey. That would help with a large number of ailments. Rembert Dodoens, the pioneering herbalist of the 17th century, recommended steeping bevernel leaves in wine; it would be good for the heart. Small Beavernel was also used against the dreaded disease the plague . Furthermore, an ointment was made from this plant that was good for various skin conditions. Around the 20th century, small beavernel was still a popular medicinal herb. A tea made from beaver root was used for coughs, intestinal and kidney problems, hoarseness, dropsy or edema and gout. People chewed the root if they suffered from tongue paralysis. Hoarseness was dispelled by mixing the dried powder of small beavernel with honey and eating it.

The black Plague

During the plague epidemic, small beavernel was popular. The root of this plant was placed on brandy and the brandy was drunk. Then the epidemic was seen to end. Not long afterwards, a cholera epidemic broke out in Vienna. There too, the small beavernel turned out to be a working medicinal herb. Small beaver eels were even used against cattle plague. It gained the reputation of an herb that drives away death. Subsequently, the root was also used against epilepsy and snake poison. After all, the root seemed to have devil-repelling powers. The story went around during the plague epidemic that a German man heard a heavenly voice say:

Pimpinella saxifraga or small beavernel / Source: $Mathe94$, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

Ihr Junggesell,
Esst Bibernell!So stirbt ihr,Nicht so schnell!


Your young companion,
Eat beaver nel! This is how you die, Not so quickly!

Livestock eat this plant without any problems. The seeds are not digested so the plant is spread by animals.


In Latin, small beavernel is called Pimpinella saxifraga . A Latin synonym for this medicinal plant is Pimpinella sanguisorba . In Dutch the plant is also called Kleine saxifrage and Bevernaart. Saxifragus means ‘stone breaker’, hence the name in Dutch. It is not known where the name pimpinella comes from.

Active substances

The root of small beavernel is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. This root contains the following active substances: saponins, essential oil, coumarin and furanocoumarins such as peucenine, bergaptene, isobergaptene, pimpinelline, isopimpinelline, umbelliferone and sfondine. This medicinal plant also contains tannins or tannins.

Small beavernel for cough and throat problems

Lesser beavernel is an expectorant; an agent that dissolves mucus. This makes the mucus easier to cough up and the mucus is less likely to cause an infection. In phytotherapy it can be used for the following indications:

  • Bronchitis,
  • Cough,
  • Hoarseness,
  • A sore throat,
  • Laryngeal inflammation.

Other medicinal uses small beavernel

  • Lesser beavernel is emmenagogue. That’s the medical term for a menstruation-stimulating herb. It promotes menstruation by stimulating the uterus.
  • In addition, it is a diuretic herb.
  • Sometimes beavernel is used in a gargle to get rid of mouth and throat infections.

Dose and safety

There are three ways to use this medicinal plant. These are the standard applications as they apply in phytotherapy.

  • Mother tincture: 40 drops three times a day.
  • Powder: 1 gram at a time and a maximum of 5 grams per day.
  • Infusion or tea: 1 teaspoon of dried herb per tea glass.

If therapeutic doses are maintained, there is no chance of side effects.