The medicinal power of wild man’s herb

Wildeman’s wort used to grow in the Netherlands, but it has not been spotted since the 1970s. The plant still grows in Belgium, just like in the rest of Western and Central Europe. In the Netherlands, wild man’s herb is currently sold as an ornamental plant that blooms from March to May. Wild man’s herb has purple flowers and leaves covered with feather-like hairs. It is a medicinal plant but there are no edible parts to wild man’s herb. 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 wild man’s herb / Source: Public domain, Wikimedia Commons (PD)


  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Wildeman’s herb, good for the genitals
  • Wild man’s herb, good for the nerves
  • Dose and safety
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist


In Latin, wild man’s herb is called Pulsatilla vulgaris . When the flower is half closed it resembles a cowbell. In Latin, pulsare means ‘to strike’; that comes from this plant’s resemblance to a cowbell. Vulgaris means ‘ordinary’.

Active substances

The above-ground part of the plant is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. This plant contains the following important active substance: ranunculin. Ranunuculin is converted into the hemiterpenoid lactone protoanemonin by hydrolysis, or a chemical reaction with water. This substance is then converted back into dimeric anemonine. This in turn is a substance that in turn breaks down through chemical reaction into the following active substances: tannins, phenols and heterosides.

Wildeman’s herb, good for the genitals

Wild man’s herb has a relaxing effect on the genital system, in both men and women. Due to this medicinal effect, wild man’s herb is prescribed by herbalists for the following indications:

  • Dysmenorrhea or painful menstruation,
  • Ovulatory pain or pain during ovulation,
  • Ovaritis or ovarian inflammation,
  • Orchitis or testicular inflammation.

Wild man’s herb, good for the nerves

Wild man’s herb has a laxative and strengthening effect on the nerves. This is reason to prescribe it for all kinds of diseases in which nerves play an important role. In phytotherapy it is used for:

Pulsatilla vulgaris / Source: Mg-k, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

  • Neuralgia or nerve pain,
  • insomnia,
  • Neuroses,
  • Migraine,
  • Spastic cough,
  • Whooping cough,
  • Spasmodic rhinitis,
  • Hay fever.

Dose and safety

There are a number of ways to use this medicinal plant.

  • Carrot powder: 150mg to 400mg per day.
  • Alcoholatura (hydrolic alcohol decoction: 5 to 20 drops per day
  • Infusion or tea: 2 to 3 cups of 5 grams of herb in a liter of water or 1 gram of herb per cup. The tea is normally drunk with the addition of mint to prevent overstimulation of the stomach mucosa.

Although it says above that you can drink tea from the root, this is strongly discouraged. It is best to use only a preparation of anemonine. Some substances in the root, especially ranuculin, can lead to serious symptoms such as overstimulation and paralysis of the nervous system if consumed in excess. Even the therapeutic dose can lead to irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa; therefore it is always taken with the neutralizing mint leaf. Pregnant women should not use medicines based on wild man’s herb because it stimulates the uterus. Nursing women should also not use it because the toxins can have unpleasant side effects for the baby.

Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Much of the information about the medicinal plant mentioned in this article comes from the book Groot Handboek Medicinal Plants by Geert Verhelst. That is a handbook in phytotherapy. However, it is not suitable for self-healing. Anyone who suffers from something should consult a doctor or herbal therapist for a good diagnosis and choice of the best remedies, tailored to your personal situation. The knowledge and science mentioned here is of a purely informative nature.