The medicinal power of great burnet

This plant with the burgundy red elongated flower originally grows in Europe, North America and Asia. You see it all over the Northern Hemisphere. Great burnet likes to grow in damp meadows. It also does well in the shade and if the soil dries out a bit in the summer, this plant continues to do well. The leaves, flowers and flower buds are a wild vegetable and can be used excellently in a salad. The leaves can be dried to put in a homemade herbal tea. The plant grows to a height of 60 centimeters and has a hermaphrodite flower; that is a flower with both male and female sexual characteristics. Nowadays the great burnet is sold as a border plant. It is also a host plant; this way it attracts butterflies. An example of a butterfly that comes to the great burnet is the burnet blue. The medicinal power of burnet is mainly used for burns, dysentery and insect bites. 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 Great Burnet / Source: Carl Axel Magnus Lindman, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Traditional use
  • Naming
  • Active substances
  • Great burnet, the main uses
  • External use large burnet
  • Dose and safety
  • Visit a doctor or herbal therapist

Traditional use

Great burnet is traditionally used to make tea from the root or leaves. This is a folk medicine for bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery and pulmonary consumption or tuberculosis. In Chinese medicine, the plant is known as Di Yu and is ideally used for bloody dysentery. The leaf is also used to staunch blood; There are substances in the leaves that accelerate bleeding. Such things are good to know for people who walk in nature and do not carry a first aid kit with them. Nosebleeds were also treated with burnet, as were burns and insect bites.


In Latin, great burnet is called Sanguisorba officinalis . In Dutch, this plant has some alternative names such as: Great burnet, Garden burnet, Great sorbet, Great beavernel, Beavernel, Dragonwort, Bloodwort, Meadow burnet, Walloon burnet, Red burnet and Stoffertjes. Sanguisorba means ‘blood’ or actually ‘blood of an orphan’. The plant was given this name because many medicinal effects are related to the blood. Officinalis is a suffix given to all plants with an obvious, widely accepted medicinal effect.

Active substances

The root of burnet is used for phytotherapeutic purposes. It contains the following active substances: tannins, triterpene saponins such as sanguissorbin and sanguisorbigenin, essential oil, starch and calcium oxalate. Modern scientific research from China shows that the tannins in burnet burnet work more effectively when the whole plant is used compared to isolated tannins.

Great burnet, the main uses

The root of great burnet is astringent; it has an astringent effect on the mucous membranes. It constricts the blood vessels and has a haemostatic effect. This combination of medicinal properties is reason for herbalists to recommend it

Great burnet / Source: Karelj, Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)

write for the following indications:

  • Diarrhea,
  • Dysentery,
  • Hemorrhoids,
  • Adjuvant for enteritis and colitis (intestinal infections),
  • Metrorrhagia or excessive uterine bleeding.

Great burnet is carminative and can reduce intestinal gas and fermentation in the intestines.

External use large burnet

The astringent, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of burnet burnet can be classified as somewhat mild, but can nevertheless be applied externally. In phytotherapy, this medicinal plant is mainly used for the following skin conditions or external problems:

  • Eczema,
  • Hemorrhoids,
  • Wounds,
  • Burns.

Dose and safety

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

  • Decoction: three to four cups per day, five grams per tea glass.
  • Liquid extract: Five grams per day.
  • Alcohol: 40 drops four times a day.

No side effects are expected at these therapeutic doses. You can even eat more of this plant. It is a wild vegetable and fits well as an alternative lettuce leaf in a wild salad, together with, for example, ground ivy, blanched nettle, plantain, chickweed, ground elder, sorrel and dandelion leaf.

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.