Pulsatilla (botanical name Anemone pulsatilla) is a perennially growing herb that grows up to a height of about 18 inches and is swathed with silky bristles or hairs. This plant bears leaves that are delicately divided and produces a single light violet flower having yellow stamens. These stamens develop into downy seed heads when the flowers have withered.
The pasqueflower (also spelt as pasque flower) is a forerunner of spring and has been named so since it blooms during the Easter all through most of its range. In a number of regions in the West as well as Midwest, this plant is also called the prairie smoke. The reason behind giving this name to the plant is that long after the flower blossomed and the fruit head has matured, the elongated hair-like threads which are attached to the fruits become silken as well as feathery. When the wind gusts blow these feather-like tails, ensuing outcome gives a false impression of smoke traversing the prairie. This plant is also known as the wild crocus, which indicates the role of the plant as being a harbinger of spring. The Latin name of the species patens refers to the dispersing manner of the plant's petals akin to sepals. Since the pasqueflower more often than not produces two flowering stems, the Dakota Sioux Indians have given the plant a name which when literally translated into English implies ‘twinflower'.
In the terms of flowers, the windflower is said to be abandoned. According to myths, the envious Greek goddess Flora transformed the nymph Anemone into a windflower at what time she had drawn the attention of her husband Zephyr. In turn, he deserted Anemone, discarding her to be blown by the wind. It is also said that this flower originated from the blood of Adonis, while the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite wailed over his slain body.
It has been documented that some Indians discovered a number of realistic uses of pulsatilla. These native Indians jammed their nose with the sepals of the plant to facilitate in stopping bleeding. In addition, they also mashed the leaves of the plant and applied it topically to ease rheumatic pains.
Pulsatilla is used in the form of a homeopathic medication to cure specific ailments of the eye and genitals, in addition to diseases relating to the urinary as well as gastrointestinal tracts. Pulsatilla is effective in lessening arterial stress, expands the pupils and also lessens respiration. Although the use of pulsatilla is not known to be unsafe or have any side effect when employed in appropriate and very small doses, it is actually venomous. When administered in unacceptable doses, pulsatilla may result in coma, seizures and even death due to asphyxiation (death owing to suffocation or choking). Here is word of caution, since pulsatilla is poisonous people ought to keep away from touching the fresh plant, since it may cause grave reactions on contacting the plant. In addition, pregnant women should never use this plant internally, as it may also result in forced abortions. German experts in homeopathy who have evaluated the several studies undertaken with pulsatilla as well as its uses suggest that it should be generally avoided, except in the form of a homeopathic medication.
Compared to its uses in herbal medicine in the past, these days the use of pulsatilla is much less. However, even now it is thought to be a valuable medication for treating menstrual disorders, cramps as well as sorrow. In addition, pulsatilla is especially considered to be an effective cure for sporadic pain of the reproductive system in males as well as females and is administered fairly often for providing relief from premenstrual tension and pain during menstruation, particularly when these conditions occur together with nervous exhaustion. Pulsatilla is also an useful medication for easing headaches. People in France have traditionally used pulsatilla to treat coughs and also in the form of a tranquilizer for curing sleep disorders. Moreover, pulsatilla is also employed to cure eye problems like cataracts. It may be noted that the fresh pulsatilla plant is never used for remedial purposes, since it is a potent irritant. Nevertheless, despite its toxicity, pulsatilla is one of the homeopathic remedies whose use is most widespread.
It is believed that pulsatilla possesses antispasmodic, nervine (a medication that is soothing to the nerves), diaphoretic (any agent that promotes sweating) and alterative properties. This herb is also known to be useful in treating problems of the mucus membranes as well as those of the respiratory and digestive tracts. Pulsatilla is also considered to be an effective emmenagogue (any medication that encourages menstrual discharge), useful in providing relief from headaches and neuralgia and a valuable medication for treating nervous fatigue, especially in women.
As mentioned above, pulsatilla is given to women to relax their nerves, it works as a gentle sedative, it is alterative, possesses antibacterial, spasmodic and analgesic attributes and is also effective for treating inflammatory stipulations of the reproductive organs both in males and females. In addition, pulsatilla is also used to cure menstrual disorder, premenstrual tension (PMT), dysmenorrhea (painful or difficult menstruation), hot flashes in menopausal phase, amenorrhea (absence of menses) associated with emotional disorders as well as interrelated reproductive problems in the tracts of females as well as males.
Pasque flower or pulsatilla is a wonderful stimulant for the nerves and also possesses analgesic attributes, which makes it an excellent remedy for administration during child birth. In addition, it also helps in relaxing as well as stimulates the nerves and the uterus that makes it easy for a woman to give birth to her child. In fact, pulsatilla can also be given after child birth to cure post natal dejection as well as nervousness. This herb is directly related to the reproductive organs and problems involving them and can also be employed to alleviate tension headaches that are associated with the reproductive factors.
In the form of a nervine or an agent that soothes the nerves, pulsatilla is employed to ease nervousness, insomnia and hyperactivity. In addition, this herb is effective in treating specific mental disorders like senile dementia and schizophrenia. Pulsatilla is also used to cure nervous disorders, including neuralgia, panic, depression, headaches as well as fatigue of the adrenal system. In fact, scientists are now trying to use pulsatilla to treat adrenal exhaustion, apart from giving it to patients who are enduring urinary tract disorders like the inflammation of the bladder.
Chemical analysis of pasque flower or pulsatilla has also revealed that the herb possesses expectorant, ophthalmic, tonic, vasotonic alterative and diaphoretic properties and it may be employed to treat a wide range of eye problems, counting cataracts, conjunctivitis, glaucoma and eye tics. In addition this herb is also effective in treating ear problems, including earache, loss of hearing and otitis (inflammation of the ear).
Pulsatilla also has a number of likenesses with the heart and one can use this herb to cure cardiac hypertrophy also known as myocardium (thickening of the heart muscle) well as venous congestion. In addition, pulsatilla may also be employed in the treatment of a number of digestive disorders that cause a white, densely coated tongue along with lack of ability to absorb fat. Furthermore, this herb may also be used to cure a number of respiratory ailments, for instance, asthma associated with the reproductive region, inflammation of the bronchioles, catarrh and pertussis or whooping coughs. Pulsatilla also promotes the heart as well as blood circulation and is an effective stimulant for the liver, helpful in easing congestion of the liver, which makes the herb helpful in treating indigestion, fat intolerance and heartburn.
Pulsatilla is an herb that stimulates as well as relaxes the mucus membrane of the digestive and respiratory tracts. This herb is especially recommended for people who are fair and have blue eyes. Pulsatilla can also be used to cure rheumatic pains of the hands and feet, in addition to the pains shifting from one joint to another. Pulsatilla is also used to support benzodiazepine withdrawal.
Since pasque flower is considered to be a vasotonic alterative, this herb may be employed for treating eruptive contagions, for instance, chickenpox, in addition to providing relief from boils. The tincture or infused oil of pulsatilla may be used to alleviate the earaches.
Habitat and cultivation
Pulsatilla is indigenous to Europe and it flourishes on arid grasslands in the central as well as the northern regions off the continent. This plant has a preference for chalky (dry and fine) soil. The aerial parts of the pulsatilla, which have remedial use, are harvested when the herb is in full bloom during the spring.
Therapeutically, pulsatilla is used in two forms - infusion and tincture.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion with pulsatilla, add half to one teaspoonful of the dried up herb to one cup (250 ml) of boiling water and allow it to permeate for about 10 to 15 minutes. For best results, this infusion should be taken thrice every day or whenever it is required.
Tincture: The standard dosage of the pulsatilla tincture is 1 ml to 2 ml taken thrice every day.
Side effects and cautions
As the fresh pulsatilla plants are potent irritants, handling them or materials produced from them may cause exasperation and blistering. Moreover, consumption of the whole fresh plant may result in the burning of the mouth leading to swelling and reddening of the mouth and the face. Similarly, gulping huge amounts of the plant may result in serious discomfort of the stomach.
It may be mentioned that though pulsatilla is widely used as a homeopathic remedy, this herb has not yet gained the approval of the German Commission E. Pulsatilla may cause irritation to the skin and also to the kidneys. It may be emphasized that pregnant women should strictly avoid using this herb.
Collection and harvesting
The flowering stalks of pulsatilla are harvested when the plant is in full bloom - between the period of March and April.
To cure excruciating menstrual period, pulsatilla is given in conjugation with another herb cramp bark. Similarly, to cure skin complaints, it is best to give the patient a combination of pulsatilla with Echinacea.