homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner homebanner
Aristolochia - L.
                 
Common Name Birthwort
Family Aristolochiaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards The root and stem are poisonous[19]. The plant contains aristolochic acid, this has received rather mixed reports on its toxicity. According to one report aristolochic acid stimulates white blood cell activity and speeds the healing of wounds, but is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys[254]. Another report says that it is an active antitumour agent but is too toxic for clinical use[218]. Another report says that aristolochic acid has anti-cancer properties and can be used in conjunction with chemotherapy and radiotherapy and that it also increases the cellular immunity and phagocytosis function of the phagocytic cells[176].
Habitats Waste ground, gardens, orchards etc[9].
Range E. and S.E. Europe. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun

Summary

Aristolochia Birthwort


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cleaned-Illustration_Aristolochia_clematitis.jpg
Aristolochia Birthwort
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Bogdan
   
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of flower
Aristolochia is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.7 m (2ft 4in) by 0.5 m (1ft 8in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf 11-May It is in flower from Jul to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Flies.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms
Habitats
Edible Uses
None known
Medicinal Uses
Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.



Birthwort has a very long history of medicinal use, though it has been little researched scientifically and is little used by present-day herbalists[254, 268]. It is an aromatic tonic herb that stimulates the uterus, reduces inflammation, controls bacterial infections and promotes healing[238]. The juice from the stems was used to induce childbirth[268]. The plant contains aristolochic acid which, whilst stimulating white blood cell activity and speeding the healing of wounds, is also carcinogenic and damaging to the kidneys[254]. The flowering herb, with or without the root, is abortifacient, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, oxytocic and stimulant[7, 9, 21, 100, 200]. Another report says that the root is used on its own[238] whilst a third says that either the fresh flowering herb or the dried rootstock can be used[268]. The plant should not be used internally without experienced supervision, externally it is used in the treatment of slow-healing cuts, eczema, infected toe and finger nails etc[9]. Use with caution, internal consumption can cause damage to the kidneys and uterine bleeding[7, 9, 21]. It should not be used by pregnant women[238].
Other Uses
None known
Cultivation details
Prefers a well-drained loamy soil, rich in organic matter, in sun or semi-shade[1, 134]. Succeeds in ordinary garden soil[134]. The plant has an invasive root system[233]. Most species in this genus have malodorous flowers, often smelling like decaying flesh[245], that are pollinated by flies[200]. The insects that pollinate this plant become trapped in the hairy throat of the flower[233]. Birthwort was formerly cultivated as a medicinal plant in most of Europe[50].
Propagation
Seed - best sown in a greenhouse as soon as it is ripe in the autumn. Pre-soak stored seed for 48 hours in hand-hot water and surface sow in a greenhouse[134]. Germination usually takes place within 1 - 3 months at 20°c[134]. Stored seed germinates better if it is given 3 months cold stratification at 5°c[200]. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer after the last expected frosts. Division in autumn[200]. Root cuttings in winter[200].
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Aristolochia clematitisBirthwort02
Aristolochia contortaMa Dou Ling13
Aristolochia debilisMa Dou Ling13
Aristolochia fangchiGuan Fang Chi02
Aristolochia kaempferi 02
Aristolochia macrophyllaPipevine, Dutchman's Pipe01
Aristolochia molissima 02
Aristolochia reticulataTexas Dutchman's Pipe02
Aristolochia rotundaSnakeroot02
Aristolochia serpentariaVirginia Snakeroot03
Aristolochia tomentosaDutchman's Pipe, Woolly dutchman's pipe02
Asarum arifolium 01
Asarum blumei 01
Asarum canadenseSnake Root, Canadian wildginger, Canada Wild Ginger, Wild Ginger33
Asarum caudatumWild Ginger, British Columbia wildginger32
Asarum dilatatum 20
Asarum europaeumAsarabacca, European Wild Ginger02
Asarum forbesiiDu Heng01
Asarum heterotropoides 02
Asarum maximum 01
Asarum nipponicum 10
Asarum reflexum 20
Asarum shuttleworthiiAsarabacca, Mottled Wild Ginger20
Asarum sieboldiiWild Ginger02
Asarum takaoi 10
Plant Suppliers: Click here for a List

      You can download this page as a PDF

Expert comment
 
Author
L.
Botanical References
50200
Links / References
For a list of references used on this page please go here
Readers comment
 
QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.
2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.
3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.
Add a comment/link

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

Subject : Aristolochia  

Plant Uses

Edible Uses
Medicinal Uses
Other Plant uses
Woodland Gardening
Why Perennial Plants?
Top Edible Plants
Top Medicinal Plants
Garden Design
Habitats
Translations

Content

Content Help
Bookshop
Support Us
Blog
Links
Old Database Search
Suppliers
Contact
About Us
News
Sign In

PFAF Newsletter

Stay informed about PFAFs progress,
challenges and hopes by signing up for
our free email newsletter. You will receive
a range of benefits including:
* Important announcements and news
* Exclusive content not on the website
* Updates on new information &
functionality of the website & database

We will not sell or share your email address.
You can unsubscribe at anytime.