Fumitory: Typical features, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Fumitory: Typical features, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Fumitory grows primarily along roadsides and is native to Europe, the Mediterranean and the Middle East. The plant has been naturalized as a weed in North and South America. The drug import comes from wild collections in Eastern Europe.

In herbal medicine, the dried, above-ground parts of the plant that are collected during the flowering period (Fumariae herba) are used.

Fumitory: Typical features

Fumitory is an annual climbing or creeping herb that grows up to 30 centimetres tall. The leaves are grey-green, slightly pruinose and deeply dissected.

The plant’s genus name is derived from the Latin humus (=smoke) since the grey-green colouring of the leaves makes them appear smoked.

The typical pink flowers with a dark red tip are arranged in racemes. The plant also bears small spherical fruits with only one seed. The fumitory family used to be considered a separate family, but today, they are part of the poppy family (Papaveraceae).


What is the medicine made of?

The overall blue-to-grey-green drug consists of many fragments and hollow, angular pieces of stalks. Also included are characteristic light to dark purple, shrivelled flowers with a dark spot at the top and spherical fruits with a tiny brown seed.

smell and taste of fumitory

The plant does not give off a particularly characteristic smell. The taste of fumitory is slightly bitter and slightly salty.

Fumitory – application

Fumitory herb is generally used to treat gallbladder and digestive problems, particularly for spasmodic problems in the gallbladder, bile ducts and gastrointestinal tract. The herb helps relieve associated symptoms such as gas, bloating, cramps and pain.

Furthermore, fumitory is also used to treat psoriasis and eczema (skin inflammatory reactions).

Folk medicinal use of fumitory

In folk medicine, fumitory is said to have diuretic and antispasmodic properties. It is also used internally as a laxative and externally for various skin conditions such as psoriasis (vulgar psoriasis) and chronic eczema.


Fumitory in homeopathy

Homeopathically, flowering plants’ fresh, aerial parts are used for chronic itchy eczema in liver disorders.

Constituents of fumitory

Like other poppy plants, fumitory contains around one per cent of various alkaloids with protoberberines and protopines. Fumaric acid esters and flavone glycosides such as rutin, quercetin, and caffeic acid derivatives also occur.


Fumitory – for which indication?

Areas of application for fumitory are:

  • Spasmodic complaints of the gallbladder and bile ducts
  • indigestion
  • gas
  • bloating
  • psoriasis
  • eczema

Fumitory – Dosage

Fumitory herbs can be taken in the form of tea, or the dry extract of the herb can also be taken in the form of tablets and dragees. The drug is contained, for example, in tea mixtures for liver and gallbladder symptoms.

Fumitory: the correct dose

Since the effective daily dose should be six grams, the tea mixtures are underdosed with 10 to 100 mg of the drug per gram of tea. Unless otherwise prescribed, the average daily dose is six grams of the drug.


Preparation of fumitory tea

To make tea from fumitory herb, two to three grams of the drug (a teaspoon is about 1.6 grams) are poured over with boiling water and passed through a tea strainer after ten minutes. For bile problems, a cup of warm tea should be drunk before each meal.

Advice on contraindications and storage

Fumitory herbs should not be taken in acute gallbladder inflammation (cholecystitis) or the case of gallbladder and bile duct stones.

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light.

Fumitory – synonyms

German plant name: Erdrauch

German synonyms of the plant: Real fumitory, common fumitory, common fumitory, field rue, field rue, earth gall, fumitory, scabious, scabious, grape chervil

Latin plant name: Fumaria officinalis L.

Latin synonyms of the plant: Middle smoke, Storm smoke, Common smoke

German drug name: fumitory herb

German synonyms of the drug: Field rue, grind herb, smoke herb, earth rue herb, pigeon chervil

Latin drug name: Smoke plant

Latin synonyms of the drug: The Herb of the Smokehouse

English name: Fumitory herb (Droge); Common Fumitory, Fumaria officinalis, Drug fumitory, Earth smoke, Fumitory, Hedge fumitory, Wax dolls (Pflanze)

Plant family Latin: Fumariaceae

Plant family German: fumitory


Fumitory – effect

Fumitory herb has antispasmodic properties on the bile ducts, gallbladder and digestive tract and increases bile production. In addition, antibacterial and central nervous system inhibiting effects have been observed. Fumaric acid also inhibits the immune system’s overreaction in psoriasis and eczema and thus alleviates the symptoms.

Fumitory: interactions and side effects

There are currently no known side effects or interactions with other drugs.



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