Burnet

Etymology

The Latin plant genus pimpinella saxifraga may come from the word bipinula, which roughly means “double pinnate” and describes the shape of the leaves. Saxifraga means “stone-breaker” and refers to the herb’s special power or cultivation site.

Pimpinella saxifraga

Characteristics

Plant family Umbelliferae
Flowering season May to August
Harvest Roots: March to April and September to October
Signature properties Strong odour of billy goat
Vegetation Grassland, sparse forests, rocky mountain slopes up to 2000 m above sea level.

History

Burnet: a cure for the plague?

Like ginseng for the Chinese or eleuthero for the Russians, burnet was an elixir and essential tonic for the Native Americans. “Eat garlic and burnet to preserve your health,” was the advice that our forefathers lived by in the Middle Ages – they believed that by purifying the air they breathed, they would be protected against the plague.