FUMARIACEAE now PAPAVERACEAE
Fumaria genus include about fifty species sometimes difficult to distinguish from each other.
These are plants originating from Eurasia but which have been introduced in other countries with a temperate climate (notably in North America, Australia).
The common fumitory is quite common in Europe (but also present in North Africa and Middle East).
It is an annual upright plant (about 50 cm), sometimes more or less spread on the ground because its stem is quite soft.
Its alternating greenish-gray leaves are segmented (pinnate ).
The flowers are in loose, small, elongated, tubular, pink clusters stained with purple.
The fruit is a small globose silique of about 2 mm containing a seed.
Fumaria species are traditional medicinal plants.
Fumaria officinalie, common fumitory, is included in many pharmacopoeias, the part used is the plant cut at ground level (the aerial parts)
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
AERIAL PARTS OF FUMARIA OFFICINALIS, COMMON FUMITORY
The constituents of interest from a medicinal point of view are:
- ALKALOIDS, of which the main ( in percentage) is PROTOPINE (= FUMARIN) which is also present in other plants of the papaveraceous family.
Protopine is an anti-histaminic (H1), therefore anti-allergic but also a little sedative and hypotensive.
Moreover, it is an active ANTISPASMODIC on the sphincter D'ODDI which regulates the arrival of bile in the duodenum (digestion of fats).
Protopine can also reduce abnormal digestive contractions: gastric, intestinal, irritable bowel cramps.
- ORGANIC ACIDS
Some are very common in plants, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid (anti-inflammatory).
FUMARIC acid is also a very widespread substance, it is involved in the Krebs cycle (intra cellular chemical reactions that transform glucose into energy).
Fumaric acid is present in Fumaria officinalis in sufficient quantity to have a pharmacological action.
It has a slight immunosuppressive capacity, useful in theory in autoimmune diseases (like psoriasis).
Derivatives of this acid are also tested to mitigate the effects of multiple sclerosis.
- FLAVONOIDS (anti-free radicals), MUCILAGE (softener of the mucous membranes and the skin), salts of POTASSIUM (diuretics).
The various species of Fumaria (fumitory) are traditional medicinal plants in Europe and North Africa.
Currently the common fumitory, Fumaria occidentalis, is mainly used:
- to treat VESICULAR AND HEPATIC DISORDERS related to a bad regulation of the sphincter of Oddi which does not open normally to let the bile pass (biliary dyskinesia),
- DIFFICULTY TO DIGERATE Meals too rich in fat,
- MIGRAINE ,
- and also poorly defined digestive disorders with cramp like IRRITABLE INTESTIN or mucous colitis.
It is a bitter plant improving appetite.
It can also be used in case of psoriasis internally and in application on dermatoses (traditional and old indication), eczema, psoriasis.
EXAMPLES OF DOSAGE for a treatment of a few days to two weeks:
FRESH PLANT JUICE (bitter):
100 g crushed fumitory, filtered and diluted to be consumed in two to thrre times.
INFUSION and DECOCTION (bitter):
50 to 75 g of dry plant in 1/2 liter of very hot water, infuse 10 minutes or keep boiling for 10 minutes (decoction), filter and let cool.
To consume in the day in several times. The decoction is more concentrated in active principles.
ALCOHOLIC TINCTURE : 50 drops 2 to 3 times a day
To avoid the bitterness of this plant it is better to use pharmaceutical preparations:
- powder capsules: equivalent to 2g-3g of powder per day,
- standardized extracts : comply with the indications of the laboratory.
CULTIVATION AND HARVESTING OF COMMON FUMITORY
Fumitory can be harvested in the nature (roadsides, ditches, gardens) if possible outside areas cultivated with pesticides.
It is easy to have fumitory in your garden, it is a plant not very demanding but which can become a little invasive while spreading.
Seeds are harvested from wild plants that can be sowed in place in the fall or spring.
The harvest is done at the beginning of the summer, dry the plant in the shade or prepare an alcoholic tincture of fresh plant.
THE OFFICINAL OR COMMON FUMITORY
FUMARIA OFFICINALIS, traditional medicinal plant of Europe and North Africa, facilitates the arrival of bile in the duodenum by raising spasm of the sphincter of Oddi.
It is useful in cases of biliary dyskinesia, difficulty digesting fats, digestive migraine, chronic constipation, intestinal disorders, irritable bowel syndrome .
It can also be used in case of psoriasis.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel