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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

aka Achweed, Ashweed, Bishop's Elder, Eltroot, English Masterwort, Goatweed, Goutweed, Ground ash,
Ground Elder, Herb Gerard, Jack-jump-about, Pigweed, Weyl ash, White ash, Wild Masterwort

(Aegopodium podagraria)

Native to Europe and northeast Asia, but introduced into England. An erect perennial plant to 2 feet with a round stem which is furrowed and hollow. Spread by a white, pungent and aromatic creeping rootstock and soon establishes itself as a pest. Leaves are 2 to 3 inches long, alternate with ovate and sharply toothed lobes. Small white flowers appear in umbrels from June through July and are followed by flattened seed capsules which, when ripe, release easily in the wind and scatter about giving rise to the name 'jack-jump-about'.

Its scientific name is possibly derived from the Green 'aigos' (goat) and 'podos' (foot) to describe the shape of the leaves (which requires a goat-like leap of imagination to envision any resemblance), whereas the Latin 'podagra' is specific for gout. It was commonly grown in medieval monastary gardens for medicinal purposes and dedicated to St. Gerard who was the Catholic man to complain to if you were afflicted by gout.

PROPAGATION: By division. Perennial. Can become invasive.
NEEDS: Full to part sun. Average soil and conditions.
HARVEST: Flowers, leaves and roots.
PART USED: Leaves and roots.
VARIEGATED BISHOPWEED (A.p. 'variegatum'): A variegated leaf variety which is very attractive and non-invasive, being much slower in spreading.


Mild sedative (tea), diuretic, anti-inflammatory.
Has been used for gout, rhematism (poultice of boiled roots and leaves), and sciatica.
Has been used externally for gout, hemorrhoids, insect stings and burns.

Used for arthritis and rheumatism.

The young leaves were used in soups and salads and as a spinach-like vegetable. The flavor of the leaves is said to be strong and disagreeable to some. CRAFT:
Flowers are dried and used for floral arrangements.

©2000 & 2003 by Ernestina Parziale, CH