Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

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.

(Helianthus tuberosus)

PROPAGATION: By division in late summer when tubers have formed. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full to part sun. Does best in nitrogen poor soil. Can become rampant and grows quite tall so plant in some back corner or give its own space.
HARVEST: Root in fall after first frost.
FLOWERS: August. Resembles the sunflower and on a hot afternoon, smells like chocolate.


Contains a natural form of insulin. Metabolizes certain types of sugars into glycogen in the muscles and liver.

Is eaten raw or sauteed. Is used like water chestnut in Chinese cooking. Made into flour: dry thin slices of tuber then grind and sieve.

Is used as a beneficial pig food on the farm. It encourages the growth of sweeter smelling bacteria and helps pig to absorb more nutrients from food.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH