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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.

(Dianthus spp)

aka China Pink, Rainbow Pinks
(Dianthus chinensis)
Also see: Pinks, Clove

CONTAINS: Seeds contain 18.1% protein, 6.0% fat.

The flowers have a sweet, clove-like fragrance.

NEEDS: Grown as an ornamental in well-drained, neutral soil in full sun. Susceptible to Botrytis, Fusarium, Verticillium, powdery mildew, leaf and stem rot.
HARVEST: The plants are cut before the buds open, then dried for use.
PART USED: Whole plant
D. superbus: Theleaf is used in Chinese medicine for buboes, hematachezia, hemorrhoids, lumbricoid worms, ophthalmia, veneral sores. It has been used internally in decoction form for bones caught in the throat (a seemingly common problem in Eastern cultures), and for splinters and wounds. The flower is considered astringent, diuretic, ecbolic, hemostatic, resolvent, vulnerary, and is used to treat abscesses, amenorrhea, fluxes, and gravel. In Chinese medicine it is believed to promote hair growth. The plant is considered diuretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge and used to treat dysmenorrhea, edema, gonorrhea, and fertility problems. It is used interchangeably with D. chinensis in Chinese medicine.
STRAWBERRY PARFAIT (D.c. 'Strawberry Parfait').


Bitter, tonic, stimulant, febrifuge, antibacterial, anthelmintic, diaphoretic, diuretic, ecbolic, emmenagogue, antiphlogistic, hemostatic; lowers blood pressure; affects digestive, urinary, and bowel systems.
Has been used for urinary dysfunction especially with burning and pain, urinary tract infections (cystitis), and urinary stones, constipation, delayed menses.
Has been used for constipation and conditions arising from congealed blood.
In Chinese medicine an extract is used for skin inflammation and swellings; the old leaves are used for eyesight problems.
Used in Korea for eczema and skin cancer.

aka Pink, Gillyflower
(Dianthus caryophyllus)

Carnations by any other name. Can be found growing wild from western France to India. Across the genus colors can range from white to pink to yellow and orange with some striped varieties.

PROPAGATION: By SEED in spring; by SOFTWOOD CUTTINGS in late spring; by LAYERING in late summer.
NEEDS: Full sun with well-drained slightly alkaline soil. Perennial in warm climates, or grow as a greenhouse plant.
FLOWERS: Appear late July onward.
HARVEST: Flowers, after the dew has dried in the morning (about 3 hours of sun); used fresh for oil extraction and culinary uses; dried for potpourri.
PART USED: Flowers, oil.
SPICE PINK (Dianthus graniticus): A dwarf species with purplish flowers which are grown for their fragrance.


Aromatic, stimulant, febrifuge.
Once used internally in the form of a cordial to treat fevers.

Used chiefly as a flavoring for liqueurs, conserves, syrups and vinegars.
Fresh flowers are added to salads.
The petals with white heels removed can be candied by coating with beaten egg whites and confectioners sugar.

SYRUP 1: 1 quart water, 1/2 bushel flowers with whites cut off and seeds sifted off and flowers bruised; boil water and allow to cool slightly; add flowers and let stand 24 hours; adding half of the flowers at a time works well for greater strength; add 3 lbs sugar and let sit overnight; next day boil in a pot which is set in a pot of water and let it boil till all sugar is melted and the syrup is thick; remove from heat and cool; bottle. (Queen's Closet Opened - 1655)

SYRUP 2: 3 lbs flowers picked from husks and with white heels cut off; make a syrup of 5 pints boiling water poured over the flowers; after standing 12 hours or overnight, strain off clear liquid without pressing and dissolve 2 lbs. of sugar per pint in it. (Receipt Book of Henry Howard - 1710)

VINEGAR: Infuse flowers in white wine vinegar in sun or warm spot for a few days, then mash and season with cinnamon and mace to make a sauce for lamb. Can also be strained and bottled.

The dried flower heads are added to potpourri.

The oil is used in perfumery.

©2001 & 2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH