Have you ever wondered about Herb Robert medicinal properties and how to use this weed? In Washington state, Herb Robert is considered a noxious weed. This weed in particular is one that has incredible healing potential.
Herb Robert is one of the most hated plants here in the Pacific Northwest. My neighbors call it stink weed, as it gives off a diesel like smell when you touch it. When I was first introduced to this stinky, yet gorgeous plant I never would have imagined it’s healing power. It is considered a noxious weed because it will take over a spot within a year.
The first thing you’ll notice about Herb Robert is its diesel like aroma. When touched, it emits a smell that is truly offensive. But don’t let its smell fool you. I’ve found that the smell is less offensive if you pick it when it is in cool shade. Herb Robert loves dense shade. However it will grow anywhere. A mature Herb Robert plant has an interesting growth pattern. The main stem from the root hovers just above the ground and then sends out shoots in every direction that are red, tough, firm, with lacy-like Bleeding Heart leaves. The stalks adorn tiny pink flowers atop those tough stems. Can you guess what Herb Robert is good for just by its growing pattern? If you guessed circulation and oxygen delivery, you’d be correct!
In fact, you’ll often find Herb Robert and Bleeding Hearts as neighbors.
Herb Robert Properties and Medicinal Uses
Herb Robert has folklore that says it was used as cancer treatment and prevention because of its fantastic oxygenation properties. I can see how it could be effective for a few different issues. Bringing oxygen to tissues while strengthening the blood and veins is certainly some powerful medicine. I’ve seen it effective for stroke rehabilitation, lung cancer, fatigue (which is most common), high blood pressure, and also diabetes. It is anti-viral and an anti-bacterial. It helps boost the immune system and is a great tincture to have on hand for those times you feel a little something coming on. It lowers blood sugar so use this herb with that knowledge. People with hypoglycemia should avoid using Herb Robert unless under the care of an herbalist.
I’ve read that some eat the leaves in salad as a cancer preventative. Some have said to use it fresh in teas and infusions, and that it is great for mouth ulcers and toothaches. After Herb Robert is dried, the offensive smell is no longer present. Personally, I keep an apple cider vinegar tincture and elixir on hand made with fresh Herb Robert leaves.
To make a tincture or extract, place fresh leaves in a jar. Loosely pack until the jar is half full. Then top the jar off with organic apple cider vinegar until full. Shake daily and strain after a minimum setup period of 2 weeks. Then bottle and use as one would like.
I use the apple cider vinegar extract in teas and in homemade salad dressings. You can also use an alcohol to draw the medicinal properties out of the plant. Use the alcohol based extract in teas or place under tongue.
If you have a patch of Herb Robert, consider yourself lucky. It is slowly becoming a not so common weed to have. Be mindful to keep its roots in the area you want it in, as it will spread quickly. However, it pulls easily with its shallow root system and the medicinal properties are an amazing addition to any healing garden.