The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!


Scientific Names


  • Dictamnus albus L.
  • Rutaceae
  • Rue family

Common Names

  • Bastard dittany
  • Burning Bush
  • Diptam
  • Dittany
  • False dittany
  • Gas plant
  • Pai-hsien (Chinese name)
  • White dittany
  • Back to Top

    Parts Usually Used

    Rootstock, herb, seed
    Back to Top

    Description of Plant(s) and

    Fraxinella is a perennial plant; the knobby, cylindrical, whitish rootstock sends up several round, downy, green-and-purple stems with alternate, odd-pinnate leaves. Leaflets are ovate-lanceolate, serrate, and covered with glandular dots. A long raceme of large, rose-colored (sometimes white or red-purple) flowers with darker veins appear in June and July. The fruit is a 5-parted capsule. The entire plant has a lemon-like smell. Some of the plant’s names refer to its production of a flammable substance in the summer which ignites with a flash over the whole plant but without harming it.

    (There are several plants referred to as dittany: American dittany (Cunila origanoides) of the mint family; American dittany has another old name (Cunila mariana).
    Back to Top

    Where Found

    Introduced from Europe and sometimes cultivated as a garden ornamental in the northern United States.
    Back to Top

    Medicinal Properties

    Anthelmintic, diuretic, emmenogogue, expectorant, febrifuge, tonic
    Back to Top

    Legends, Myths and Stories

    According to a pioneer doctor: Native Americans of the southeast smoked the fragrant leaves of this herb in place of tobacco.

    The volatile oil from the flowers is emitted as a vapor on sultry summer evenings and if a match is lit, will flash.
    Back to Top


    A decoction of the rootstock is used for fever and stomach cramps, kidney stones and bladder stones.

    Infusion of the flowers used to hasten childbirth, promotes the onset of menstruation. According to Parkinson, it was used against contagious diseases and pestilence. A tincture of the leaves and flowers is used in a liniment for rheumatic pains.
    Back to Top

    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion or decoction: use 1 tbsp. rootstock, herb, or seed with 1 cup water. Take 1 cup a day, a mouthful at a time.
    Back to Top


    Contact with the plant may cause dermatitis where the skin is subsequently exposed to sunlight.

    Avoid use during pregnancy.
    Back to Top


    Buy It! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

    Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

    Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

    Buy It! The Herbalist Almanac, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, copyright 1988, fifth printing, 1994

    Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

    Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

    Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

    Buy It! The Rodale Herb Book: How to Use, Grow, and Buy Nature’s Miracle Plants (An Organic gardening and farming book), edited by William H. Hylton, Rodale Press, Inc. Emmaus, PA, 18049., 1974

    Back to Top