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


  • Fumaria officinalis L.
  • Fumariaceae
  • Fumitory family

Common Names

  • Earth smoke
  • Hedge fumitory
  • Scabweed
  • Back to Top

    Parts Usually Used

    Flowering herb
    Back to Top

    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Fumitory is an annual, slender, climbing plant; the sub-erect, hollow stem is angular, smooth, and bluish or smoky-green colored. The leaves are frail, alternate, gray-green, and bipinnate or tripinnate with small, narrow divisions. The small flowers vary from reddish-purple to yellowish-white, and have a reddish-black spot at the tip, grow in loose racemes from May to September.
    Back to Top

    Where Found

    Grows practically everywhere on earth, mostly around areas where other plants are cultivated. Fumitory is native to Europe.
    Back to Top

    Medicinal Properties

    Alterative, cholagogue, diuretic, laxative, stomachic, bitter tonic
    Back to Top

    Biochemical Information

    Fumarine and other alkaloids, fumaric acid, bitter principles, resin, mucilage
    Back to Top

    Legends, Myths and Stories

    According to the Webster’s Dictionary the classification of fumitory is of the fumitory family. But some references claim it belongs to the poppy family or Papaveraceae.
    Fumitory was mentioned by Pliny, the Roman writer (AD 23-79) and by Dioscorides, a Greek physician (first century AD). One of fumitory’s common German names once was scabweed.
    Back to Top


    Fumitory is primarily used internally for liver and gallbladder problems, scabies, jaundice, and other skin problems, dermatitis, stomach disorders, cures nausea, vomiting, and exanthema. Larger doses act as a laxative and diuretic, but excessive doses can cause diarrhea and stomachache. For chronic constipation, use fumitory in combination with other appropriate herbs. Taken as a blood purifier. As Culpeper states it: it clarifies “the blood from saltish, choleric, and adust humours; which cause leprosy, scabs, tetters, and itches; and such like breakings-out of the skin, and after the purgings doth strengthen all the inward parts”. He also thought it protected against the plague and pestilence.

    Culpeper states, “The juice of the fumitory and docks mingled therewith, cures all sorts of scabs, pimples, blotches, wheals, and pushes which arise on the face or hands, or any other parts of the body”.
    Back to Top

    Formulas or Dosages

    Use the dried herb.

    Infusion: steep 1 heaping tsp. herb in 1 cup water. Take cold, a wineglassful at a time, every 4 hours.

    Cold extract: use 1 tsp. herb with 1/2 cup cold water. Let stand for 8-10 hours. Take 1/2 to 1 cup per day.

    Tincture: take 1/2 to 1 tsp. at a time.
    Back to Top


    Buy It! American Folk Medicine, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

    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! The Healing Plants, by Mannfried Pahlow, Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. 250 Wireless Blvd., Hauppauge, NY 11788, 1992

    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.

    Herbal Gardening, compiled by The Robison York State Herb Garden, Cornell Plantations, Matthaei Botanical Gardens of the University of Michigan, University of California Botanical Garden, Berkeley., Pantheon Books, Knopf Publishing Group, New York, 1994, first edition

    Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

    Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

    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

    Back to Top