Thursday, 27 November 2008


Also known as 'Mountain Ash', the Rowan tree (sorbus aucuparia) was once widely planted for its supposedly beneficial effect in driving away witches! All parts are astringent and have been used in tanning and producing a black dye. The wood was traditionally used for poles and barrel hoops.

The bark and fruit (either fresh or dried) have been used medicinally - a decoction of bark is taken for diarrhoea and the ripe berries are used to make an astringent gargle for sore throats and inflamed tonsils. To stimulate the appetite, a teaspoonful of rowan jam taken daily is recommended.

Flowers May to July
Fruits in August

PLEASE NOTE: These notes on the history and use of herbs have been compiled for general interest and are not intended as medical advice, for which you should consult a professional herbalist.

‘Herbs and Healing Plants of Britain and Europe’ Dieter Podlech (1987)
'A Modern Herbal' Mrs M. Grieve FRHS ed. Mrs C. F. Leyel (1973)


RunicRiter said...

This is very interesting. I'm glad to find your blog

Wendy said...

My mother had a mountain ash tree in her yard for years. I always liked the orange berries it produced in late summer.
Later on I learned it was called a rowan tree - used as protection from witches. I wonder if my mother knew that?
I rather doubt it, but it's fun to think about.

Mimi said...

Wendy, maybe somewhere your mother did know. This is so interesting!

Border Reiver said...

Precicely why I planted a Rowan in my front garden, and the added benefits of berries for the birds. Nice posting hedgewitch, I'm interested in the photo, is it a clay cast?

Dave Coulter said...

A nice tree that stuggles a bit to grow in these parts...we're a little too far north. :)

Hedgewitch said...

Hi everyone, many thanks for your comments :-)

Yes, the photo is of one of my leaf pieces - I press the leaves into wet clay and then paint and varnish them when it has dried.

Claire said...

happy new year, steph :o)

Border Reiver said...

Thank you for the note re the clay cast. New Year Blessings. Andrew

Hedgewitch said...

Thanks, guys - I hope 2009 brings you health and happiness :-)