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Hydrangea arborescens (L)

Synonyms: Hydrangea vulgaris, Seven barks, Wild Hydrangea, Common hydrangea

Order: Saxifragaceae

Description: Hydrangea grows up to 3m tall and is found in woodland and along stream banks in south-eastern and central North America. Its stems are covered with thin layers of multicoloured bark and the opposite, ovate, serrate leaves have hairy veins on the underside when mature. Rounded or globular clusters of small creamy-white flowers appear in June and July. 

Parts used: Dried rhizome and roots

Collection: The roots should be collected in the autumn. 

Constituents: Flavonoids Glycoside (hydrangin), saponin, resin, rutin, volatile and fixed oil. There are no tannins.

Actions: Diuretic, antilithic, kidney stimulant (nephritic), laxative

Indications: cystitis, urethritis, urinary calculi, prostatitis

Therapeutics and Pharmacology: Hydrangea's greatest use is in the treatment of an inflamed or enlarged prostate gland although it is also used for urinary stones or gravel. 

Combinations: Combines well with Alchemilla arvensis, Arctostaphylos, Parietaria and Eupatorium purporeum for renal and vesicular calculi. In prostate problems it combines well with Equisetum or Serenoa

Preparation and Dosage: (thrice daily)

General Sales List

Dried root and rhizome: 2-4g or by decoction

Liquid Extract: 1:1 in 25% alcohol, 2-4ml

Tincture: 1:5 in 45% alcohol, 2-10ml

Additional Comments: A decoction of hydrangea was used by the Cherokee and the early American settlers for calculus.



BHMA 1983 British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, BHMA, Bournemouth.

Grieve, M. 1931 A Modern Herbal, (ed. C.F. Leyel 1985), London.

Hoffmann, D. 1990 The New Holistic Herbal, Second Edition, Element, Shaftesbury.

Lust, J. 1990 The Herb Book, Bantam, London.

Mabey, R. (ed.) 1991 The Complete New Herbal, Penguin, London.

Mills, S.Y. 1993 The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine, Penguin, London (First published in 1991 as Out of the Earth, Arkana)

Mills, S.Y. 1993 The A-Z of Modern Herbalism, Diamond Books, London.

Ody, P. 1993 The Herb Society's Complete Medicinal Herbal, Dorling Kindersley, London.

Wren, R.C. 1988 Potter's New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations, C.W.Daniel, Saffron Walden.


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Christine Haughton, MA MNIMH MCPP FRSPH

Wold Farm, West Heslerton, Malton, North Yorkshire YO17 8RY, UK

Last updated 27th November 2014     ęPurple Sage Botanicals