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Green Medicine > Medicinal Plants > Lomatium

Lomatium

Photo of Lomatium
(Lomatium dissectum)

Lomatium dissectum is a member of the parsley family growing in semi-arid climates in the northwest. Its large root has given it the name "biscuit root." This plant has traditionally been used to fight many infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis.

Today, wildcrafted lomatium is a part of many herbal formulas for relieving common colds and the flu. Although lomatium is abundant in some areas, concern has been raised over this plant for a number of reasons. First is the fact that the lomatium in commerce is almost exlusively wildcrafted. At present, no one is cultivating lomatium on a commercial scale. In addition to this, the life cycle of lomatium is not well known, and it has been hypothesized that some of the large commercially harvested roots might be many, many years old. Since lomatium does not reproduce asexually, and only a very small percentage of its seeds ever germinate, this extremely long life span would mean that sustainable harvest of the root would be limited to a very small portion of the species population.

Cultivation: Not well understood at present. In the wild Lomatium dissectum grows on rocky slopes, frequently facing south, in semi-arid areas. Probably requires a warm period followed by a cold season and then another warm period.

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Last Updated: 4/4/02