Fumitory Herb – Uses And Side Effects


Fumitory is an annual plant found practically everywhere on earth, mostly around areas where other plants are cultivated. The sub-erect, hollow stem is angular, smooth, and bluish hued. The leaves are alternate, gray-green and bi- or tri-pinnate with small, narrow divisions. The herb is small and slender, with weak, straggling, or climbing stems, decompound leaves, and clusters or spikes of small flowers of a pinkish hue, topped with purple, or more rarely, white. The leaves have no odour, but taste bitter and saline. The leaves and flowers are used to produce herbal preparations.

Common doses of Fumitory

Fumitory comes as dried herb, a liquid extract, and a tincture. Some experts recommend the following doses:

  • As dried herb, 2 to 4 grams taken orally three times daily.
  • As a tea, 2 to 4 grams of the dried herb steeped in hot water and taken orally three times daily.
  • As liquid extract (1: 1 in 25% alcohol), 2 to 4 milliliters taken orally three times daily.
  • As a tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol), 1 to 4 milliliters taken orally three times daily.

Uses of Fumitory

Fumitory has a long history of use in the treatment of skin problems such as eczema and acne. Its action is probably due to a general cleansing mediated via the kidneys and liver. Specifically, fumitory may help to :-

  • Constipation
  • Fluid retention
  • Heart problems related to coronary blood flow disorders
  • Galbladder and liver diseases
  • Skin eruptions

Side effects of Fumitory

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of fumitory:

  • low blood pressure symptoms, such as dizziness and weakness
  • sedation
  • slow pulse.

At high or toxic doses, fumitory can cause seizures. The herb also can increase pressure within the eye, causing glaucoma (which may lead to vision loss).


Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Don’t use fumitory while taking:

  • drugs used to lower blood pressure
  • heart drugs called beta blockers (such as Inderal)
  • heart drugs called calcium channel blockers (such as Calan and Procardia)
  • Lanoxin and other drugs that slow the heart rate.

Important points to remember

  • Don’t take fumitory if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Avoid this herb if you have glaucoma or an illness that makes you prone to seizures.
  • If you use fumitory, report light-headedness, weakness, shortness of breath, or pulse rate changes to your health care practitioner.

What the research shows

Researchers haven’t tested fumitory on people, so its safety and usefulness remain unproven.

Other names for Fumitory : –

Other names for fumitory include earth smoke, hedge fumitory, and wax dolls.

No known products containing fumitory are available commercially.

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