A power herb

The moment Burnet is put in the mouth it creates a burning sensation so you will be wide awake. Perhaps its name (‘Pimpinella’) really did derive from the word ‘pepper’.


People have been fascinated by Burnet – that’s clear from the wide variety of names for this plant: Lesser Burnet, Bouc Goat, Burnet saxifrage, Saxifrage root, Bennet, Bipinella. The botanical name ‘Pimpinella saxifraga’ is derived from Latin. ‘Bipinula’ refers to the bipinnate lower leaf shape. ‘Saxifraga’ means ‘rock splitting’ and refers to the place where it usually grows among rocks and stones.

In brief

Plant family: Carrot (Apiaceae)
Flowering season: May to August
Harvest: For the roots: March to April or September to October
Key feature: Strong odor of ‘goat’
Grows here: Meadows, mats, open woodland, rocky mountain slopes

Of historic interest

Burnet is for Native Americans what Ginseng was for the Chinese or Taiga root for the Russians: namely, a renewer of life and essential tonic. Our ancestors in the Middle Ages recommended chewing Burnet and garlic for sweet-smelling breath and to ward off the Plague. Maybe its odor beat the epidemic into retreat?


Useful for herbalists  

Burnet keeps the human metabolism in good working order – from the tiniest cell to the whole organism. It provides a boost for those suffering from exhaustion, fatigue and chronic illness, and has a warming effect for chills affecting the stomach and pelvis.

What the doctors say

Burnet also has a good reputation in conventional medicine. The keywords here are: anti-inflammatory, expectorant, promoting the production of saliva, anti-irritant, stimulating the immune system, boosting resilience and revitalizing. It is also good for catarrh in the upper respiratory tract.  Medication for laryngitis, bronchitis, asthma, coughs, sore throat, hoarseness, tonsillitis, for reinforcing the body’s own immune system and preventing and treating influenza.

Why is it contained in the Ricola 13-herb blend?

As an expectorant and for relieving irritation, Burnet is soothing for the upper respiratory tracts.