Folk Medicine

Latin name: Not known

Usable parts: Flowers, leaves, and stems – prior to flowering 3

Harvest period: July to August3

Constituents: Bitter substances, glycosides, tannins3

Action: Diuretic, anti-bacterial, laxative3

Application: Since the Himalayan balsam hasn’t had sufficient time to establish itself in the Alpine region, no reliable studies on its use in folk medicine yet exist. In its country of origin, India, it is used as an emetic which is consumed in high doses. As a tea, it has a diuretic effect, cleansing the organism.3

Risk of misidentification: Impatiens noli-tangere

Tips for Domestic Cultivation

Himalayan balsam is one of the most rapidly spreading alien species in the southern Alps. Colonising riparian forests, it displaces some of the native flora, which gives it a bad name among locals. Yet, one doesn’t have to look far to realise that humans are far more responsible for the destruction of native plant species. Covered in flowers, this touch-me-not is also an important resource for pollinators.

Since it multiplies quickly and soon takes over the whole garden, it isn’t recommended as a garden plant.

Home Use / Recipe Idea

Its distinctive purple flowers are a great garnishing for salads.

3 “Die Kräuter in meinem Garten” by Siegrid Hirsch & Felix Grünberger; 22nd Edition; Freya Verlag Gmbh
15 “Flora Helvetica–Illustrierte Flora der Schweiz” by Konrad Lauber, Gerhart Wagner, Andreas Gygax; 6th Edition, Haupt Verlag