Parietaria L. – Monograph

 

Order: Rosales Bercht. & J.Presl

Family: Urticaceae Juss.

Tribe: Parietarieae

 

According to [WFO], 15 accepted species are currently recognized within the Parietaria genus. They are all herbs, annual or perennial, sparsely to densely pubescent with hairs on all parts of the plant. Though belonging to the Urticaceae family, they are not endowed with stinging trichomes. [WFO]

Parietaria officinalis L. and Parietaria judaica L.

Primary functionality:

Mercury [Culpeper]

Secondary functionality:

 

Nature:

Cold and dry, and also cold and damp in a lesser degree

Taste:

Bland, slightly salty and slightly astringent

Tropism:

Organs of the digestive tract (liver, spleen, intestines), kidneys and urinary tract, prostate and uterus, blood and skin

Humoral actions1:

Eliminates excess heat (yellow bile), prepares perverted phlegm and melancholy for expulsion and eliminates them, supplements correct phlegm; dispels tension stagnation and tones the Kidney tension

Tissue states:

Heat excess and stagnation, phlegm excess and stagnation with possible melancholic components, phlegm deficiency, tension stagnation, kidney tension deficiency

Clinical actions:

Antalgic, antiarthritic, antiasthmatic, antigout, antirheumatic, aperient, cooling/refreshing, demulcent (slightly), diuretic, draining (connective tissue), emmenagogue, expectorant, laxative, lithontriptic, purifying, sialagogue, renal trophorestorative, vulnerary

Used parts:

Aerial parts, roots

 

Description

The common name of pellitory-of-the-wall refers collectively both to Parietaria officinalis L. and to Parietaria judaica L. (syn. Parietaria diffusa Merlet & W.D.J.Koch, also known as spreading pellitory), very similar to each other macroscopically and used almost interchangeably in medicine. [WinstonWeb]

Pellitory-of-the-wall is considered an astersive2 and astringent plant, whose nature is cold and dry and, to a lesser extent, also cold and damp; according to Galen, in fact, “it has an astersive and constricting virtue with a certain frigid humidity” [Giannelli, Mattioli].

It has a long history of use as a diuretic and trophorestorative plant for the kidneys, useful for treating diseases of the urinary tract. [WinstonWeb]

According to Maude Grieve (1931), pellitory-of-the-wall is one of the best remedies for urinary stones, gravel, dropsy, stranguria and other disorders of the urinary system. According to the authoress, its action on urinary stones is probably more marked than that of any other “simple” known to her [Grieve].

In fact, pellitory-of-the-wall has a more complex aperient action, being able to resolve the “oppilations” (obstructions) of the liver, spleen and kidneys as well as to cleanse intestine and uterus. [Durante, Mattioli]

Besides being a diuretic and lithontriptic plant, pellitory-of-the-wall is also able to stimulate the drainage of the connective tissue fluids, and to induce the renal expulsion of toxins that may be found in this tissue. In this way, it also promotes the expulsion of those metabolites, among others, which are responsible of any inflammatory or irritative conditions that can even be the cause of dermatological affections. [Iozzi]

Pellitory-of-the-wall is remarkably effective in the treatment of all inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract (cystitis, urethritis, nephritis, pyelitis), and the prostate. [Iozzi, Valnet]

According to Dioscorides, the plant juice can be used as a gargle in case of throat inflammation and, drunk in the amount of three tablespoons3 it cures “old cough”. In addition, it calms earache when it is instilled into the ears together with Rose Oil. [Mattioli] In popular medicine, the decoction of the leaves was drunk in case of bronchial and pulmonary affections. [Peroni].

Fresh leaves can be chewed as a sialagogue. [Peroni]

Externally, the herb has shown vulnerary, antiseptic and analgesic activities, and it can be used as a topical remedy for female inflammations or toothache and as a vulnerary on wounds and bedsores [Peroni, WinstonWeb]. According to Dioscorides, a plaster made with the plant heals “the shingles, the burns of the fire; the buttocks abscesses, […] the tumors, and the inflammation” (see [Mattioli]).

The poultice obtained by pounding the fresh plant can be used for the treatment of boils, and the ointment prepared by mixing the cooked herb with lard or other fats is effective in case of burns, gout, fistulas and especially in the case of hemorrhoids. [Grieve, Peroni]

 

Properties

Temperature and taste

Pellitory-of-the-wall is cold and dry and, to a lesser degree, also cold and humid [Giannelli]. According to Galen, “it has an astersive and constricting virtue with a certain frigid humidity” (see [Mattioli])
  Its taste is bland (due to mucilage), slightly saline (due to the contained salts, among which particularly important is potassium nitrate, which can even be extracted from the plant) and slightly astringent. It is also weakly aromatic (coumarins are mainly perceived).

 

Signature

Primary signature: Mercury. [Culpeper]

 

Tissue phases

P. officinalis: 5 (necrosis), 6 (disorganization). Its profile is hyper-γ and hypo-γ-euglobulinic, and this indicates a chronicity in the pathology. [Dewit-Leunis]

 

Actions and indications

Humoral actions

Insipid (due to mucilage), styptic and saline plant, it is refreshing (and therefore eliminates excess heat), prepares the perverse phlegm and melancholy for expulsion and subsequently expels them. It eliminates both accumulated and thickened phlegm, but simultaneously supplements  correct phlegm (demulcent action). It dispels tension stagnation (spasmolytic, pain reliever) and tonifies Kidneys tension (Kidney trophorestorative).

 

Tropism

The tropism of pellitory-of-the-wall is complex: the plant, in fact, acts on the digestive organs (liver, spleen, intestine), on the kidneys and urinary tract, on the prostate and uterus, as well as on the blood and, secondarily, on the skin.

 

Clinical action

Pellitory-of-the-wall is antalgic, antiarthritic, antiasthmatic, antigout, antirheumatic, aperient, cooling/refreshing, demulcent (slightly), diuretic, draining (connective tissue), emmenagogue, expectorant, laxative, lithontriptic, purifying, sialagogue, renal trophorestorative, vulnerary. [Durante, Grieve, Iozzi, Mattioli, Peroni, SchwabeIndia, WinstonWeb]

 

Principal actions:

  • Aperient [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli, Grieve, SchwabeIndia]:
    • Resolves obstructions of the liver, spleen and kidneys [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante]
      • Liter.: “The decoction of the herb opens the oppilations of the liver, spleen, & kidneys” [Durante].
    • Laxative [Durante, Grieve, SchwabeIndia]
    • Diuretic [Durante, Mattioli, Grieve, Peroni, SchwabeIndia, WinstonWeb]
      • Liter.: “The juice of the leaves, and of the stems drunk in the amount of three ounces, admirably causes urine; the herb heated on a hot tile, and sprinkled with Malvasia, and applied to the pubis helps to provoke the urine, and the stones.” [Mattioli].
    • Emmenagogue [Durante, Giannelli]

 

  • Depurative [Peroni], draining of connective tissue [Iozzi]
  • Kidney trophorestorative [WinstonWeb]
  • Sialagogue (fresh leaves chewed) [Peroni]
  • Antalgic, antispasmodic [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli, Peroni]
  • Antirheumatic [Dewit-Leunis, Iozzi, Peroni]
    • Liter.: “It is also helpfully used in enemas, which are made for colic pains, and pains of the matrix. The juice kept warm in the mouth mitigates the pain of the teeth.” [Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “relieves uterine, colic, & kidney pains.” [Durante]
    • Liter.: “Drunk in the amounts of three ounces for eight or ten days, twice a day, it opens the oppilation of the liver, & the spleen, causes the urine, & the menstruation: mitigates the pain of the matrix” [Durante]
    • Liter.: “mitigate pain in the back, sides, or bowels, proceeding from wind, stoppage of urine, the gravel, or stone” [Culpeper-Sibley]

 

Specific indications

General

  • Rheumatism [Dewit-Leunis, Peroni, WinstonWeb]

 

Liver and gallbladder

  • Jaundice [Peroni]
  • Gallstones [Valnet]

 

Urinary system

  • Kidney and bladder stones [Culpeper-Sibley, Grieve, Mattioli, Peroni, SchwabeIndia, WinstonWeb], gravel [Grieve]
  • Painful urination [WinstonWeb], stranguria [Culpeper-Sibley, Grieve, SchwabeIndia]
    • Liter.: “The herb together with watercress, boiled in wine & applied to the bladder causes the urine, & mitigates colic pain: despite any oppilation.” [Durante]
  • Kidney infections (urinary tract) [WinstonWeb]
  • Pains of the urinary tract (mitigate spasms) [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Giannelli, Mattioli]
  • Dropsy [Culpeper-Sibley, Grieve, SchwabeIndia]

 

Respiratory system

  • Bronchial and pulmonary troubles in general [Culpeper-Sibley, Peroni].
  • Asthma [Culpeper-Sibley, Peroni]
  • Dry cough, chronic cough [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “Drunk in the amount of three tablespoons4, it cures old cough” [Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “Its decoction made in wine, or in water tempered with honey, and sugar, heals old or dry cough. The herb powdered, given to cattle to drink, is useful against their cough, & difficulty in breathing.” [Durante]

 

Sex organs

  • MALE: prostate inflammation [Iozzi]
  • FEMALE: dysmenorrhea [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli].

 

External use

  • As a vulnerary on wounds (especially the recent ones) [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli, Peroni, WinstonWeb], bedsores [WinstonWeb] or bruised ligaments, tendons and muscles [Culpeper-Sibley]
    • Liter.: “the fresh [plant] half pounded, and tied over the wound for three continuous days, heals it so well, that no other medicine is needed.” [Mattioli; simil. Durante]
    • Liter.: “With bean curd, mallow, & flour cooked in olive oil, & wine, it heals torn nerves, & cut muscles.” [Durante]
    • Liter.: “A poultice made hereof with mallows, and boiled in wine, mixed with wheat, bran, bean-flowers, and some oil, being applied warm to any bruised sinew, tendon, or muscle, doth, in a very short time, restore it to its original strength.” [Culpeper-Sibley]
  • Inflammation of the female genitals [Peroni].
  • Toothache (juice heated and held in the mouth) [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli, Peroni]
  • Shingles (Dioscoride) [Durante, Mattioli].
  • Burnings and scaldings [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli].
  • Pus collections, more or less delimited; anal fistulas; boils [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Grieve, Mattioli]; as a poultice or ointment [Grieve, Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “heals all the phlegmons5 in their beginning, and likewise during their growth, up to the state, and especially the hot ones. Which it also does in the start of boils, and other tumors smeared on it. The juice distilled in the ears is useful for the purulent pains of those.” [Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “In the form of an ointment he tells us it is capital for piles and a remedy for gout and fistula.” [Grieve]
  • Swelling and inflammation [Durante, Mattioli]
  • To soothe for the hemorrhoids or gout pains (as a liniment made with juice mixed with lard or other fat, or prepared by cooking the plant in such fats) [Culpeper-Sibley, Grieve]
  • Inflammation and ulcers of the throat (plant juice or decoction used as a gargle) [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli]
    • Liter.: “The juice gargled with honey, heals inflammation, & ulcers of throat.” [Durante]
  • Earache (juice of the plant instilled into the ears alone or together with Rose oil) [Culpeper-Sibley, Durante, Mattioli]
  • Tinnitus (juice of the plant instilled into the ears) [Culpeper-Sibley]

 

Used parts and collection

The leaves are the part most often used; they are typically harvested from May to October and dried quickly in the shade [Peroni]. Gabriele Peroni also points out the use of roots, to be harvested in spring and autumn. [Peroni]

 

Preparation and dosage

The leaves can be used as a poultice. The juice of the fresh plant, transformed into a fluid syrup, stimulates the kidneys in the same way as the infusion of the dry plant [Grieve]. According to Castore Durante, “three ounces of the juice drunk admirably causes urine: but it must be clarified” [Durante].

The water distilled from the plant has roughly the same properties as the fresh plant: “The WATER distilled from it, is valid for all the aforementioned things”. [Durante]

Pellitory-of-the-wall can be used dry for decoctions and infusions, or fresh for tinctures.

 

Contraindications and side effects

N/A

 

Homeopathy (Pariet)

The Parietaria genus was not subject to any homeopathic proving. Only Jan Scholten and Henry Clarke report some information originally published by Robert Thomas Cooper.

 

Mind

Pariah, outcast.

Dreaming of another world.

Dream: nightmare, being buried alive in the midst of ruins.

 

Body

Nose: hayfever; allergy.

Throat: sore; wheezing.

Lungs: dry cough, shortness of breath.

Rectum: pains of piles.

Urinary: renal calculus, kidney stones, stone, gravel in kidney or bladder.

Female: labour pains, menses absent, scanty.

Skin: hard, dry; ulcers, fistulas. [Clarke, Scholten]

 

References

[Clarke]

John Henry Clarke, “A Dictionary of Practical Materia Medica” (1902)

[Culpeper-Sibley]

Nicholas Culpeper and Ebenezer Sibley, “English Physician and complete Herbal”, London (1789)

[Dewit-Leunis]

Serge Dewit, Jean-Claude Leunis, “Trattato Teorico e Pratico di Fitoterapia Ciclica”, Nova Scripta Srl Edizioni, Genova (2018)

[Durante]

Castore Durante, “Herbario nuovo” (1667)

[Giannelli]

Luigi Giannelli, “Medicina Tradizionale Mediterranea”, Ed. Tecniche Nuove (2006)

[Grieve]

M. Grieve, “A Modern Herbal” (1931)

[Iozzi]

Simone Iozzi, “Fitopratica”, Ed. Giunti (1991)

[Peroni]

Gabriele Peroni, “Driope – ovvero il patto tra l’uomo e la natura”, Muove Ipsa editore (2012)

[Scholten]

Jan Scholten, “Wonderful plants”, Stichting Alonissos (2013)

[SchwabeIndia]

https://www.schwabeindia.com/dilutions-potencies/3171-parietaria.html (Retrieved: 2022-04-22)

[Valnet]

Jean Valnet, “Fitoterapia – Guarire con le piante”, Giunti Editore (2019); orig.: “Phytothérapie

[WinstonWeb]

David Winston at https://www.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=2359965834123706&id=775318895921749 (Retrieved: 2019-07-12)

 

Notes

1. See Notes on humors.

2. Able to both clean and dry.

3. The original text mentions a “ciato”, an old Italian unit of measurement that corresponds to slightly less than 5 cl, or roughly to 3 tablespoons.

4. See note 3.

5. Acute inflammations of the lax and cellulo-adipose tissues interposed between the various anatomical planes or around the various organs.

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