Houseleek

Sempervivum

Also known as liveforever, Jupiter’s beard, and hen and chicks.

The story…

Houseleek probably originated in Macaronesia, a group of islands in western Europe and Africa. It is a very drought- and cold-resistant plant, that requires almost no care to be cultivated. It thrives in well-drained soils in a temperate climate. The Romans thought it could ward off lightning, hence one of its names: “Jupiter’s beard”.

Uses

Inflammations

When applied externally, the houseleek soothes burns (including sunburn), insect bites, nettle stings, redness or irritation, as well as haemorrhoids and phlebitis. The juice contained in its leaves gives a sensation of cold, which, when applied as a poultice, lotion or ointment, soothes the pain of inflammation. It has antiseptic properties and prevents engorgement.

Superficial wounds

Houseleek helps to heal wounds: it has astringent virtues, which limit bleeding by tightening the tissues, and prevents the proliferation of bacteria. It is useful for minor skin or mouth problems.

Preparation

Cataplasm: crush the fresh leaves and apply to the irritated area.

Lotion: extract the juice and dilute ½ cup in one litre of water. Apply to the irritated area.

Precautions

In case of persistent symptoms or if you have any doubts, consult a doctor.

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