Mouse-Ear Hawkweed - Useful Herb for Kidneys

Mouse-Ear Hawkweed

Hieracium pilosella (Pilosella officinarum) Asteraceae/Compositae

Common in Europe, North Africa and Asia, mouse-ear hawkweed is a tiny herbaceous plant with crawling shoots, or runners. Its elongated, oval leaves are coated in white hairs and form a rosette around the base of the plant. From May to September, when the plant is in bloom, dandelion-like flowers appear at the tips of the almost leafless stems.

Parts used

  • Whole plant
  • The plants are collected in their wild state just after blooming. They are tied in bunches and left to dry in the open air.
  • Mouse-ear hawkweed is used to make infusions, powders and dry or liquid extracts. It is also found in a number of pharmaceutical products.


All parts of the plant contain umbelliferone, a coumarin, which has an antibiotic effect, flavonoids, which are diuretic, and phenols substances with antiseptic and antiinflammatory actions.

Medicinal uses

French studies in 1999 demonstrated the diuretic effects of the plant's flavonoids. Because it can help the body to eliminate excess fluid and waste, the plant is an effective treatment for swelling caused by water retention, especially in the legs and lower part of the body.

Mouse-ear hawkweed is also reputed to possess anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It is sometimes applied to wounds, and used to treat respiratory complaints such as asthma and bronchitis, as well as to ease inflammation in the kidneys and urinary tract.

Umbelliferone is known to help stimulate the flow of bile from the gall bladder, helping to keep the digestive system healthy, and research has shown that it also has an antibiotic effect. And in 1993, American scientists discovered that umbelliferone, as well as other coumarin derivatives, can help to fight off the HIV virus and it is thought that this ability might be harnessed for combating other types of viral infection.


For internal use

TO TREAT water retention, swelling in the lower limbs INFUSION Put 5-10g of dried plant into 1 litre of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes, then strain. Drink 1 cup in the morning and at midday.

CAPSULES (200mg dry extract) Take 2 capsules in the morning and at midday with a large glass of water.

LIQUID EXTRACT Take 30 drops, three times a day, diluted in a small glass of water.



Mouse-ear hawkweed can be grown from seed planted in spring. The plant thrives in any well-drained soil, in a sunny or lightly shaded spot. Confine to a wild or informal part of the garden.


No toxic side effects have been reported to date, even after prolonged use.

Do not exceed the recommended dosage.


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