Herb Information - Sundew

sundew, herb, Drosera Rotundifolia

Drosera rotundifolia Droseraceae

A small aquatic plant, sundew is now rare in the UK. It can be seen in damp peaty areas, especially in Wales, in summer. The plant eats imects. The leaves, which lie flat on the ground, are covered in fine, red, insect-trapping sticky hairs. Each hair is tipped with a small flllid-jilled gland that looks like a dewdrop, hence the plant's name.

Parts used

  • Whole plant
  • Sundew is collected from June to September when in flower.
  • It can be used fresh.
  • It can also be dried and powdered for use in infusions and tinctures.
  • Sundew is often combined with other plants that relieve coughs.


Sundew contains naphthaquinones, including an antibacterial and antispasmodic called plumbagin. It also contains flavonoids that improve the circulation by strengthening blood vessels, astringent tannins, which have antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and mucilage - which soothes inflamed mucous membranes.

Medicinal uses

Sundew tea has long been used in European traditional medicine to treat lung ailments and dry coughs.The main active constituent in sundew is a compound called plumbagin, which has an antispasmodic effect, particularly in the respiratory and intestinal tracts. This effect was demonstrated by Swiss research conducted in 1993.

The herb also exerts soothing and expectorant actions, and sundew is prescribed to treat respiratory tract illnesses such as bronchitis and pertussis (whooping cough), dry, tickly or nervous coughs and other respiratory conditions that cause the production of sticky mucus. It is often combined in syrups with other cough remedies such as thyme.

The usefulness of sundew in treating chest infections is reinforced by the fact that plumbagin inhibits the proliferation of germs such as ~ streptococcus. staphylococcus and pneumococcus, as well as certain disease-causing fungi.Externally, the juice of the raw. untreated plant has been used as an effective treatment for warts.


  • Sundew can irritate the skin and mucous membranes.
  • It may cause nausea and bloodspecked diarrhoea.
  • Do not take on an empty stomach.
  • Sundew is least likely to cause adverse effects when combined with other ingredients.
  • Do not use when pregnant or breastfeeding.


For internal use

TO TREAT bronchitis, dry, tickly or nervous coughs. whooping cough
INFUSION Add 1-2g of dried plant to 1 cup of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes and strain. Drink 3 cups a day.

For external use

TO TREAT warts
FRESH SAP Apply directly to warts once or twice a day.



Sundew can be cultivated from seed but needs to be planted in wet peat in a spot that receives full sunshine.

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