Round-lobed Hepatica Facts and Uses

Round-lobed Hepatica Facts and Uses

I came across this little three-lobed leaf while out bowhunting this past weekend. It’s bright green color stood out to me amidst the brown fallen leaves. Round-lobed hepatica, also commonly called liverleaf or roundleaf hepatica, is a member of the buttercup family and is known for retaining its green color throughout the cold winters in Minnesota. ┬áIn spring and early summer this plant has a beautiful flower, which can be pinkish, lavender-blue, or white.

Round-lobed Hepatica

Hepatica nobilis var. obtusa (Hepatica americana, Hepatica triloba)

round-lobed hepatica

Round-lobed Hepatica leaf

Round-lobed Hepatica Facts

  • This member of the buttercup family grows well in a habitat of dry, rocky, shaded woods.
  • This plant prefers semi-rich, well-drained soils.
  • It is one of the first plants to flower in early spring.
  • Hepatica leaves are poisonous in large doses.

Round-lobed Hepatica Uses

  • Due to the liver-like shape of its leaves, this plant and the closely related sharp-lobed hepatica were formerly used to treat liver disorders. Unfortunately, this line of reasoning did not yield effective results.
  • Native Americans used hepatica in tea form to treat coughs, sore throats, achey muscles, and fevers (as well as liver complaints).
  • The leaves and flowers of hepatica may be used as an astringent; which can shrink or constrict bodily tissues. Witch hazel is an example of another plant used for this purpose. Externally applied astringents can dry and harden body tissue, and are often used after face washing.
  • Hepatica also possesses diuretic properties. Diuretics increase the rate of urination.
  • Hepatica leaves can be used as a demulcent. An example of a demulcent in use is honey used for a sore throat; it acts as a soothing balm over a mucous membrane.
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