The Greek physician Theophrastus (3rd century BC) named the plant ánemos (= wind) in reference to the shaggy little fruits that are dispersed by the wind. Pharmaceutically, it was formerly called ’Herba venti’. The species name pulsatilla derives from the Latin pulsare, meaning ’to ring or to sound’, in reference to the bell shape of the flowers. The old English common name was originally ‘pass flower’, adopted from the French ‘passe fleur’. Gerarde changed it to ‘pasque flower’ after the French ‘pasque’ (Easter). Hippocrates used the windflower to trigger menstruation and to treat states of hysterical fear. The ancient physicians attributed special potency to plants with hanging blossoms and, in accordance with the doctrine of signatures, prescribed them for patients who ”let their heads hang” (depression, melancholy). Matthiolus recommended windflower against quartan malaria and pestilence. In 1564, Lonicerus wrote: “The juice sprinkled in the nose purifies the brain. The root, when chewed, drives out phlegm. It purifies the foully stinking ulcer and heals rotten flesh.” Later, the windflower was extolled as a remedy for eye complaints such as cataracts and amaurosis and in the 18th century, several dissertations were written on this subject.
The windflower is a perennial with a strong rootstock, from which
densely-haired flower stalks grow to between 20cm and 40cm in height in
the Spring. They bear three fused, hairy bracts that appear tattered in
thin strips. The stalk generally bears a single flower with six
bell-shaped, violet or reddish petals that turn in toward each other.
They are silkily haired on the outside and rolled back at the tips.
Numerous yellow stamens grace the interior of the bell. Long, small,
hairy achenes (one seeded fruit) grow from the numerous ovaries with
long, threadlike pistils; the achenes are carried away by the wind. The
basal, triply to quadruply pinnate leaves with white, tufty hair appear
after the plant has flowered.
The windflower blossoms from April to June.
The windflower is native to Central and Eastern Europe and as fareast
as Siberia. It thrives on dry, sunny, infertile meadows and slopes in
sparse pine forests with sandy or limy soils on plains and in
elevations up to 1000metres. It disappears at once if the ground is
fertilised. It cannot survive on fertilised ground. In Switzerland,
all species of Pulsatilla are protected by law.
A.Vogel/Bioforce uses a homeopathic dilution in accordance with the
current Homöopathisches Arzneibuch (HAB) (New Official German
Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia) produced from the fresh, whole Pulsitilla
pratensis plants gathered at blossoming. The potentising is carried out
by shaking manually immediately after the primary tincture is produced,
in order to prevent any deterioration of the effective agents.