Lungwort (Herb) – Pulmonaria Officinalis: Edible & Medicinal Uses of the Herb Lungwort

Table of Contents

In our previous post, we covered tree lungwort, a lichen. Today’s lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis) is an herb related to borage. Often in my herbal book collection, one will always be mentioned in the others entry. Perhaps they get confused?

Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)

While the namesake lichen is native, the herb lungwort is introduced to Ontario. The species is not listed in Haliburton Flora, but the plant arrived in recent decades as a shade tolerant groundcover. While I haven’t personally noticed any as garden escapees, someone monitoring a wetland found more than 300 along some streambed in Massachusetts.

Edible Uses of Lungwort

The young leaves can be eaten as a pot herb.

Medicinal Uses of Lungwort

Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)
Lungwort (Pulmonaria officinalis)

Lungwort is primarily said to support these body systems:

  • Digestive
  • Integumentary
  • Respiratory

Medicinal tags include Antiseptic, Astringent, Demulcent, Diuretic, Emollient, Expectorant and Mucilage. See Medicinal tag key for more information.

Common usage is the flowering herb used in a soothing tea for coughs and other mild lung complaints. If the cough comes alongside a stomach virus it should help with both systems.

Like comfrey and a handful of other common herbs, the leaves contain allantoin. It’s sometimes called spotted comfrey as a folk name. And same as comfrey, the leaves or powdered roots can be used on skin wounds.

Growing Pulmonaria Officinalis

Outside of intentional herbal gardening of lungwort, an early native lookalike/substitute for our region is Virginia bluebells (Mertensia virginica). They are both borage relations and they have similar flowers and an early spring bloom.


And the Usual Cautions:

1) Most medicinal herbs, if edible, are meant to be eaten in moderation, even sparingly. Some require extra preparation. Tannins are toxic if consumed in excess.

2) People can be allergic or sensitive to nearly any plant; try new herbs one at a time at your own risk. For instance, saponins commonly cause stomach upset.

3) For medicinal use, I must recommend receiving a diagnosis and working with a reputed health care provider. I generally do not post specific treatments and dosages because I think that is best between you and your health care provider, and ideally monitored.

4) Anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding new food items to their diet.

5) Many plants have look-a-likes, and sometimes they are poisonous.

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Indian Herbalogy of North America: The Definitive Guide to Native Medicinal Plants and Their Uses

The Herb Bible

The Herb Book: The Most Complete Catalog of Herbs Ever Published (Dover Cookbooks)

A Harvest of Herbs

Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: 550 Herbs and Remedies for Common Ailments

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