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Common Houseleek | Hens and chicks - Sempervivum tectorum

Updated on May 17, 2016

Use and benefits

Common houseleek|hens and chicks is a plant similar to aloe. In both plants is used raw freshly pressed juice for various diseases. Common houseleek is known as a cure for earache. Fresh pressed juice helps in the treatment of ulcers, inflammation of mucosa, it improves immunity, permanently cures headaches, asthma, gout, diseases of the heart and circulatory system, increases blood pressure, flu and angina removes only in 2-3 days.

Hens and chicks is herbaceous plant, whose leaves are thick and juicy, full of liquid that is bitter and astringent taste. It grows on stony places, but can also be found on the roofs of village houses. Blooms in the summer and can be harvested throughout the year. Medicinal value of this plant comes from the contents of malic and formic acid.

Description of the plant

Common houseleek|hens and chicks is a perennial plant with a thick leaf rosette. From the middle comes floral coot covered stick with height of 10 to 30cm. Leaves at the top are red, juicy, thick and fleshy. It grows on rocks and on the roofs of houses. Hens and chicks keeps house from lightning, witches and disease. As a cure is used fresh leaf and freshly squashed juice from it. It is good to eat common houseleek for health. Proverb says that common houseleek is better to have on the house than two dogs in front of the house. Hens and chicks contains: malic and formic acid, salt, wax, mucilage, sugar, rubber and mineral ingredients.

Medicinal effects : freshly squashed juice from the leaves of common houseleek is used in the treatment of nerve distraught, epilepsy, bad dreams and fear in children. Fresh crushed leaves are used as a tool that cools and contracts, against ulcers, wounds, burns, gout, curing of corns and removal sunspots. Fresh juice is used in the treatment of bad hearing caused by the hardened yellow secretion ( hoseleek's juice dissolves it ).

Health benefits of common houseleek

This plant isn't in official use, but in Middle Ages period it enjoyed great reputation. Later it was hardly used except for rural population. Modern homeopathy started to use this plant, so once again it became known and appreciated. Freshly crushed leaves or pure juice is used as mean that cools and contracts, you can put it on wounds, ulcers, sores, blisters and sore spots caused by gout. Freshly picked leaves prepared as tea are used for Herpes Zoster, malignant skin conditions, chapped skin, hemorrhoids and worms.

In recent times fresh juice is prepared from the whole plant, either in the form of tinctures or homeopathic preparations, and some authors recommend it in purulent inflammation of the gums and inflammation of the throat, and it is even mentioned its use for uterus cancer (uteri carcinoma).

Ointment from houseleek is prepared so that in warm and liquid lard is put fresh juice from leaves and left to cool. This ointment is used to treat crushed tissue (contusions), injuries from accidents, wounds, sores, burns, insect bites, etc.

Photo credit: davef3138 / Foter / CC BY-SA

Use in folk medicine

Use in folk medicine has always been very diverse. Fresh juice is used as a remedy against bites from insects, as well as for intestinal parasites.

In cases of piercing pain of the spleen houseleek leaves are cooked in milk and mash obtained from that is put on sore spots as warmer as possible. Fresh juice is used to trim the wounds that bleed, and ointment is used for burns and wounds caused by acid.

Corns and sunspots are suppressed with aparent success with fresh houseleek juice. The juice is recommended for an enema with seizures fever. For hearing loss, caused by hardened yellow ear discharge, cap the fresh juice of leaves in the ear because it dissolves secretions.

One to two leaves of houseleek are put in a glass of water and this cold drink is used after staying half an hour, and it quenches thirst for those who have fever. Houseleek juice, mixed with a strong white wine, serves to drive the worm.

Something from the history of the sicence of medicinal herbs – very interesting place in history had common houseleek. From the 9th century were kept so called ''provisions on peasant farms'' (Capitulare de villis), which probably descend from Charlemagne and his son Louis the Pious. This provision, among other things enumerates 72 herbs whose cultivation and care are ordered. Provision ends enumeration with : ''and the farmer should have common houseleek on his house!''. They believed that houseleek protected the house from lightning. A thousand years later even today this plant is on the roofs of the cottages, barns and sheds.

Photo credit: beautifulcataya / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Books about garden, plants and herbs.

Latin for Gardeners: Over 3,000 Plant Names Explained and Explored [Hardcover]

The Wild Garden: Expanded Edition [Hardcover]

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    • FamilyBeachVaca profile image


      5 years ago

      My mother also grew these plants. Never knew of their medicinal value.

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 

      5 years ago from West Virginia

      My mother used to have barrels with holes in them just for growing these.

    • LiliLove profile image


      6 years ago

      I have these plants all around our house. My mom calls it "guardian plants" - if this is correct translation.


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