Wild Carrot (Daucus carota)
Identification: The carrot is an attractive little plant with lacy, pinnately compound leaves. Each leaf is composed of many finely dissected leaflets, and the entire leaf is triangular in
outline. The leaves all originate from the base of the plant and stand a foot or two tall. If left in the ground for a second growing season, carrots will produce flowers. The tiny white flowers are arranged in showy compound umbels that stand a foot or so above the leaves. The tapered taproot for which carrots are grown can be 2-36 in long, depending on the variety and the growing conditions.
Habitat: Roadsides, railroads, waste ground, open fields. Origin – Native to Europe. Widely naturalized in North America.
Family: Umbelliferae (Parsley family)
Other Names: Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s Lace, Birds Nest Weed, Devils Plague, garden carrot, bee’s nest plant, bird’s nest root.
Flowers: Summer through fall.
Parts Used: Dried aerial parts and seeds.
Constituents: Flavonoids, Daucine (an alkaloid), Volatile oil, Petroselinic acid, tannins.
Properties: Diuretic, antilithic, carminative, anti-spasmodic, stimulant.
Main Uses: The volatile oil from Wild Carrot is an active urinary antiseptic. It is useful in the treatment of cystitis and prostatitis. It has been considered a specific in the treatment of kidney stones for a long time. In the treatment of gout and rheumatism it is used in combination with other remedies to provide its cleansing diuretic action. The seeds can be used as a settling carminative agent for the relief of flatulence and colic.
Combinations: For urinary infections it may be used with Yarrow and Bearberry. For kidney stones use it with Hydrangea or Gravel Root.
Preparations and Dosages:
Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and let infuse for l0 to 15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. To prepare an infusion of the seeds, use 1/3 to 1 teaspoonful to a cup of water.
Tincture: [1:5, 60% alcohol] 20 to 60 drops, up to two times a day.
Warning: Do not confuse this plant with Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum) or Water Hemlock (Cicuta maculata) both of which are highly poisonous. Neither of these poisonous plants has the red flower in the center. Poison Hemlock has purple spots on the stem and no hairs.