Parietary: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits

Parietary: medicinal properties, method of use and benefits


Parietaria officinalis





La parietaria, scientific name Parietaria officinalis L. belongs to the family of Urticaceae and it is infamous for all allergy sufferers. In addition to this it is a plant with many medicinal properties known since ancient times. It is a plant that is found everywhere up to 700 m of altitude.

The parietaria is a perennial herbaceous plant with a reddish stem, rich in hair with an erect or lying posture, up to 40 cm high, with a tender and fleshy consistency. The leaves are alternate, petiolate, oval and very thin that come off with great ease. On the lower page they are provided with hooked hairs. The flowers are greenish, small and inconspicuous gathered in inflorescences at the axil of the leaves. It blooms from June to October. The fruit is a black achene.


The parietary is made up of potassium, calcium and sulfur salts, flavonoids, mucilage, tannins.

Its properties are: purifying, diuretic, emollient, refreshing.


The whole aerial part collected in summer is used from the parietaria.

For its food, the whole plant is used before flowering.

After flowering only the more tender tops.

It fully preserves its properties if used fresh. Dried, in order to maintain its characteristics, it must be stored in hermetically sealed containers.


The juice, decoction or infusion of parietaria for urinary tract irritation and cystitis.

Infusion tablets or fresh plant poultices for hemorrhoids and anal fissures.

The pharmaceutical industry associates the active principles of the parietaria together with those of other plants to prepare emollient and diuretic drugs.

In the kitchen, after boiling, the whole parietaria plant is used before flowering to prepare soups or after flowering only the buds.


The parietaria is also known as vitriol grass which derives from the fact that it has the ability to perfectly clean the glasses (especially the hairy achenes), the bottom of the bottles, etc. It is also called muraiola due to the fact that its roots are anchored tenaciously to the walls, even managing to crumble them (for the same reason it is also called stonebreaker).


No contraindications are reported for the use of the parietaria.

Hops, used in brewing, are also used in folk medicine primarily as a sedative. As such, hops are included in the composition of some herbal tea blends provided for by the same National Galenic Formulary: lemon balm herbal tea and valerian herbal tea.

Biological activity

As mentioned, hops are attributed sedative properties that are exploited in herbal medicine to counteract anxiety, restlessness, nervous excitement and insomnia. These activities have been confirmed by several clinical studies, so much so that the use of the plant for the treatment of the aforementioned disorders is very widespread. Those responsible for the sedative action exerted by hops seem to be lupulone and umulone, more precisely the products deriving from their oxidation, among which 2-methyl-3-buten-2-ol stands out.
The potential anticancer activities of hops have also been investigated, which seem to be exerted by the phytoestrogens contained within it. In fact, a study conducted on the subject stated that hops can inhibit the growth of cancer cells through the estrogenic effect exerted, in fact, by the phytoestrogens present within the same plant.

Another study conducted in vitro, however, has shown that flavonoids - in particular, xanthumol - are able to exert an antiproliferative action against malignant cells of breast, ovarian and colon cancers.
Yet another study, also conducted in vitro, has instead shown that humulon is able to inhibit the development of malignant cells of acute monoblastic leukemia.
However, despite the results obtained, the aforementioned medical applications of hops have not been approved, as further and more in-depth studies are needed.

Hops against anxiety, agitation, restlessness and insomnia

Thanks to the sedative action exerted by the lupulone and dall'umulone, hops can be used as a remedy for the treatment of disorders such as anxiety, restlessness, nervousness, agitation and insomnia.
For the treatment of the aforementioned conditions, hops are taken internally in the form of liquid extract, tincture or other preparations for oral use.
When using 1: 1 liquid hop extract (using 45% V / V ethanol as extraction solvent), the usual recommended dose is approximately 0.5-2 ml of product.
When, on the other hand, the tincture is used (drug / solvent ratio 1: 5, using ethanol at 60% V / V as extraction solvent), the usually recommended dose to use is approximately 1-2 ml of product.

N.B .: when hops are used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to use defined and standardized preparations in active ingredients, since only in this way can you know the exact quantity of pharmacologically active substances you are taking.
When hop-based preparations are used, the doses of product to be taken may vary according to the quantity of active substances contained. This quantity is usually reported directly by the manufacturer on the package or on the package leaflet of the same product, therefore, it is very important to follow the instructions provided by it.
In any case, before taking any type of preparation containing hops for therapeutic purposes, it is advisable to consult your doctor in advance.

Hops in folk medicine and homeopathy

In folk medicine, hops are used internally for the treatment of inflammation of the intestinal mucosa, neuropathic pain and priapism while it is used externally to treat skin ulcers and abrasions.
Other unapproved uses of hops include its internal intake as a bitter and stomachic remedy to stimulate the appetite and the secretion of gastric juices, therefore, to promote digestive processes.
Furthermore, hops are exploited by homeopathic medicine, in which it is used as a remedy against agitation, insomnia, and spermatorrea.
Generally, the homeopathic remedy hops can easily be found in the form of granules. The dose of remedy to be taken can be different from one individual to another, also depending on the type of homeopathic dilution to be used.

N.B .: hop applications for the treatment of the aforementioned disorders are neither approved nor supported by the appropriate experimental tests, or have not passed them. For this reason, they may have no therapeutic efficacy or even be harmful to health.


It owes its name to its favorite habitat: the old walls (paries in Latin), preferably in the shade and in rich (nitrogen) soils.

Perennial herbaceous plant, up to 70 cm high.

The stem is erect, red-brown, cylindrical, hairy.

The leaves are oval, lanceolate with entire margin, alternate, petiolate, underneath equipped with microscopic hooked hairs. Unlike nettle, they are not stinging.

The flowers are tiny, unisexual, green and grouped in glomeruli at the axil of the leaves. They have a perigonium divided into four oval tepals.

In the inflorescence there are three types of flowers: the male ones, the female ones and the hermaphrodite ones. It blooms from May to October. Even during the flowering period, this plant is practically odorless.

Its range reaches up to the subtropical zones of the northern hemisphere. It is easily found on the roadsides along the dry stone walls, but also along the hedges and in the woods.

The leaves and flowers of Parietaria officinalis they contain flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol and isoramnetina [1].

Until a few years ago, this plant was commonly used to clean the inside of bottles and flasks thanks to the microscopic hairs of its leaves (hence the common name vitriol grass).

Another popular use of this plant is to soothe the itching due to contact with the stinging substance of the nettle, rubbing it without too much force on the injured part. [without source]

In popular use and alimurgia, the young spring leaves deprived of the stem and axillary flowers and boiled (10 minutes) are used like spinach. They are also excellent for fillings, omelettes, soups or as a side dish together with other wild herbs.

The plant contains tannin, flavonoids and potassium nitrate. It has diuretic, emollient, sweat, purifying and expectorant properties. In folk medicine it is recommended for crumbling and expelling kidney stones.

It causes one of the most common forms of allergy to its pollens, particularly in the Mediterranean area [2].

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In dietetics: the fruits are used in liqueurs, in pastry and as flavoring of cured meats and appetizers, stems and leaf sheaths are consumed in salads or to give flavor to broths and roasts.

Fennel, in addition to being rich in vitamins and mineral salts, are rich in active ingredients that make them particularly useful for: gout, asthenia, loss of appetite, rheumatism, flatulence, vomiting, weak eyesight.

Being rich in flavonoids or phytoestrogens, natural estrogenic substances, fennel has a balancing effect on female hormone levels, can promote the regularization of the menstrual cycle, milk secretion and prevent breast cancer. It acts on the liver and detoxification systems by regulating and improving liver function. It also acts on the nervous system by preventing and / or relieving muscle spasms.

The fruits of fennel, improperly called seeds, contain volatile oils in quantities ranging between 0.8 and 4%. Among these, the main constituents are a sweet essential oil, anethole, and a bitter substance, the phenicon. The well-known stimulating action on the motility of the stomach and intestines (carminative) is to be attributed to them, which makes fennel seeds particularly useful in the presence of meteorism and flatulence. The increase in salivary secretion is also attributed to the same essential oils.

In herbal medicine and phytopharmacy fennel is indicated against dyspepsia, stomach heaviness, flatulence, meteorism, colitis, digestive atony, cough, inflammation of the airways. It also has estrogenic, anti-fermentative, expectorant activity, and is useful against menstrual problems.

Parietaria officinalis, description of the plant

La parietaria, scientific name Parietaria officinalis L., belongs to the family of Urticaceae, has a green or reddish stem with oval and hairy leaves, the flowers are greenish, small and inconspicuous gathered in inflorescences at the axil of the leaves.

How to recognize it

It can be recognized in how much, passing close to it, it sticks to clothes.

It is a very common and very widespread herbaceous perennial plant, spontaneous that is found in fields, on old walls, among rubble, on limestone rocks

  • wall grass, because it loves to climb and grow on the walls of the houses as it needs to sink its roots in environments particularly rich in mineral salts.
  • vitriol grass because, its rough and sticky leaves are used to clean windows.

It blooms from late spring to early autumn, attracting numerous insects and provoking allergic reactions, which is why it is famous, but its many medicinal properties are often ignored.

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