Dan, a medical herbalist, adopts Pellitory of the Wall

Dan's Intro: I am introducing my own adopted herb here. I will learn lots myself and you can see some of the topics I want to explore below with some of the headings. I hope you see some as although is is common about rubble I had never noticed it before. There is a comments section below.

Why did I choose this herb?

I chose Pelllitory of the Wall. It wasn't like I've always thought about this herb. On the initial herbwalk with this project I saw it growing all over the ancient walls and car park gravel at the Adam and Eve pub. In deciding which herb to choose I though yup it has to be Pellitory of the wall. I know very little about it, I have a tincture in my medicine cabinet already as it deemed good for stones (I wasn't sure for gall or kidney). When we looked in the plant identification book it was part of the Nettle family. That Clinched it for me as I love this plant family. I am a medical herbalist and will find out all I can about this herb.

Pellitory of the Wall is a weird name for a plant

Gabrielle Hatfield (Hatfield's Herbal, p262), says it may be called Pelitory after the Irish name of Peniterry. So named as the crushed leaves have Sulphur and Potasium Nitrate smells which are said to scare off the devil.  It  helped young boys ward off the wroth of their teachers, I must try this! The 'of the wall' bit is easier....it grows on walls.


It's an odd name and It don't think many people even see it, let alone find out what it is called. It makes me think of Hogwarts with it being used in potions against the dark arts. I'm glad I adopted you Parietaria (the latin name). Are you Parietaria judaica or Parietaria officinalis?


In looking up Pellitory of the Wall in Mrs Grieve's 'A Modern Herbal'.  I have found there is a chamomile like plant called Pellitory. It's confusing eh? However my adopted herb is part of the nettle family. Her book is a an amazing reference book. Its says, p624, that Parietaria comes from the latin paries meaning wall.  So there it is, if you could know latin the names of most plants would be self explanitory.

Artistic Fun with my adopted plant

This pic was a quicky at a Plants for Life Talk in Bungay, Amazing red stems.


I have wanted to do stencilling using plant inspired shapes for a long time. After adopting my herb it came to me how suitable Pellitory of the Wall is for this. It grows on walls so Banksy style tagging would be be perfect. I have found it hard to create a suitable stencil but I have found some good walls arround Norwich. Look out for one. 

Medicinal Uses for my adopted plant

There are several used for every herb. The main interest for me is the use for stones in the bladder and kidney. Mrs Grieve in 'A Modern Herbal', p624, says it has the followoing properties: diuretic (makes you wee) , demulcent (makes things slimy and soothes) and refrigerant (cooling).  I have this medicine in my medicine cupboard and I am interested in testing this out. We are lucky to have modern medicine for sure but I think is still a place for this herb. 

Dan's thoughts about adopting this plant

It is a bit presumptious to adopt a herb without the concent of the herb, also possible a little weird to anthropomorphacise the plants (think of the plants as if they were human). Do comment below with your views on this. My view is that I was wondering which herb to adopt and when doing a herb walk, suddenly thought..."thats the one". But if I could speak to Pellitory of the Wall and it could communicate back, would it want to be adopted?


This plants likes rubble and we humans have a lot of rubbly spaces and our modern life in a way provides ample opportunities for Pelittory to thrive. Now I look now with my fresh eyes, I see it everywhere, in the derilict areas in corners and by fences. I could think it was lonely and forgotten and therefore want to adopt it, or I could think it's happy being ignored and mightr rather I kept quiet about it. 


I actually have some herbal medicine in tincture (plants in alcohol) form of this herb and a real crime, never knew the plant or what it looked like. So another reason I am pleased to have adopted this herb is to remedy that. I would feel better if I had an ally rather than a grumpy adopted herb. I can only think to sit next to it and ask it......can't hurt. Perhaps you will see me in the Adam and Eve pub car park, or perhaps you can ask P of the Wall for me. 

Remedy from a Norfolk Gentleman's Notebook.

Taken from Julie Bruton- Seal & Matthew Seal's book 'Hedgerow Medicine'


1) Are there still any Sheepeside relatives of this man in Norfolk?

2) What is Dropsy?

3) Great spellings....in 1664.


Please add your comments about these questions or anything else below. 


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  • online (Monday, September 19 16 01:39 pm BST)

    Fantastic website. A lot of useful information here. I'm sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your sweat!

  • online (Monday, September 19 16 01:38 pm BST)

    Fantastic website. A lot of useful information here. I'm sending it to a few pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thank you in your sweat!

  • Alex (Sunday, September 02 12 03:18 pm BST)

    Trying to find out where to buy 8 or 16 oz
    Of Pellitory of the wall,..Do have a name of a selleter...Thanks...Alex

  • Jane Robinson (Monday, May 28 12 12:32 pm BST)

    Dan, I've thoroughly enjoyed reading your review and as a fellow Herbalist have to confess that i had also overlooked this plant (maybe it would have wanted you to keep quiet, but I dont think so!)
    but am going to add the tincture to my dispensary and have a patient in mind who i'm sure it will help, so I thank you! Jane Robinson.