Pulsatilla, also known as pasque flower, is a genus of deciduous perennial plants found in North America and Eurasia. The genus contains 30 different species, and their preferred growing habitat is among tall prairie grasses and in meadows. The name “pasque flower” comes from the plants’ early blooms, which appear near the Passover holiday, often before the winter snows have melted. Other names for Pulsatilla include wind flower, prairie crocus, and Easter flower.
In appearance, Pulsatilla consists of deep purple bell-shaped flowers with orange centers. The flowers are solitary, and covered with fine, silky hairs. The leaves are also covered in silky hairs, and are finely dissected, making for very attractive foliage.
Pulsatilla has been used for medicinal purposes in Europe and North America for centuries. Native Americans used the plant to help induce childbirth, and it has also been used in traditional herbalism to treat various reproductive problems. Modernly, the plants in this genus are known for their use in homeopathy.
Homeopathic Pulsatilla remedies are used to treat diseases accompanied by a greenish-yellow discharge. A liquid made from the pulp of the entire plant is most commonly used for this purpose. A Pulsatilla homeopathic remedy may be prescribed for colds, sinusitis, coughs accompanied by thick phlegm, eye infections, indigestion, heartburn, menstrual problems, menopause, mood swings, and depression.
In homeopathy, remedies are often prescribed based on the personality of the patient. Pulsatilla is believed to be a suitable medicine for individuals with a feminine, warm-hearted, and meek personality, who rarely get angry and prefer to be peacemakers. Other traits of the Pulsatilla personality include being easily moved to tears, having deep feelings and compassion for others, and having many close friends.
It is also believed that individuals who require a Pulsatilla homeopathic remedy will find their condition worsens at night, when they become too hot, and after eating greasy, rich, or fatty foods. The condition should improve when the individual is cool, out in the fresh air, crying or expressing deep emotions, or performing light exercise. However, these are only guidelines and a qualified homeopath should be consulted before trying to self-treat with Pulsatilla.
Pulsatilla is also highly toxic, and should never be taken without medical supervision. When used correctly, it can have positive medicinal benefits, but if used excessively or abused, it can lead to diarrhea, convulsions, vomiting, or even coma. The plant can produce toxins which slow the human heart, leading to the above side effects. Always consult a qualified medical, herbal, or homeopathic practitioner before using Pulsatilla on your own.