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Salad Burnet

A picture containing plant, flower

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Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor)

Salad Burnet (Sanguisorba minor), a perennial herbaceous plant with green leaves and red flowers, can grow to 1–3 feet in height. It is native to the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, and temperate regions of Europe, although it has also been naturalized in much of North America (Ceccanti et al., 2019). It can often be seen growing wild in meadows and untended fields.  

Historical Use

Excerpt from Gerard’s 1633 Herball, or, Generall Historie of Plantes. This book can be found in the John R. Martin Rare Book Room in Hardin Library.

Salad Burnet has been used as a food source, as the young leaves are edible and reportedly taste like cucumber. Because of this, Salad Burnet leaves are often used in mixed salads or to flavor beverages. As mentioned in Gerard’s 1633 Herball, or, Generall Historie of Plantes, preparations of Salad Burnet root have been used externally to treat wounds, as well as internally to treat dysentery (bloody flux) and menstruation. In addition, leaves of Salad Burnet have been used to augment wine, “to which it yeeldeth a certaine grace in the drinking”(Gerard et al., 1633). 

Current Use

Salad Burnet leaves are still used as a food source for both livestock and humans. Traditional preparations of the root have been used as a styptic or antihemorrhagic agent, due to its ability to aid in clotting. There has also been some evidence that extracts of Salad Burnet may play a role in cancer treatment, through inhibition of cancer cell migration (Cuccioloni et al., 2012). 

Latest Research


Ceccanti, C., Landi, M., Rocchetti, G., Miras Moreno, M. B., Lucini, L., Incrocci, L., . . . Guidi, L. (2019). Hydroponically Grown Sanguisorba minor Scop.: Effects of Cut and Storage on Fresh-Cut Produce. Antioxidants (Basel), 8(12). doi:10.3390/antiox8120631 

Cuccioloni, M., Bonfili, L., Mozzicafreddo, M., Cecarini, V., Eleuteri, A. M., & Angeletti, M. (2012). Sanguisorba minor extract suppresses plasmin-mediated mechanisms of cancer cell migration. Biochim Biophys Acta, 1820(7), 1027-1034. doi:10.1016/j.bbagen.2012.02.002 

Gerard, J., Dodoens, R., Whitaker, R., Norton, J., Payne, J., Priest, R., . . . Davies, R. (1633). The herball, or, Generall historie of plantes. London: Printed by Adam Islip Joice Norton and Richard Whitakers.