- Position: full sun or partial shade
- Soil: any moist but well-drained soil
- Rate of growth: average
- Flowering period: June to September
- Hardiness: hardy annual
Dainty white summer flower-heads, which look like fine lacework, hover in a frothy haze above the finely cut, green foliage. Often used by florists to add an ethereal, romantic feel to bouquets, the flowers are also loved by many beneficial insects including butterflies and hoverflies. Finches will also find the autumn seed heads attractive. This annual also looks a delight in the garden, and has quite an architectural feel. Stake plants as they start to shoot upwards with twiggy hazel stems for support.
Winner of an Royal Horticultural Society, Award of Garden Merit for reliability and good performance.
Part of the seed range produced by Mr Fothergill’s Seeds in partnership with the RHS.
A combination preparation containing bishop’s weed was evaluated for efficacy and adverse reactions in ophthalmic conditions. The preparation was effective in acute conjunctivitis and dacrocystitis, as well as in postcataract surgery and conjunctival xerosis, with no adverse reactions reported.5
Bishop’s weed is commercially available as a single entity or herbal blend in numerous dosage forms including capsules, liquids, and powders. Internet sources list the product primarily marketed as “ajwain” and as an overall panacea. One herbal blend prescribes 1 or 2 capsules (200 mg/capsule) with a full glass of water for GI discomfort. The prescription drug methoxsalen, as documented by various Internet resources, was developed from bishop’s weed (Ammi majus Linn) and is used to treat several skin conditions. Use of a 10% topical cream twice daily has been supported by a clinical trial in adults with neuropathic pain.48
Avoid use. Documented adverse effects. Bishop’s weed was listed as 1 of 14 indigenous medicinal plants used for abortion in some districts of India in 1987, and it may also cause congenital defects. The same review article also documents a risk of human fetotoxicity as observed in rat teratogenicity studies.
Caution may be warranted in patients taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or antiplatelet medications due to platelet aggregation inhibition by bishop’s weed.
Hypersensitivity to any of the components of bishop’s weed. Avoid use during pregnancy and lactation due to documented adverse effects.
Alcohol and aqueous extracts of bishop’s weed demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects in rats comparable with aspirin and phenylbutazone.6 Competitive antagonism of histamine H1 receptors has been demonstrated in guinea pig tracheal chains.37 The mechanism of action is associated with carvacrol and not due to anticholinergic or beta-adrenergic stimulatory effects.38
The pinewood nematode Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, which is responsible for pine wilt disease, causes substantial ecological and economical damage in Korean forests. Bishop’s weed essential oils have nematicidal activities against the pinewood nematode. The exact mechanism of action is unclear.23, 24
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