The healing power of large beavernel

Giant beavernel belongs to the umbelliferae. The large beavernel differs from the small beavernel in that it has longer styles in the flower. As far as the medicinal effect is concerned, the two will not differ much. In Germany, beavernel is an official medicine for cough and bronchitis. You can grow large beavernel in your own garden. It is a perennial, medicinal ornamental plant that blooms from July to October. NB! This article is written from the personal view of the author and may contain information that is not scientifically substantiated and/or in line with the general view.

Botanical drawing of a large beaver / Source: Johann Georg Sturm (Painter: Jacob Sturm), Wikimedia Commons (Public domain)


  • Possible confusion
  • Distribution and growth sites
  • Edibility
  • Naming
  • Ingredients
  • Traditional medicine for respiratory tract
  • Folk medicine medicine for digestion
  • 10 fun facts about greater beavernel
  • Official medicine in Germany
  • Grow your own beavernel

Possible confusion

The large beavernel is closely related to anise. Both plants have the Latin name pimpinella. However, the small and large burnet have nothing to do with this family. The plant called pimpernel in Dutch sometimes leads to confusion.

Distribution and growth sites

Giant beavernel is found throughout Europe as far north as the Mediterranean and its range extends eastwards to the Caucasus in Russia. The plant has been introduced into North America. In Scandinavia you will only find this plant in Denmark and the extreme southern tips of Finland, Sweden and Norway. In the Netherlands and Belgium you often find it on nutrient-rich soil such as clay soil. It likes chalky grasslands. You can also see it in biodynamically maintained meadows, floodplains and heathlands and roadsides where there is shade. It grows in the mountains up to 2300 meters altitude. Large beavernel grows to about one meter in height.

Great beaver eel / Source: Fornax, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

The sap from the hairs of the large beavernel contains furanocoumarin, which irritates the skin. You therefore have to be a bit careful when picking.


The root tastes somewhat bitter, but the leaves have a fragrant and spicy taste. Mainly young leaves are eaten, which can be picked in mid-May. They can be a bit bitingly sharp after chewing a few times. The leaves are edible and are used in soups, sauces and salads. Bevernel leaf would not look out of place in a herb butter. Furthermore, large and small beaver eels can be interchanged for medicinal and culinary applications.


The Latin name we use in science for large beavernel is Pimpinella major . In Dutch it has alternative names Bevernaart and Groote Steenbreek. Steenbreek refers to the fact that bladder and kidney stones used to be treated with it; the stones became smaller after which they could be urinated. The Latin word pimpinella comes from bi-pinella which means ‘two-nerved’. Major means ‘big’. In German this plant is called: Gro├če Bibernelle. English uses the word: Greater Burnet saxifrage and in French ‘Grand boucage’ is said to this plant.

Giant beaver / Source: H. Zell, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA-3.0)

In the past, large beaver eels, like small beaver eels, were seen as a remedy for the plague.


Large beavernel root is picked either in March-April or in September-October. The root of large beavernel is used for medicinal purposes. It contains the following ingredients: essential oils, coumarins such as furanocoumarin and pimpinellin, lactones, saponins or soap substances, tannins or tannins and resin.

Traditional medicine for respiratory tract

Traditionally, large beavernel is used for sore throat, hoarseness, colds and bronchitis. These are all diseases of the respiratory tract. Hoarseness can be combated by gargling with a root of large beavernel. It also treats flu, infections of the throat, nose and mouth and fever. In Austria, the large beavernel is processed into tea, milk or liqueur. When the essential oils are absorbed into the stomach mucosa, they also end up in the lung mucosa since these mucous membranes are connected to each other. In this way, drinking beaver decoction can have a medicinal effect on the lungs.

Folk medicine medicine for digestion

Large beavernel is used in folk medicine for diarrhea and impaired digestion. It improves digestion because it contains bitter substances that stimulate the functioning of the bile and liver. When the liver works better, it has a positive influence on the entire metabolism in humans. The body obtains more nutrients from plants, making people stronger.

Giant beavernel is a diuretic. This means that it stimulates the functioning of the kidneys. This allows waste and moisture accumulation to be removed more quickly.

10 fun facts about greater beavernel

  1. Large beavernel is used in homeopathy as a medicine for fever and back problems.
  2. An extract of the root can be used in a bath.
  3. A decoction of the root was used in the past to remove freckles.
  4. In the past, the root was sold in pharmacies as a wound healing agent.
  5. The root is so sharp that it reminds of pepper.
  6. Large beavernel is for sale in some garden centers.
  7. The root used to be chewed for toothache, but it paralyzes the tongue.
  8. Cows that eat this plant produce more milk.
  9. Oil from the seed of beavernel and the juice of the root can reduce flatulence.
  10. Carrot essential oil was once used as an ingredient for sweets.

Official medicine in Germany

The root of beavernel has an anti-inflammatory effect. In Germany there is a special committee that assesses whether plants can be an official natural medicine. This committee has approved beavernel as a medicine for cough and bronchitis.

Grow your own beavernel

You can grow large beavernel in your own vegetable garden. If you have a lot of seeds from this plant, it is a good idea to simply sow them where you want them to grow. If you only have a few seeds, it is better to grow the plant individually in pots. The plant requires a well-shaded or cool place and is frost hardy up to 20 degrees Celsius.

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