Bishop’s Weed Seed

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Bishop's weed (Aegopodium podagraria) is ideal in contained and shady spots as a fast-growing ground cover. It can be aggressive though. Learn more about BISHOP’S WEED uses, effectiveness, possible side effects, interactions, dosage, user ratings and products that contain BISHOP’S WEED. Bishop Weed: Most Hated Plants

How to Grow Goutweed

A fast-growing ground cover that can easily get out of control

Gemma Johnstone is a gardening expert who has written 120-plus articles for The Spruce covering how to care for a large variety of plants from all over the world. She’s traveled all over Europe, living now in Italy.

The Spruce / K. Dave

Several plant species are referred to as goutweed. The most popular is Aegopodium podagraria. This is a herbaceous perennial that works well as a shrubby, semi-wild ground cover option. It’s fast-growing, hardy, and low-maintenance.

The leafy, spreading foliage normally doesn’t grow much taller than 10 inches, but the flowering stalks that appear in early summer can shoot up much taller. Its small, white flower umbels aren’t particularly ornamental, and some people simply cut the flowering stalks back to prevent the ground cover from looking untidy.

It readily self seeds and its rhizomatous roots mean that it can be an aggressive spreader and difficult to eradicate once established. If you’re not careful, the leafy mounds could quickly take over your entire garden. Some regions classify it as an invasive species. If you do plan to plant goutweed, you might want to contain it to spots where other plants struggle to survive.

There’s a variegated variety of the plant that is known for being less invasive, and this tends to be the most popular choice in gardens.

The plant’s ability to grow in shady locations and a wide variety of soil types, make it a good option for cover under a group of trees. The spreading roots system can be helpful if you’re looking for plants to help tackle steep-sided soil erosion.

Botanical Name Aegopodium podagraria
Common Name Goutweed, cow parsley, ground elder
Plant Type Herbaceous, perennial
Mature Size Flowering stems can grow to be up to 1m tall
Sun Exposure Full sun, partial shade, full shade
Soil Type Well-drained
Soil pH Acid, neutral, alkaline
Bloom Time Summer
Flower Color White
Hardiness Zones 4-9 (USDA)
Native Area Europe, Asia

Goutweed Care

A lover of damp and shady conditions, goutweed is adaptable and can handle most soil types, urban pollution, and different moisture levels. This can be a blessing and a curse. It’ll grow where other plants won’t, but it can also take over your garden space in no time if not kept in check.

BISHOP’S WEED – Uses, Side Effects, and More

Bishop’s weed is a flowering plant. The seeds are used to make medicine.

Bishop’s weed is used for asthma, chest pain (angina), kidney stones, a skin disorder that causes white patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo), and scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis), but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

Be careful not to confuse bishop’s weed (Ammi majus) with its more commonly used relative, khella (Ammi visnaga).

How does it work ?

Bishop’s weed contains several chemicals that can make the skin more sensitive to sunlight.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • Asthma.
  • Chest pain (angina).
  • Kidney stones.
  • Fluid retention.
  • Scaly, itchy skin (psoriasis).
  • White patches to develop on the skin (vitiligo).
  • Other conditions.
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Side Effects

When taken by mouth: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bishop’s weed is safe. It might cause nausea, vomiting, and headache. Some people are allergic to bishop’s weed.

When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bishop’s weed is safe. It may cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun. This might put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Wear sunblock outside, especially if you are light-skinned.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bishop’s weed is safe. It might cause nausea, vomiting, and headache. Some people are allergic to bishop’s weed.

When applied to the skin: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bishop’s weed is safe. It may cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun. This might put you at greater risk for skin cancer. Wear sunblock outside, especially if you are light-skinned. Pregnancy: It’s LIKELY UNSAFE to use bishop’s weed if you are pregnant. It contains a chemical called khellin that can cause the uterus to contract. This might threaten the pregnancy.

Breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if bishop’s weed is safe to use when breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Bishop’s weed might slow blood clotting. There is a concern that it might increase the risk of bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using bishop’s weed at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates) interacts with BISHOP’S WEED

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Bishop’s weed might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking bishop’s weed along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking bishop’s weed, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Medications that increase sensitivity to sunlight (Photosensitizing drugs) interacts with BISHOP’S WEED

Some medications can increase sensitivity to sunlight. Bishop’s weed might also increase your sensitivity to sunlight. Taking bishop’s weed along with medication that increases sensitivity to sunlight could increase the chances of sunburn, blistering, or rashes on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Be sure to wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.

Some drugs that cause photosensitivity include amitriptyline (Elavil), Ciprofloxacin (Cipro), norfloxacin (Noroxin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), ofloxacin (Floxin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), gatifloxacin (Tequin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), trimethoprim/sulfamethoxazole (Septra), tetracycline, methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen, 8-MOP, Oxsoralen), and Trioxsalen (Trisoralen).

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant/Antiplatelet drugs) interacts with BISHOP’S WEED

Bishop’s weed might slow blood clotting. Taking bishop’s weed along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

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Dosing

The appropriate dose of bishop’s weed depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for bishop’s weed. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Dollahite, J. W., Younger, R. L., and Hoffman, G. O. Photosensitization in cattle and sheep caused by feeding Ammi majus (greater Ammi; Bishop’s-Weed). Am J Vet.Res 1978;39(1):193-197. View abstract.

EL MOFTY, A. M. Observations on the use of Ammi majus Linn. In vitiligo. Br J Dermatol 1952;64(12):431-441. View abstract.

EL MOFTY, A. M., el Sawalhy, H., and el Mofty, M. Clinical study of a new preparation of 8-methoxypsoralen in photochemotherapy. Int J Dermatol 1994;33(8):588-592. View abstract.

Kavli, G. and Volden, G. Phytophotodermatitis. Photodermatol. 1984;1(2):65-75. View abstract.

Singh, U. P., Singh, D. P., Maurya, S., Maheshwari, R., Singh, M., Dubey, R. S., and Singh, R. B. Investigation on the phenolics of some spices having pharmacotherapeuthic properties. J Herb.Pharmacother. 2004;4(4):27-42. View abstract.

Abdel-Fattah A, Aboul-Enein MN, Wassel GM, El-Menshawi BS. An approach to the treatment of vitiligo by khellin. Dermatologica 1982;165:136-40. View abstract.

Ahsan SK, Tariq M, Ageel AM, et al. Effect of Trigonella foenum-graecum and Ammi majus on calcium oxalate urolithiasis in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 1989;26:249-54. View abstract.

Bethea D, Fullmer B, Syed S, et al. Psoralen photobiology and photochemotherapy: 50 years of science and medicine. J Dermatol Sci 1999;19:78-88. View abstract.

Bourinbaiar AS, Tan X, Nagorny R. Inhibitory effect of coumarins on HIV-1 replication and cell-mediated or cell-free viral transmission. Acta Virol 1993;37:241-50.

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Dr. Duke’s Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Available at: https://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/.

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Hamerski D, Schmitt D, Matern U. Induction of two prenyltransferases for the accumulation of coumarin phytoalexins in elicitor-treated Ammi majus cell suspension cultures. Phytochemistry 1990;29:1131-5. View abstract.

Harvengt C, Desager JP. HDL-cholesterol increase in normolipaemic subjects on khellin: a pilot study. Int J Clin Pharmacol Res 1983;3:363-6. View abstract.

Kiistala R, Makinen-Kiljunen S, Heikkinen K, et al. Occupational allergic rhinitis and contact urticaria caused by bishop’s weed (Ammi majus). Allergy 1999;54:635-9. View abstract.

Malhotra S, Bailey DG, Paine MF, Watkins PB. Seville orange juice-felodipine interaction: comparison with dilute grapefruit juice and involvement of furocoumarins. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2001;69:14-23. View abstract.

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Ossenkoppele PM, van der Sluis WG, van Vloten WA. [Phototoxic dermatitis following the use of Ammi majus fruit for vitiligo]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd 1991;135:478-80. View abstract.

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Bishop Weed: Most Hated Plants

I’d like to dedicate this post to my blogging friend, Carol at Flower Hill Farm, for her long-suffering with this invasive plant, her nemesis, Bishop Weed, also known as Goutweed (Aegopodium podagraria).

But first, a disclaimer. I call this ongoing series “Most Hated Plants,” but some have taken issue with “hating” poor defenseless plants. Most Hated Plants is really a shorhand way of saying:

  • I don’t really hate the plants.
  • I do hate that nurseries continue to propagate and sell these plants
  • I hate that landscapers continue to install them
  • And I hate that people continue to plant them
  • Invasive plants are wiping out native habitats leaving wildlife no place to go
  • Invasive plants cost taxpayers $138 BILLION dollars every year
  • I really would like to see homeowners do their homework prior to purchasing ANY plant

But instead of saying all of that every time I refer to the damage caused by invasive plants, I simply say MOST HATED PLANTS as my short hand.

Bishop Weed is native to Europe, northern Asia, and Siberia and was brought to this country as an ornamental plant. It was first noticed to have escaped cultivation and become invasive in Rhode Island in 1863.

Also known as Goutweed, it wreaks havoc in moist, partly shaded woodlands and disturbed areas. It forms a dense mat that prohibits other plants from establishing.

This trait is especially harmful in natural wooded areas where it outcompetes native plants. Because of this, many native woodland plants are now highly endangered.

I’ve been attempting to rid my property of this plant since 2001 when I first moved in. It feels like a losing battle because it returns with a vengeance especially after the rain. We pull, and we pull, and then we pull some more. But it always comes back.

That’s because Bishop Weed not only spreads by seed, it also spreads by underground runners. If you’re pulling but don’t get every last piece of those runners out of the ground, it will pop up again almost immediately.

My neighbor across the street is the head propagator for Morris Arboretum. Her garden is her own beautiful private botanic garden. Really, it’s stunning! But she has been battling Goutweed for the 30 years she’s lived in her house. Trust me, she REALLY hates this plant!

Risa Edlestein, my blogging buddy at Garden and the Good Life, has started a discussion on the best ways to eliminate this invasive plant from the landscape at the Ecological Landscaping Association Group on LinkedIn.

It is banned for sale in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont, and is considered a noxious pest from Eastern Canad to Georgia and into the midwest, plus is invasive in the Pacific Northwest.

A much better alternative to this noxious, invasive plant is the native Golden Alexanders (Zizea aurea), in the same family as Bishop Weed, but a much gentler inhabitant of native ecosystems, and a host plant for Black Swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.

So, Carol, this one’s for you, in hopes that you will make headway in this battle!

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