Pasque flower, sometimes known as wild crocus, is a deciduous perennial plant in the Ranunculaceae family found in the open prairies of the midwest as far south as Texas. Varities of this plant can grow in a variety of climates, from the Rocky Mountains of NM and CO (Anemone patens), and the deserts of NM and AZ (Anemone tuberosa). Pasque flower is a native to Europe, where it’s commonly found growing in clumps in open grasslands of Central and Northern Europe in chalky soils. The stems typically grow from 6 to 16 inches in height, bearing feathery, alternate, deeply lobed palmate leaves with narrow, finely divided linear lobes. Each plant bears a solitary, large erect bell shaped flowers in the spring, with 5 to 6 petal like bluish-purple to white sepals and yellow anthers. The flower eventually turns into distinctive silky puff seed heads that persist for many months. The plants can be grown by seed or through winter root cuttings and require full sun, except in very hot regions, where they need partial shade. They prefer gritty, nutrient rich and well draining soils, regular water to establish, and do not transplant easily, so plant Pasque flower in the right place the first time.
Pasque flower is known for it’s ability to soothe anxiety, ease overwhelming senses of doom, and to stop panic attacks. It acts as a depressant on the nervous and circulatory system, as well as relaxing both reproductive system and easing general nervous tension and neuralgic pain. It directly acts to ease pain from dysmenorrhea, menstrual problems, ovarian pain, and painful conditions of the testes. It’s a good remedy for spasmodic reproductive pain for both male and females, especially when this pain is accompanied by exhaustion. It also eases tension headaches, insomnia, nervousness, heart palpitaions, paranoia, and over-activity. Pasque flower seems to most directly benefit people who are burnt out and in a emotionally unstable, shaky, or fearful state, grounding them and restoring a sense of purpose and security. In addition to this, in dried form Pasque flower has antibacterial qualities that can help address mild skin infections such as boils. It’s analgesic and anti-spasmodic qualities also make it a useful remedy for respiratory infections and asthma. The oil or tincture can also be useful for earaches.
In Greek mythology, the goddess Flora was so jealous that her husband-god was infatuated with the nymph Anemone, so in a fit of anger she transformed her into a small flower, tossing her to the mercy of the North winds. Herbalist Mimi Kamp remarks how this plant is spun and tossed about by the wind, but how its root is deeply and firmly in place. “In the same way, the plant has the capacity to help us remember our roots and stability even in the midst of chaos, fatigue and fear.” Known commonly then as the “wind flower”, the name “Pasque” flower was later derived from the French word for Easter, which is when it typically blossoms. In France, Pasque flower was traditionally used for treating coughs and as a sedative for insomnia, as well as for eye problems such as cataracts. In North America, the Blackfoot tribe used the plant to induce abortions and help induce labor.
Flavor Profile and Energetics
Acrid, bitter, cooling, reduces Vata, helps release stuck pelvic energy
1 tsp of dried herb per cup of water, infused for ten minutes, taken three times a day or as needed. As a tincture, 1 ml four to five times daily. Increasing the dosage seems less effective than small doses spread over time.
For painful menstruation, combine with cramp bark. For skin conditions, combine with Echinacea. For panic and anxiety, combine with lemonbalm, skullcap, passionflower, or valerian.
Do not use the fresh plant unless supervised by an experienced herbalist. The fresh plant is also a strong skin irritant.