Re: Drosera (pharmaceutical)

Juerg Steiger (
Wed, 13 Dec 1995 10:14:35 +0000

> I am studying Marcel Lecoufle book on Carnivorous Plants Care and
>Cultivation. On page seven he mentions that Drosera were used by the
>pharmaceutical industry to provide an extract used medicinally as an
>expectorant. Sarrencenia, I hear are also are used to produce some type of
>medicine. Could some one point the way to more information on this subject?

I know of two expectorants with PC extracts: 'Drosinula', a treacle
against mucous catarrh, containing extracts of Picea abies, Hedera helix,
Drosera rotundifolia, ethanol and other compounds (Producer: Bioforce Inc.,
9325 Roggwil, Switzerland) and 'Pilka' drops against mucous cough and
catarrh, containing extracts of Thymus, Pinguicula and Drosera (Producer:
Zyma Inc., 1196 Nyon, Switzerland). The pharmacologically active compound
is likely to be trans-cinnamic acid, which is known to be a (moderately)
effective expectorant and which was proved to be present on the leaves of
Pinguicula vulgaris by T Gordonoff and K Christen (1960) and K Christen
(1961). Earlier Drosera and Pinguicula were almost wiped out in some
regions of Switzerland as farmers collected them for the pharmaceutical
industry. Nowadays they are protected here and the industry seems to
introduce the plant material mainly from eastern europe and other countries
where natural protection is less developed. Unfortunately the increasing
number of 'patients' which (concerning their use of medicaments) are
'against chemistry' and 'for nature' helps to reduce the existence of many
rare wild plants including some CP. I am not shure whether tissue cultured
mass production of Pings or Droseras would be financially attractive for a
pharma producer as long as (cheaper) wild plant collection is allowed
somewhere. As some disciples of phytotherapy are fanatics it is likely that
measures of the authorities to forbid the production of drugs with rare
plant compounds would - or at least could - result in increased publicity
for this problem and so could lead to involuntary PR for such medicaments
among the public at large.

If you need more info let me know by personal e-mail. Juerg

Dr. Juerg Steiger, Institut fuer Aus-, Weiter- und Fortbildung IAWF
University of Bern, Inselspital 37a, CH-3010 Bern, Switzerland
Office: +41 (0)31 632 98 87, Home: +41 (0)31 972 19 79
Fax: +41 (0)31 632 98 71, E-mail: