Pasque flower (Pulsatilla) (Pulsatillae herba)

Published November 30, 1985.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Pulsatillae herba, pasque flower, pulsatilla.

Composition of Drug

Pasque flower herb consists of the dried, above-ground parts of Pulsatilla vulgaris Miller and/or P. pratensis (L.) Miller [Fam. Ranunculaceae], as well as preparations thereof.

The herb contains protoanemonin which is degraded to an unknown extent during the drying process, as well as ranunculin and its degradation products (e.g., anemonin, anemoninic acid, anemonic acid).


Based on existing evidence, the claimed applications are:

Diseases and functional disorders of genital organs, inflammatory and infectious diseases of skin and mucosa, diseases and functional disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and the urinary tract. Neuralgia, migraine, and general restlessness are not documented from the phytotherapeutic viewpoint.


Use of preparations from fresh plants, as well as preparations with protoanemonin, produces severe irritations on skin and mucosa with itching, rashes and pustules (ranunculus dermatitis).

Internal use in higher dosages results in irritation to the kidneys and urinary tract.

Use in pregnancy is absolutely contraindicated.


In animal experiments, after absorption, protoanemonin causes first stimulation, then paralysis of the central nervous system.

Irritations occur in the kidney and the urinary tract. These may be caused by the alkylating action of protoanemonin. This effect may be connected to the observed inhibition of caryokinase and mitosis.

The ingestion of protoanemonin-containing plants by grazing animals has been observed to lead to abortion and teratogenic effects.

The anti-infectious action of the herb is based on protoanemonin.