Medicinal plants

Red carnation - application and effects

Red carnation - application and effects

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Actually it is Red carnation (Silene dioica) pink rather than red. This is irrelevant for its healing effect, because those who need the help of this plant will actually see red. The effect of the red carnation is said to be to cure poisoning by snake bites. The Silene dioica extract is an antidote that can save lives in an emergency. The red carnation also has skin-cleaning properties. That is why their ingredients are often used for cosmetic products and nourishing skin creams. Here you can find out exactly how the delicate flower unfolds its detoxifying and dermatological effects and what there is to consider when using the red carnation.

Profile of the Red Carnation:

Scientific name: Silene dioica
Plant family: Carnation Family (Caryophyllaceae)
Popular names: Herrgottsblut, red catchfly, red carnation, red carnation, daylight carnation
Plant parts used: Leaves, flowers, seeds, roots
Origin: Asia, Europe, North Africa
Application areas:

  • Skin inflammation,
  • Blemished skin,
  • Inner restlessness and indecisiveness,
  • Snake bites
  • and poisoning.

Plant portrait: blood flowers versus snake venom

As the name suggests, the red carnation comes from the clove family (Caryophyllaceae). In addition to her official name, Silene dioica, she was previously known as Lychnis dioica or Melandrium dioicum depending on the author. The different names go back to inconsistent assignments of the plant to different plant genera.

The goblet-shaped capsule fruits of the red carnation arise unusually late in winter. A fresh winter breeze is needed to shake the fruit's seeds out of their toothed fruit basket and thus stimulate the plant to reproduce. Due to this spread of wind, Silene dioica multiplies relatively locally. Only nearby waters can carry the seeds a little further, which is why the red carnation is often found along streams.

Speaking of Bach, the red carnation is one of the homeopathic Bach flowers. This has nothing to do with their preferred locations on streams. Because Bach Flower Therapy got its name from its inventor, the English doctor Dr. Edward Bach. He defined the flowers of 38 different plants, including Silene dioica, as "soul herbs" for the treatment of psychological and emotional imbalances.

The red carnation (also under the name red campion) in particular is said to be here

  • low self-esteem
  • Self-doubt
  • and indecisiveness help.

The effect has not yet been proven. One can only make assumptions about the healing power of the plant for mental complaints. And popular belief also offers plenty of room for speculation about the red carnation, because there are numerous legends and legends surrounding its origin. The main reason for this are the bright pink wheel flowers of the Silene dioica. The pink blossoms of the red carnation are said to have got their color, for example, from drops of blood from the divine father, hence the nickname Herrgottsblut. Places where the plant grew were therefore sacred places, and anyone who carelessly picked or twisted a red carnation faced the risk of his father's death. The fact that the carnation only blooms during the day was not very pleasant to some. It was therefore suspected that the plant, also known as daylight carnation, was haunted by goblins, demons and snakes at night, which cursed the plant.

As far as snakes in particular are concerned, the red carnation was paradoxically considered a protective herb against lizard animals. The animals were formerly often considered to be devilish creatures, which is why the Silene dioica created by the blood of the gods should successfully keep snakes away. It remains to be seen whether this conviction arose from the successful use of the red carnation in snake bites. The ground seeds of the plant were used for this, which were then processed into porridge and applied to the bite wound in the form of an envelope. The detoxifying ingredients of the seeds subsequently pulled the poison out of the wound and relieved the inflammation of the wound.

Silene dioica was also happy to help with skin cleaning. Because in addition to snake venom, the medicinal plant apparently also removed impurities from the skin. Instead of the seeds, the roots of the red carnation were used for this purpose. These were soaked in alcohol and the extract was then rubbed onto the problematic skin areas. And still today the red carnation is contained in various skin care products. Overall, the pink flower is used for the following complaints:

  • Skin inflammation,
  • Skin irritation,
  • Blemished skin,
  • Immunodeficiency,
  • no menstrual period,
  • Self doubt
  • and poisoning from snake bites.

By the way: The edible flowers and leaves of the red carnation are even used as culinary herbs in southern Europe. Here they are often used together with ricotta as a filling for herb ravioli.

Ingredients and effects

The detoxifying effect of the red carnation can be explained by the saponins it contains. Their peculiarity is that they have a hemolytic (blood-dissolving) effect. They therefore destroy red blood cells. Normally, saponins should not enter the bloodstream because of this property, as blood dissolution can lead to severe anemia. In the case of snake venom intoxication, however, it is important to remove the toxins from the bloodstream as quickly as possible before they enter the body's metabolic cycle. In the event of poisoning, the saponins of the red carnation can help to clean the blood if they are dosed well.

Saponins in Silene dioica can do even more

The red clove saponins mainly belong to the subgroup of triterpene saponins. These are extracts of the terpenes, which are known as the essence of essential vegetable oils. they seem

  • disinfectant,
  • draining,
  • anti-inflammatory,
  • hormone stimulating,
  • immune and circulation strengthening
  • secretion-promoting
  • and soothing.

Therefore, they are suitable on the one hand for treating inflammation and bite wounds, but also for increasing the removal of toxins via urine and sweat and for preventing poisoning-related circulatory failure. The anti-inflammatory properties of the red carnation in particular are still used to this day in cosmetics to care for skin irritation and skin inflammation.

The hormone-stimulating properties of saponins are also interesting. It is your responsibility to ensure that the red carnation also has an effect on hormonal cycle disorders and menstrual cramps. Said health problems usually arise in women from a hormonal imbalance, which can be attributed to sex hormones in the case of regular complaints. In contrast, in emotional crises accompanied by self-doubt or depression, it is more often nerve-stimulating hormones such as dopamine and serotonin that trigger the mental imbalance. Here, too, hormone-regulating herbs such as the red carnation can bring about improvement.

Application and dosage

While the flowers and leaves of Silene dioica can be used as culinary herbs for herb fillings, salads or soups, traditionally a porridge is made from the ground seeds of the plant for wound treatment and detoxification with red carnation. Alternatively, the use of tinctures from the plant root for skin problems or the intake of Bach flower essences from Silene dioica for mental complaints is also conceivable. It can be seen that the respective preparations are used very specifically for relevant health complaints. With good reason, because the saponins of the plant should never be overdosed and require an individual dose for internal and external use.

Important: In the event of a snake bite, an emergency doctor must be called under all circumstances! Self-treatment with red carnation is not sufficient here and can be carried out as an additional treatment measure until the ambulance arrives!

Production of a red carnation tincture

You can easily make a red carnation tincture yourself. It can be used, for example, to treat wounds or for existing skin irritation. Skin inflammation also reacts well to the carnation tincture.

You need:

  • Red clove roots (cut),
  • High-proof alcohol (for example vodka or brandy),
  • a dark screw-top glass
  • and a dark bottle for storage.
  1. Step:
    Fill the screw-top jar with the cut roots of the red carnation and then pour the alcohol over the herbs.
  2. Step:
    Close the jar well and let the tincture base ripen for about two to three weeks in a bright place.
  3. Step:
    Filter the herbs out of the tincture and store them cool in a dark bottle. If necessary, the tincture can be placed on a cotton pad and dabbed on the skin to be treated.

Red carnation decoction

As an alternative to the tincture, you can also make a decoction from the roots of the red carnation. To do this, boil the plant roots in water and then let the whole thing steep in a dark glass for about two weeks. The decoction can be used among other things for washes for skin care or for skin irritation or skin inflammation. After application to the skin, the decoction must be washed off with lukewarm water, since it is very concentrated and could cause irritation by overdosing the root extract.

Production of a flower essence from red carnation

Homeopaths generally prescribe an appropriate Bach flower essence made from red carnation for internal use, for example in the case of immune deficiencies or mental complaints. However, you can also make such a flower essence yourself at home.


  • Blossoms of the red carnation,
  • spirits
  • and a dark bottle
  1. Step:
    Soak the flowers of the red carnation in pure spring water and let it ripen in sunlight for about three hours. You can also boil the flowers for a stronger concentration of active ingredients.
  2. Step:
    Filter the flower water several times through a sieve and then pour the decoction into a dark bottle.
  3. Step:
    The bottle is now filled with brandy. After that, if you are in doubt or indecisive, you can take one to two teaspoons of the essence with plenty of water daily. It makes sense to do this before a meal.

Side effects

There are no known side effects for the red carnation. For safety reasons, pregnant women and children are not advised to use it. (ma)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.

Miriam Adam, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch


  • Bühring, Ursel: Practical textbook on medicinal herbs: basics - application - therapy, Karl F. Haug, 2014
  • Bader, Christa: Wild herbs and healing plants for body and soul: A course in medicinal plant science, Books on Demand, 2014
  • Plants for a future: (accessed: February 19, 2019),
  • Dreyer, Eva-Maria: Dreyer, Wolfgang: Which flower is that ?: 170 flowers easy to determine, Franckh Kosmos Verlag, 2016
  • Mamadalieva, Nilufar Z .: "Diversity of Secondary Metabolites in the Genus Silene L. (Caryophyllaceae) - Structures, Distribution, and Biological Properties", in: Diversity. Volume 6, 2014,

Video: Red Carnation Hotel (August 2022).