Sanguisorba minor, salad burnet, began primarily as a medicinal herb. Sanguisorba means “blood absorber”, and it was thought to stanch the flow of blood. Later, it was also used as a cure for diarrhoea, digestive disorders, rheumatism and gout. It was also thought to protect against plague.
Sadly, salad burnet’s real virtues are more modest and culinary in nature. Its toothy, slightly bitter, cucumber-flavoured leaves make a delicious addition to salads, herbed butters, and cheeses. We use salad burnet heavily in the spring, when the fresh new growth is less bitter, and before the cucumbers are in—a springtime taste of summer in our salads.
But it’s virtues aren’t confined to the kitchen. Perennial, drought tolerant, and pretty, too, salad burnet is a perfect addition to your landscaping.