January 3, 2012

Sempervivum tectorum, Ušesnik, Čuvarkuća, Common Houseleek

Houseleeks or Liveforever, Sempervivum tectorum, Jupiter's eye, Thor's beard, St. George's Beard, and Welcome-home-husband-
drunk, gromovna trava, pazikuća,
čuvarkuća(Cro), ušesnik, netresk (Slo), was a gift from Jupiter to protect us from thunder and witchcraft, hence it was grown on the roofs of houses. If you give it a search in your language you will probably find that all traditions agree with it's power to protect us from all kinds of evil, maybe some traditions didn't come up with all the ways of exploiting this house doctor, but most of them agree on using it in treating skin and eye diseases, inflammations, burns and ear pain. The names in Croatian like "pazikuča" meaning house
protector or in Slovenian "ušesnik" coming from "ušesa" meaning ears, indicate their use in traditional medicine.
We in the family have very good experience using it to remove warts, treating a cough or sore throat, or ear pain.
In any case of last one, otitis, only pure juice is used, and the leafs must be thoroughly cleaned, not to cause more infection by adding dirt and bacteria into your ear. Just a few drops were enough to ease or completely remove pain from our screaming three year old in the middle of the night. He almost instantly fell asleep and didn't complain that his ears hurt again. Must add that second time it happened due to tonsillitis we got antibiotics, but in two other times we used it it worked like a charm. Some doctors don't approve of this, some do, in case you use this method you really must be careful not to infect the ear even more with pieces of dirt, or pieces of plant, use only juice. Some say that it is good only in the early stage. You must be patient in squeezing it, you can even use a garlic squeezer, and than filter it. It is your responsibility, intuitivly you will know if it is right for you or not, trust that pulse.

Other ways to use it is by putting freshly squeezed juice or crushed leaves as a compress for insect bites (wasps, bees, mosquitoes), burns, chapped and cracked skin, herpes zoster, hemorrhoids. Juice eliminates problems if placed in positions of cramps in legs or sore spot caused by the gout.
When reduced hearing, caused by cured fluid, the fresh juice of leaves is used to
dissolve it. Corns, warts and sun spots are also prevented by fresh juice. Contemporary studies are focused on polysaccharides from the juice, because they are attributed to effects on the immune system and help the cancer disease.
Belarusian experts recommend fresh juice with honey for heart defects, and the products and homeopathic preparations used in purulent inflammation of the gums and sore throats.
Tea made from fresh leaves is applied externally for cladding as well as juice, as a drink for the hemorrhoids, worms, too heavy menstruation, stones in the bladder. It refreshes the body, has a diuretic effect and reduces inflammation. (translation from)

Other common names, such as Anglo-Saxon singrēne, Modern English sigrim, sil-green, etc. and aye-green,refer to its longevity. William Fernie tells a tale in support of this:
History relates that a botanist tried hard for eighteen months to dry a plant of the House Leek for his herbarium, but failed in this object. He afterwards restored it to its first site when it grew again as if nothing had interfered with its ordinary life. (Wiki)

One more source in Slovenian: http://www2.arnes.si/~sopjslat/netreski/uvod.htm, with names in several languages, thank you very much.

Also take a peek at: http://sempervivum.aforumfree.com/
Thanks to Renata


  1. Kokolo, any knowledge about habitatas of Sempervivums and Jovibarbas in Croatia?

  2. To my knowledge they are grown in Dalmatia, on my mothers balcony :), they prefer sunny places. But I have seen them all over the coast, even in Slovenia, they are quite resistant and can stand even our mountain cold (sometimes we have -20, and keep them in the garden). I know my friend from Montenegro has bean told by her grandmother to put it in a plastic bag over the winter and than plant it again in the spring. So they can probably be grown in the continental part of the country. If you understand croatian read this: http://www.sjemenarna.com/download/GreenGarden69_WEB.pdf
    As for Jovibarbas I don't know, they are from the same family, so probably behave similar, you can read something on where they are found on wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jovibarba

  3. I took a look at your place: http://sempervivum.aforumfree.com/
    a lot of resurch, wow.
    I guess my ansfer didn't satisfy you, cose you needem more precise information of the location. Next time I visit home I'll take a shot of it.

  4. Meanwhile here is one more photo from Raščane Biokovo for your site: http://www.rascane.hr/flora.htm

  5. Yes, I'm looking for exact locations in the wild. I've found some on the web, but because there is not much interest for Sempervivums & Jovibarbas here ...

  6. It is a promise, I'll give my best to bring you a fresh photo when I pay a visit home.