September 26, 2014


This is the clear example of science as the ancient popular tradition handed down over the centuries.

The word of mouth of ancient remedies of which the exact action mechanism was not known, can lead to surprising discoveries in the scientific field, as in the case of Sedum telephium, perennial herb with fleshy leaves, belonging to the Crassulaceae family.

There are numerous subspecies of this plant, but the one that has always been used in folk medicine is the maximum subspecies.


Arousing the interest of scientific research on this small plant were the deserving insights of Dr. Sergio Balatri, doctor and assistant surgeon who dedicated his life to the Emergency Department of the “San Giovanni di Dio” hospital in Florence.

His personal experience was fundamental in directing his dedication to the so-called “Livelong flower”.

Starting from his childhood memories of when his mother applied to him a leaf of this plant to treat the whitlow, dr. Balatri, in the late ’70s, dared to experiment a “blend” of leaves on wounds, even very serious, of some patients who showed up at the emergency room in Florence, where he was the doctor on call.

Impressive, not to say extraordinary, was the case of the young shoe repairer who injured the fingertip of a hand with a stitching awl and healed after about ten days after the repeated daily compress of a fresh leaf of Sedum, deprived of the cuticle from the lower epidermis and applied to the injured area.


Despite the inevitable disagreements with his medical colleagues, after another case of osteitis (inflammatory disorder of microbial nature affecting the bone tissue) healed by Dr. Balatri through the application orpine’s leaves. The plant gained great visibility and interest also in the world of scientific research. Continuing the road of Balatri in the use of Sedum in the treatment of very important wounds, abscesses, fistulas and erythemas, numerous research groups devoted themselves to a series of studies and publications aimed at confirming the healing properties of this plant, widespread throughout the national territory.


Following numerous experiments conducted mainly between the University of Florence and Siena, the main chemical constituents with pharmacological activity were identified in the flavonoids and in the polysaccharides contained in the leaves. However it is important to underline how all the phytocomplex, ie the set of molecules contained in the plant, make Sedum telephium an extraordinary healing remedy.

Its main potential lies in the synergy between bacteriostatic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and re-epithelializing properties.

Thanks to these actions, the application of the leaves on the wound, allows to keep it free of infections, inhibits the accumulation of radical species of oxygen, typical in case of inflammation, modulates the inflammatory response and promotes the proliferation of fibroblasts and the production of collagen, fundamental elements in tissue reconstruction.


Dr. Balatri traditionally used the leaves, deprived of the lower cuticle, in a compress. The development of the pharmaceutical technique then allowed the production of more stable and reproducible preparations such as a gel based on Sedum juice and a dry extract deriving from the extraction in water of freshly squeezed leaves.

The best leaves to use are those harvested between July and August, when the plant starts to bloom.

It is advisable to wash, dry and place the leaves in an airtight container inside the freezer.

Balatri himself observed that the leaf, once thawed, is much more useful and effective since thawing in addition to facilitating the removal of the cuticle from the lower epidermis, causes the breakdown of the parenchyma cells, causing the active ingredients to escape directly onto the surface to treat.

This ensures the availability of the remedy, rich in active ingredients, throughout the year.

If you use the fresh leaf, everything happens equally, but slower, so you will need a longer treatment over time.


From its use in popular tradition, to the great insights of Balatri and subsequent experiments, it is possible to consider the Sedum telephium a simple but extraordinary natural healing effective in the treatment of wounds, ulcers, whitlows, abscesses, dermatitis, burns and also in favoring the expulsion of subcutaneous foreign bodies.



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