Additional notes (click to expand)


A tincture made from the whole fresh plant has been used in homeopathy for Clergyman's sore throat and uterine displacement.
'Mrs Grieves (1931) A Modern Herbal' at

Has been used as a tea for fevers.
Plants for a Future (2015) at link


Syn. = Heliotropium peruviana

Other use

Used in essential oils.


Heliotropium species contain heliotrine, a pyrrolizidine alkaloid, which is both carcinogenic and genotoxic. In male rats, increase in pancreatic islet cell tumours, transitory cell papillomas of the urinary bladder, intestinal testicular tumours. DNA_adduct formation and chromosomal abberations in vivo and in vitro, indicating genotoxicity. Heliotropium species also contain lasiocarpine, a pyrrolizidine alkaloid, which is both carcinogenic and genotoxic. Angiosarcomas of the liver produced.
van den Berg, S.J.P.L., Restani, et al., P.. (2011). Levels of Genotoxic and Carcinogenic Compounds in Plant Food Supplements and Associated Risk Assessment. Food and Nutrition Science 2: 989-1010. link

Geographical distribution

  • Southern America, Western South America, Peru

Heliotropium arborescens L.

Genus: Heliotropium
Species: arborescens L.
Common names: Heliotrope
Distribution summary: Peru
Habit: Annual
Hardiness: H3 - Half hardy; unheated greenhouse/mild winter
Habitat: Coastal
Garden status: Not currently grown
Reason for growing: Other use, toxic

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