Monday, 24 February 2014

Focus on Herbs: Herb Robert

One of my favourite herbs is Herb Robert. Other common names are St.Robert, Storkbill, Cranesbill, Red Robin, Fox geranium, Bloodwort and St.Robert's Wort. It is an annual which grows to approximately 30cm and has stems and leaves which are covered in tiny hairs. The pretty flowers have petals with three steaks of white which start at the centre and phase out along the petal.

In her book How Can I Use Herbs In My Daily Life from which I got the information for this post, Isabell Shipard describes Herb Robert as a supreme, therapeutic herb. It enhances the immune system and is one of the most outstanding herbs we can use regularly.


It is a source of the antioxidant germanium which has the ability to make oxygen available to the cells thereby giving the body the opportunity to fight disease so healing can take place quickly. It contains Vitamins A, B and C as well.

Herb Robert also contains ellagic acid which, according to recent research, may slow the growth of some tumours caused by certain carcinogens.

In order to strengthen the immune system, some people eat the herb as fresh leaves which I do when I am watering the garden in the morning. The leaves aren't unpleasant to eat at all. Others make it into a tea and Isabell suggests drinking it hot about 1/2 hour before breakfast using 4-5 teaspoons of finely chopped leaves to one cup of boiling water then steeped for 5 minutes.

Isabell herself collects 4-5 leaves and stems of Herb Robert in the morning, then picks 4-6 Gotu Kola leaves, several nasturtium leaves and flowers, a small handful of sheep sorrel and anything else she might like to add such as lemon balm or watercress. These are then cut coarsely and heaped over toast or muesli. 

The heatwaves this summer haven't been kind to our Herb Robert plants as they were growing in full sun and prefer shady damp places to grow. We might grow some in pots this winter and then move them into the shade when the heat arrives again in summer. Propagation is by seed and they self-seed readily and are not bothered by insects.

If you would like more information on the herb check out  Isabell's website.  You can also order Herb Robert from Shipard's Herb Farm. I am sure you won't be disappointed if you do start growing this wonderful herb. 


  1. I think this is one of those things I have only ever read about! It is interesting as I am trying to create an herb garden that has medicinal and seasoning values both and this sounds like one I should try!

  2. I loved my Herb Robert but he did not survive the heat so I am back to square 1. I do know a lady who grows it here though. I am enjoying your series on herbs Nanna Chel :)

    1. Tanya, it seems it likes the shade as it was growing prolifically in winter and was in the shade then but my husband moved some of the pots so poor old Robert got too hot during those heatwaves although they didn't last too long here but it is hotter where you are of course.

  3. Kathy, there are a few medicinal herbs that I will be posting about. If you could get hold of Isabell Shipard's book it is a great reference book to have.


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