Are cattail leaves edible

Cattail, broad-leaved (Typha latifolia)

Cattail is a plant that has been used in a variety of ways in its original range for centuries. All parts of the plant can be used for healing purposes - the leaves against worm infestation, the starchy root as a nutritional supplement and the male flowers against diarrhea, bleeding and abscesses.

  • Bums club, cannon cleaner, lamp cleaner, chimney sweep, Pfaff spinach, pompom donkey
English plant name:
  • Broadleaf cattail, bulrush, common bulrush, common cattail, great reedmace, cooper's reed, cumbungi
Plant family:
  • Cattail family (Typhaceae)
Application areas:
Cattail leaves:Cattail flowers:
  • Abscesses *
  • Amenorrhea *
  • Bleeding, external & internal *
  • Dysmenorrhea *
  • Diarrhea*
Cattail Root:
  • Diet after winter or illness *
Cattail leaves:
  • Hemostatic **
  • Disinfectant**
  • Anticoagulant **
  • Diuretic**
Cattail flowers:
  • Astringent**
  • Hemostatic **
  • Diuretic**
  • Wound healing **
Cattail Root:
  • Typical dosage in Traditional Chinese Medicine: 4.5 g to 12 g; Standard 6 g
Side effects:

* Folk and empirical medicine
** The effect is derived from the ingredients of the plante.

TCM properties:

In TCM, the cattail is known under the following names Pu bang 蒲 棒 (tips of the cattails):

  • Sweet, slightly spicy
Temperature behavior:
Effective direction:
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Stops bleeding
Functional area reference:
  • Liver, pericardium, heart, spleen

Examples of preparations containing cattail:

Collect cattails:

Distribution / collection locations:The broad-leaved cattail occurs naturally in the temperate zone of the northern as well as the subtropical and tropical zones of both hemispheres. Exceptions are central and southern Africa, southern Asia and Polynesia. In Australia, New Zealand, southern South America, the Hawaiian island chain and the West Indies, the species grew wild and is now naturally occurring

Collection locations:
  • Moist soils in the reed zone of lakes, ponds, canals, moats, swamps
  • Along slowly flowing waters
Groupage / collection time:Root: all year round
Male flowers: July - August
(Young leaves & shoots: April - May)

Interesting facts about the cattail:

  • In the past, the bulb of the plant was smoked as a substitute for real cigars.

Examples of your own preparations:

Cattails for wounds

If you carefully pull out a young cattail plant and peel apart the leaves at the end near the ground, you will notice that there is a slime between the individual layers, which has a consistency similar to that of aloe vera. As with aloe vera, this slime can be used for:

  • sunburn
  • Corns (for soaking)
  • Wounds

Classic TCM decoction made from male cattail flowers

  • Boil 1 teaspoon of the drug in a linen handkerchief against and with 250 ml of water for 20 minutes .; Use the tea obtained in this way for washing wounds and rinsing. Use the flowers in the cloth or for wraps against bleeding

Cattails in the kitchen

The rhizomes, young shoots in spring and young leaf sprouts can be eaten both raw and cooked. In the past, a flour was obtained from the dried rhizomes, which was used to stretch bread dough. As it is high in protein and starch, this flour is very nutritious. To make the flour, the roots of the plants must first be peeled, dried and then ground.


Research sources:

  • Hiller, Karl; Metzig, Matthias F .: Lexicon of Medicinal Plants and Drugs, Volume Two, Spectrum Academic Publishing House; Heidelberg 2003
  • Hansel, R .; Sticher, O .: Pharmakognosie - Phytopharmazie, 8th edition Springer Medizin Verlag Heidelberg 2007

Internet pages:



Anja Alijah Flick (alternative practitioner)