Yellow cress

Yellow cress

Yellow cress

Specification & Spread

Fresh Siberian wallflower herb — herba erysimi diffusi recens
Siberian wallflower— erysimum canescens roth
Cruciferous family – brassicaceae (cruciferae)
Other names: water starwort, panicle, hemlock parsley, Siberian wallflower.

It is a biennial herbaceous plant of 30-80 cm tall. In the first year, the rosette of bottom sand leaves develops, in the second there are several simple stems.            The leaves are alternate, basal-oblong with a toothed edge, with well-marked petioles; the stem is oblong-linear or linear-lanceolate, entire, gradually decreasing in size from the base of the stem to the top.
The lower ones are with short petioles, the upper ones are sessile. The stems, leaves, pedicels, calyxes and fruits are densely hairy with adpressed with hairs, which is why they have a grayish colour. The flowers are with a yellow or lemon-yellow corolla, collected at the ends of the stems and branches in dense brushes, which are strongly drawn when fruiting. The perianth is double, tetramerous. It has 6 stamens, the ovary is superior.
The fruits are long and thin with tetraquetrous seedpods up to 80 mm long and slightly more than 1 mm thick, with numerous small reddish-brown seeds, deviated from the stem.It is seedage.

It blooms in May – June, the fruits ripen in June – July.

Spreading. Usually yellow cress is  growing in the steppe regions of the European part of Russia and in the south of Siberia, as well as in Kazakhstan and Central Asia. It is cultivated in Ukraine.

Habitat. It grows in steppes, on dry meadows, in pine forests, on forest edges, forest openings, embankments of railways and highways. To obtain medicinal raw materials, it is introduced into the crop and cultivated in small areas in specialized farms.


All parts of the yellow cress contain cardiotonic glycosides, strophanthidine derivatives (erizimine, erizimoside, etc.) are contained in a rather large amount;

  • in flowers and seeds – up to 6%,
  • in leaves – 1-1.5%,
  • in the stems – 0.5-0.7%.

Erysimine decomposes into aglycone strofanthidine and digitoxoses during hydrolysis, and erysimoside hydrolysis yields strophanthidine, digitoxoses and glucose.
In addition, the herb contains flavonoids – derivatives of isorhamnetin and quercetin.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting.The herb is mowed with mowers during the flowering stage at a height not lower than 10 cm from the base of the stem.

Drying. The raw materials are processed fresh no later than 48 hours after collection.  Expiration date is no more than two days after gathering. The raw materials are subject to immediate processing.

The raw material consists of stems with leaves, flowers, occasionally with crude fruits.
The leaves are oblong-linear or lanceolate, entire or rare-toothed, 3-6 cm long, 0.5 cm wide, gradually graduating into a short petiole.
Stems are ribbed, up to 30 cm long.
Inflorescence is a loose truss with pale yellow tetramerous flower (diagnostic sign of the family).

The fruit is a tetraquetrous seedpod.
The herb colour is grayish green and the smell is weak.
Taste is not defined (poisonous!).

Other species

Previously it was used another type of yellow cress – treacle erysimum (E. cheiranthoides L.), which is growing in the forest zone of Russia as a weed and in meadows. Treacle erysimum is official in Ukraine.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Cardiotonic agent (cardiac glycosides).
For the first time, pharmacological studies of yellow cress were conducted at the Tomsk Medical Institute by professors N.V. Vershinin and M.P. Varlakov (1940).         According to the pharmacological effect, glycosides of yellow cress are close to strophanthin.
Erizimine has a significant breadth of therapeutic effect. It does not possess cumulative properties and has
sedative effect on the central nervous system.

Application of yellow cress

From the herb of the Siberian wallflower receive sap, which is the part of the complex preparation.

The preparation is used with

  • rheumatic heart defects,
  • cardiosclerosis with symptoms of heart failure and
  • circulatory disorders of I and IIA degree,
  • and also for angina (without organic changes in the heart vessels),
  • autonomic neurosis.
  • Pregnancy;
  • breastfeeding;
  • abrupt cardiac changes of organic character;
  • acute myocarditis;
  • endocarditis;
  • severe cardiosclerosis;
  • acute atherosclerosis.