Quick Facts about wild carrot:
Wild carrot (daucus carota) is a flowering plant originating from Europe and brought to America because it was considered to have medicinal properties. Other common names for this plant are Queen Ann’s Lace, Queen’s Lace, or Devil’s plague. Now, the plant grows across the country in fields and along roadsides. Typically, it grows to about two feet tall all with hollow, rigid, stems that have fine white hairs covering them. At the top of the plant, a cluster of white flowers with a dainty texture, resembling lace, and almost always having a single purple or red flower near the center sit atop the stem. As the blossom ages, it folds up and looks like a bird’s nest.
Is wild carrot edible?
When wild carrots are young, the taproot which is white and smells like carrots is edible. But it quickly develops a bitter taste and turns woody making it unpleasant to eat. The flowers, stems, and leaves are edible when young as well, and are sometimes used in herbal teas. The seeds are used to flavor foods and the essential oil is added to cosmetics for its proposed anti-aging and skincare properties.
Some individuals use it as a diuretic (or “water pill”), to prevent kidney stones, relief of gas, indigestion, and diarrhea. It may also have anti-inflammatory properties. Of course, as with all herbal products, these claims have not been evaluated by the FDA. The FDA does not regulate wild carrot products like over-the-counter and prescription medications. Always talk to your doctor before adding it to your regimen. Professionals do not recommend wild carrot during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Be extra careful about misidentification!
This plant often gets confused with poison hemlock which is a toxic plant that can cause serious symptoms if ingested. Proper identification is essential and is most easily determined by the stem. Poison hemlock has a smooth and hairless stem with distinctive purple splotches, while wild carrot stem has fine white hairs with no splotching.
Are there any side effects?
The wild carrot plant has a sap that can cause an allergic reaction or rash in sensitive individuals when handled. It can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun and increase the risk of getting a sunburn. Wear gloves and long sleeves when handling the plant. Always wear sunblock and protective clothing when spending time in the sun.
Large amounts of wild carrot may increase blood pressure and decrease the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. It may also interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. So, professionals advise patients to avoid wild carrot for several weeks prior to any scheduled procedure.
What to do if there is an exposure?
If someone eats a small amount of wild carrot or a wild carrot supplement, do not panic. Wipe out the mouth with a soft, wet cloth and give them some water to drink. If problems start or you have questions, call the Missouri Poison Center right away at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center is open all day, every day for poisoning emergencies and questions.