Perennials & Ornamental Grasses

Forest goatee - rare plant with healing properties


If you have a forest goatee in your garden, you can look forward to an easy-care plant. In nature, it is mostly found in European mountain forests.

© kazakovmaksim -

The forest goatee (bot. Aruncus dioicus) is native to Europe, but very few people know this plant. Because the attractive perennial with its long panicles of flowers has become rare. The plants are mainly found in mountain forests. The perennials, which are up to two meters high, can also be found in some gardens and are cultivated there as an easy-care ornamental plant. In the folk medicine of past centuries, the forest goatee had various meanings. The root was mainly used. The healing properties of the plant, also known as forest asparagus, have almost been forgotten. In the following you can read about the healing effects of the forest goatee.

Appearance forest goatee

The perennial plants are mainly found in semi-shady mountain forests. The stems grow upright from the underground rhizome. The leaves on it can grow up to one meter long. The white to off-white flowers appear in May. The flower panicles, which are up to half a meter long, are an attractive eye-catcher.

" Tip: The forest goatee is reminiscent of meadowsweet. This plant is much more common and can be distinguished from the goatee due to the smaller panicles.

Different types

The perennial rose family occurs in several different species, which are common in Asia. There are about five types, but they can hardly be distinguished optically. A distinction is clearly possible based on the different distribution areas of the plants. Over time, some interesting breeding forms emerged.

Overview of species

Geißbart Typeheydayheightcharacteristics
KneiffiiJune to Julyup to a meterThis variety has small cream-colored flowers. The panicles appear thin and feathery.
Dwarf goat's beardJune to Julyup to 30 cmThis low-growing species has white flowers and is ideal for planting the rock garden. The plant grows particularly compact and has pretty, dark green foliage.
Poet Goatee HoratioJune to July50 to 80 cmThis goatee blooms white and looks particularly good in flower beds and shade gardens. A planting distance of about half a meter must be observed.
Slotted forest goateeJune to Julyup to 120 cmThe white flowering plant catches the eye with its decorative leaves and is a popular cut flower.
China forest goateeJune to Julyup to 150 cmThe China forest goatee blooms creamy white and works well as a cut flower.
Kamchatka forest goateeJune to July80 to 90 cmThe white flowering shrub is suitable for planting the edges of trees and for perennial gardens.


The distribution area of ​​the forest goatee extends almost over the entire northern hemisphere. In some areas, the perennial does not occur naturally and was released as a “garden refugee”, for example in northern Germany. The plants can be found in the mountain forests of the Allgäu Alps at altitudes of up to 1,500 meters.


Folk medicine mainly uses the root against various diseases. The leaves were often eaten as a spinach-like vegetable. However, this is not recommended because the leaves contain toxic hydrocyanic acid.

In many gardens, the forest goatee is cultivated as a pure ornamental plant. The plants require little maintenance, reach good size with good care and the panicles can also be used in bouquets.

Forest goatee as a medicinal plant

In times of acute food shortage, the roots of the forest goatee were preferred. This gave rise to a kind of vegetable. The slightly poisonous leaves were also eaten.

When using the plant for medicinal purposes, Meadowsweet was increasingly used. It is believed that the use of forest asparagus for medicinal purposes is based on confusion with meadowsweet. However, the use of the forest goatee for healing purposes has decreased significantly in recent years.

What ingredients does forest goatee contain?

  • Cyanide compounds
  • saponins

What parts of the plant are used?

© Madeleine Steinbach -
  • root
  • seed
  • herb

Healing effect forest goatee

Folk medicine prefers to use the plant for stomach problems and fever. Forest asparagus can also be used for calming the nerves and general physical strengthening.

Medicinal effects in brief:

  • reassuring
  • the stomach
  • astringent
  • antipyretic
  • toning

Application areas:

  • fever
  • joint pain
  • Venenleiden
  • insect bites
  • stomach discomfort
  • obstetrics
  • STDs


➤ Tea

A tea can be prepared from the roots of the forest goatee. First fill a quarter liter of water in a saucepan and add a teaspoon of dried goatee roots. The whole thing should be boiled and then drawn off for about a quarter of an hour.

" Tip: The tea can relieve stomach problems and also help with postnatal bleeding.

➤ Root porridge

The porridge from the root of the forest goatee is an effective first aid measure for insect bites and insect bites. If you have been stung by an insect in the forest, you can dig out the roots, if possible clean them with drinking water or in a body of water, try to crush them with your fingers and apply the root paste to the puncture site.

" Tip: For the porridge, you should use fresh roots.

The porridge should act on the injection site for some time. It is therefore advisable to provide the wound with a bandage so that the root paste does not slip and has a direct effect on the puncture site.

➤ envelopes

For an envelope, prepare the tea from the roots of the forest goatee as described above. Then soak a cotton cloth with the broth and put the envelope on.

An envelope with this root brew can help with rheumatism and is placed directly on the joints affected by the pain. Let the envelope take effect for a while and replace it if necessary.

➤ Foot bath

The tea is also prepared for a foot bath as already described. Prepare at least twice this amount so that you can comfortably bathe your feet in the liquid and the foot is completely covered with the root tea. A foot bath with the root broth can help against swollen feet and is particularly helpful in summer when the feet are swollen after a hot day.

Summary of possible uses
Possibility of applicationexplanationField of use
teaThe tea is boiled from the dried roots. The roots should boil briefly and then pull for 15 minutes.stomach discomfort
mashThe porridge is obtained from the fresh roots. The cleaned root pieces are crushed and placed on the puncture site.insect bites
envelopeHe uses root tea for envelopes. The envelopes can be replaced several times and generally relieve joint pain.rheumatism
footbathThe feet are bathed in the root tea. In summer, the tea can also cool down, which also serves to refresh the feet.swollen feet

Interesting facts about collection and storage

The herb is collected in its heyday, i.e. between the end of April and mid-July. The roots are dug up during the resting phase of the plants, between autumn and spring.

The plant parts are dried in a shady and well-ventilated room. The root parts must be cleaned beforehand and cut into small pieces. The dried plant parts can be stored in cans or paper bags.

Attention: The forest goatee leaves should not be used in large quantities or over a long period of time. It contains toxic hydrocyanic acid compounds.

The plant is generally not suitable for permanent use. Pregnant and nursing mothers should not use the forest goatee as a medicinal plant.

Bring the forest goatee on the table

Let's take a look at the contemporary preparation of the forest goatee. For this, the young shoots are cut in spring. The preparation equals the asparagus. This also explains the term forest asparagus.

" Tip: Most of the common asparagus recipes can also be prepared with the sprouts of the forest goatee.

The young sprouts can also be stewed, eaten in soups or eaten raw in salads. The rung does not have to be peeled.

The use of the forest goatee as wild asparagus has a long tradition in Switzerland and South Tyrol. Those who do not want to go on a search can buy forest goat beards in the form of a delicate wild asparagus at the Viktualienmarkt in Munich.