The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) The plant prefers light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and requires well-drained soil. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It requires moist soil.
The root is a pungent acrid herb that stimulates the salivary glands and irritates the tissues, thereby increasing blood flow to the area. It is used externally to treat toothache, facial neuralgia and chronic catarrh. A gargle is used to soothe sore throats. The root is harvested in the autumn and dried for later use. In Ayurveda medicine the root is considered to be tonic and is used in the treatment of paralysis and epilepsy. The diluted essential oil in the root is used in mouthwashes and to treat toothaches. This oil should not be used internally, except under professional supervision.