common Bistort


Common Bistort is a perennial plant with a height of 30-70 cm, with a thick, short and snake-like root and roots growing from it. Stem one, rarely several, erect, glabrous, unbranched. Leaves with leaflets, arranged alternately, on stems, elongated lanceolate with a slightly wavy edge, 10-20cm long and 4-10cm wide, green on top, bright or white-bluish on the underside from a strong wax coating. The flowers are small (3.5 mm long), bright pink, located at the top of the stem, in dense spike-shaped inflorescences (3-6 cm long). Fruit - three-sided, smooth, shiny, brown nut. Blooms in June-August. The fruits begin to ripen in June-early July.

Dried roots are used for medicinal purposes. Roots are dug in the second half of summer or in autumn (August-October), after the surface part has died, often also in spring before the surface part has grown back. The roots are dug together with the small roots, carefully cleaned from the leaf part and the small roots, rinsed in running water and cut into pieces up to 10 cm. Dry the roots at a temperature of up to 40C, or in well-ventilated and shaded places. It is recommended to stir the rhizomes often to prevent them from rotting. In the same groves, re-harvesting of the plant takes place after 8-12 years. The drug is odorless, brown-pink in color at the point of fracture. The plant can be stored for up to 2 years.

Common Bistort contains up to 25% tannin, 0.44% gallic acid, 0.5% catechin, 26.5% starch, 1.1% calcium oxalate, as well as oxymethyl-anthraquinone, ascorbic acid, potassium, magnesium, iron, dyes, C vitamin and provitamin A. Increased accumulation of selenium, strontium and barium in the plant.

Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and protocatechinic acid, flavonoid glycosides (hyperoside), rutin, avicularin, quercetin, kaempferol, cyanidin are found in the above-ground part of the plant. All parts of the plant contain a large amount of ascorbic acid.

Medicinal significance

Due to the tannins present in Common Bistort , it has an anti-inflammatory, bleeding-stopping, antibacterial, astringent and deodorizing effect.

Preparations containing Common Bistort regulate the functional activity of the digestive organs and have wound-healing, nervous system-calming properties. The plant effectively helps fight diarrhea.

Common Bistort is also used in folk medicine as an astringent in case of digestive system disorders. A decoction of the rhizome is used for diarrhoea, dysentery, gallstones (for breaking up stones in the gall bladder), women's diseases, nervous disorders, stopping various types of bleeding, prostate and bowel cancer, rheumatism and neuralgia (as a diuretic), as well as anemia and heartburn.

Root powder is also used externally to treat bleeding wounds and ulcers. Common Bistort is a popular remedy in folk medicine for colitis, stomatitis and gingivitis, and it is also drunk in case of poisoning.

For men

Strong anti-inflammatory drugs are made from the rhizome of the Common Bistort to treat urinary tract infections.

Not recommended for use 

The preparations of the Common Bistort are non-toxic, but with long-term use, constipation is possible, so this plant is not recommended at all if there are tendencies towards constipation. As it has also been established that the Common Bistort has strong blood-thickening properties, this plant is not recommended at all for pregnant women and people with thrombophlebitis.

Importance of food

The young leaves of the plant are harvested for food. The middle vein is cut out of the young leaves and boiled. The rhizomes are also edible, but they contain a lot of tannins and should be soaked for a long time before eating. The rhizomes are baked or dried. The dried root is ground and flour is obtained, which is added to the bread dough.