Lythrum salicaria L.


Purple-loosestrife is a perennial plant that often grows up to 2m high. It has a four-sided, roughly hairy, red-brown stem with elongated lanceolate, dark green leaves, 3-20 cm long and 5-15 mm wide. The rhizome leaf rosette consists of 3-4 oppositely arranged leaves, the upper leaves are hairy, sessile and arranged alternately. Rhizome thick, peg-shaped, woody, with many lateral roots. Red-violet or dark pink flowers with a diameter of 20 mm, arranged in long spike-like inflorescences, at the ends of the stems. Fruit - an oval box containing many small seeds.

The entire plant, both the surface part and the root, is used for medicinal purposes. The surface part is collected during the flowering period, from June to September. The surface part is spread in a thin layer on sieves and dried in the shade. Roots are dug in autumn, cleaned from the soil, cut into pieces of 3-5 cm and dried in forced dryers, not exceeding 50C.

The Purple-loosestrife contains tannins, phenolcarbonic acid and its derivatives - chlorogenic acid, n-coumaric acid, ellagic acid, gallic acid, anthocyanins, flavonoids (orientin, glycoside myricetin, vitexin, homovitexin), polysaccharides, essential oil, vitamin C, choline, pectin substances and resins. Roots contain <8.5% tannins as well as saponins. Alkaloids and glycoside litranine have been found in the seeds of the plant.

Medicinal significance

The medicinal properties of Purple-loosestrife have been the reason for many pharmacological studies. Only aqueous extracts had a pronounced diuretic effect. Capillary-strengthening effect was shown by all studied doses of the extract, but the 1/100 dose has the most successful effect. In a long-term experiment on animals, it was determined that the plant is very useful for treating diarrhea, because it contains active substances - tannins, which are able to retain liquid in the colon and neutralize the effects of toxins.

Purple-loosestrife is also widely used in folk medicine. Fresh roots and leaves are crushed and applied to open wounds to stop bleeding. Decoctions and decoctions are used to treat leucorrhoea, heavy bleeding, hemorrhoids, menorrhagia, gastralgia, gastroptosis, chronic inflammation of the digestive tract and upper respiratory tract, diarrhea, stomach and intestinal bleeding. They are also drunk in case of epilepsy and other nervous diseases, as a tonic and strengthening agent, it is also used as a diuretic. The alcohol extract of the root of the Purple-loosestrife is used for headaches and stomachaches, as well as colds.

Purple-loosestrife root is also used in baths to treat varicose ulcers, eczema and cramps. It is recommended to bathe hyperactive or exhausted children in a decoction of the plant. Scabies and festering wounds are treated with applications of the surface part of the plant. 

Not recommended for use

The Purple-loosestrife has many downsides. Due to its vasoconstricting effect, the plant should not be used by hypertensives, it should not be used in the case of atherosclerosis, if there are tendencies to form clots and increased blood clotting. Doctors do not recommend using this plant for pregnant women, nursing mothers and children under 12 years of age.