Water pepper is an annual plant with a creeping root. The stem is erect, branched at the top, knotted, hollow, reddish shades, 30-60 cm tall. The leaves are arranged alternately, elongated lanceolate, wavy.
Lower leaves on stems, upper ones almost sessile. The flowers are small, greenish-pink in color, arranged at the top of the stem, in a liquid spike-like inflorescence. The plant blooms from June to September. Fruit - 2-3 mm large nut. This plant differs from other sorrels with a bitter peppery taste.
It is worth knowing that fresh water pepper juice has a sharp burning taste, which disappears when the plant dries.
For medicinal purposes, the above-ground part of the plant is used, which is collected during the flowering period of the plant, until the stems turn red. The plant is cut at a height of 10-20 cm above the soil. The plant is dried on sieves, in a shady and well-ventilated place, spreading the plant in a 3-5cm thick layer or in a forced dryer at a temperature not exceeding 40-50C. A dried plant no longer has the sharpness of pepper.
Water pepper contains flavonoids (2-2.5%): rutin, isorhamnetin, quercitrin, isoquercitrin, quercitin, kaempferol hyperoside, luteolin, hyperin, persikarin, rhamnosine; sexuterpene compounds (isotadenoal, confertifolin, polygodial); essential oil containing phellandrene, beta pinene, eta cymole, 1,4-cineole; organic acids (malic acid, valeric acid, formic acid, formic acid); phenolic carbonates (ellagic and gallic acids); glycoside polygopiperine; vitamins C, D, E, K; tannins (<4%), sitosterol, sugars (glucose and fructose); macro and micronutrients.
Water pepper has hemostatic, anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic properties.
The plant got its name thanks to the powder of its seeds, which was used instead of black pepper.
In folk medicine, this plant is used as a means to stop bleeding, especially when it is necessary to treat hemorrhoidal bleeding or uterine bleeding. The plant also helps to stop other types of internal and external bleeding, it is related to the plant's ability to increase blood clotting.
Water pepper is also used for patients who cough up blood, who have blood in their urine, as well as in cases where bleeding is observed in the stomach or intestines.
Water pepper roots are rarely used, but they are used to strengthen the function of male genital organs and, of course, to treat. In ancient times, the plant was one of the plants used to treat malaria.
Externally, this plant can be used for sprains, bruises, rheumatism and gout, although in the case of the last two diseases, it is better to use other, more effective plants.
In folk medicine, water pepper extract is used orally to treat gastric and duodenal ulcers.
This plant is also valuable in dermatology - it is widely used to treat rashes, abscesses, wounds, tumors, itching and is used as a pain reliever.
In folk medicine, a decoction of the roots of the plant is used as a means of improving male sexual function, as well as a means to treat impotence. The plant can be used as an additional means to treat prostate adenoma.