Bistorta officinalis Delarbre, 1800
Syn.: Persicaria bistorta (L.) Samp., 1913 ; Polygonum bistorta L.
Common names: Bistort, Common bistort [En], Renouée bistorte, Feuillotte, Serpentaire rouge, Bistorte [Fr], Adderwortel [Nl], Schlangen-Knöterich [De], Bistorta [It]
Hamoir, LIEGE ● Belgium
Etymology: from latin bistortus = twice twisted (appearance of the root) ; Polygonum : from greek πολύς | polys = numerous et γόνυ | gonu = knee : twisted stems.
Description: Herbaceous perennial growing to 75 cm (30 in) tall by 90 cm (35 in) wide. The foliage is normally basal with a few smaller leaves produced near the lower end of the flowering stems.
The leaves are oblong-ovate or triangular-ovate in shape and narrow at the base. The petioles are broadly winged.
The plant produces tall stems ending in single terminal racemes that are club-like spikes, 5–7 cm (2–3 in) long, of rose-pink flowers.
The generic placement of this species is in flux. While treated here in Persicaria, it has also been placed in Polygonum or Bistorta.
Biology: It flowers from late spring into autumn.
Habitat: Damp meadows and by water, especially on acid soils. Under dry conditions, the plant goes dormant, losing its foliage until adequate moisture exists again.
Distribution: Northern and central Europe, including Britain, mountains of Southern Europe, Western and Central Asia; Introduced in North Eastern America.
Uses: Leaves are edible, raw or cooked. They are rather bitter, but have a fairly mild flavour, especially when the leaves are young.
In Northern England the leaves are an ingredient of a bitter Lenten pudding, called Easter ledger pudding that is eaten at Lent.
The roots are also edible. They are rich in starch and tannin. They are also boiled or used in soups and stews and can be dried then ground into a powder and used in making bread. The root contains 30% starch, 1% calcium oxalate and 15 - 36% tannin.
Bistort is one of the most strongly astringent of all herbs and it is used to contract tissues and staunch blood flow. The root (and also the leaves) is powerfully astringent, demulcent, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and strongly styptic. It is used in the treatment of internal and external bleeding, diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, etc. It is also taken internally in the treatment of a wide range of complaints including catarrh, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcers, ulcerative colitis and excessive menstruation. Externally, it makes a good wash for small burns and wounds, and is used to treat pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissure, etc. A mouth wash or gargle is used to treat spongy gums, mouth ulcers and sore throats.
Wikipedia, Persicaria bistorta
Plant For A Future
Flora of North America