An Eco-sustainable World
HerbaceousSpecies Plant

Bistorta officinalis

Bistorta officinalis

The Bistort (Bistorta officinalis Delarbre) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Polygonaceae family.

Systematics –
From the officinal point of view it belongs to:
Eukaryota Domain,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Magnoliophyta Division,
Magnoliopsida class,
Subclass Caryophyllidae,
Polygonales Order,
Polygonaceae family,
Genre Bistorta,
B. officinalis species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Bistorta abbreviated Kom .;
– Bistorta carnea (K. Koch) Kom. formerly Tzvelev;
– Bistorta confusa (Meisn.) Greene;
– Bistorta ensigera (Juz.) Tzvelev;
– Kitag stoned bistorta .;
– Bistorta major Gray;
– Bistorta officinalis japonica (H.Hara) Yonek .;
– Bistorta pacifica tomentella (Kom.) Tzvelev;
– Bistorta pacifica velutina Kitag .;
– Bistorta subauriculata Kom .;
– Bistorta ussuriensis (Regel) Kom .;
– Persicaria bistorta (L.) Samp .;
– Persicaria bistorta carnea (K. Koch) Greuter & Burdet;
– Persicaria regeliana (Kom.) Cubey;
– Persicaria ussuriensis (Regel) Nakai;
– Polygonum abbreviatum Kom .;
– Polygonum amoenum Salisb .;
– Polygonum ampliusculum Gand .;
– Polygonum bistorta L .;
– Polygonum bistorta pacificum (Petrov ex Kom.) Vorosch .;
– Polygonum bourdinii Gand .;
– Polygonum carneum K. Koch;
– Polygonum carthusianorum Gand .;
– Polygonum confusum Meisn .;
– Polygonum ensigerum Juz .;
– Polygonum lapidosum (Kitag.) Kitag .;
– Polygonum pacificum Petrov ex Kom .;
– Polygonum pilatense Ghent .;
– Polygonum regelianum Kom .;
– Polygonum subauriculatum Petrov ex Kom ..

Etymology –
The term Bistorta comes from the prefix bis- twice and from tórtus ritorto (from torqueo to twist, twist, wrap): doubly twisted, referring to the appearance of the root.
The specific epithet officinalis comes from a medieval laboratory workshop: as a plant usable in pharmaceuticals, herbal medicine, liqueurs, perfumery and the like.

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The Bistort is a plant native to Europe but is also present in a naturalized form and cultivated in the cold and temperate-cold areas of Europe, Asia and North America where.
Its habitat is that of the vast expanses of humid mountain meadows, especially in soils rich in nitrates, sparse woods, marshy places, with an altimetric distribution ranging from 800 to 3,000 m. s.l.m ..

Description –
Bistorta officinalis is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows between 20 and 80 centimeters in height and approximately 90 cm in width.
It has a thick and twisted rootstock.
The foliage is normally basal with a few smaller leaves produced near the lower end of the flowering stems.
The leaves are generally hairless; the basal ones are elongated-oval with long winged peduncles and rounded or heart-shaped bases; the upper ones are more sparse and triangular, tapered and without petiole. At the base there are stipules which are fused into a sheath that surrounds the stem. The petioles are broadly winged.
The inflorescence is a spike with single pink flowers with five perianth segments, eight stamens, three fused carpels and three free styles.
The anthesis takes place between June and July.
The fruit is a walnut (Diclesio) with the anthocarp (achene) partially included in the perianth, a trine achene of 4 (5) x 2 (3) mm, blackish brown, brilliant.

Cultivation –
In some areas, Bistorta officinalis is cultivated as an ornamental garden plant and, especially in the past, also as a vegetable and medicinal plant.
It is a plant that, in its natural state, grows in humid soils and in dry conditions it hibernates, losing its foliage until adequate humidity is restored.
It is sometimes harvested in its natural state for local use as a food, medicine and source of materials.
It is a very cold hardy plant, able to tolerate temperatures down to around -25-30 ° C when in a dormant state.
It is a plant that propagates by seed with spring sowing. Germination is generally abundant. If it is sown in seedbeds, the young seedlings are then placed in individual pots and transplanted in late spring or summer.
It can also reproduce by division both in spring and autumn. If larger parts of the plant are used, these can be planted directly in the open field.

Customs and Traditions –
Bistorta officinalis is a plant that was once used for both food and medicinal purposes while currently it is more used for ornamental purposes.
For edible use, the young leaves (with a bitter but delicate taste) are used, which are commonly used, cooked, as a substitute for spinach or raw in mixed salads. The toasted root was once used to make bread.
In northern England, the leaves are an ingredient in a Lenten pudding called Easter Ledger pudding, which is eaten in Lent.
The leaves are available from late winter through most years and can be eaten until early autumn although they get much tougher as the season progresses.
The leaves are a good source of vitamins A and C.
The seed is very small and rather complicated to use.
The roots can be eaten raw or cooked and are rich in starch and tannin; they are macerated in water and then toasted to reduce the tannin content.
The roots have also been consumed after boiling in soups and stews and can be dried, then ground into powder and used, as mentioned, to make bread.
The roots are also eaten in Russia and North Asia.
The root contains 30% starch, 1% calcium oxalate and 15 – 36% tannin.
This plant can have medicinal uses. It is one of the strongest astringent herbs and is used to contract tissues and stop blood flow.
The root is strongly astringent, demulcent, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative and strongly haemostatic.
It is widely used, both internally and externally, in the treatment of internal and external bleeding, diarrhea, dysentery, cholera, etc.
It is also taken internally to treat a wide range of ailments including phlegm, cystitis, irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, ulcerative colitis, and excessive menstruation.
Externally it is used as a wash for small burns and wounds, and is used to treat pharyngitis, stomatitis, vaginal discharge, anal fissures, etc.
Mouthwashes or gargles can also be prepared, used to treat spongy gums, mouth ulcers, and sore throats.
The leaves are astringent and have an excellent reputation for treating wounds.
Although no specific mention has been made for this species, some species of this genus have been reported to cause photosensitivity in sensitive people.

Preparation Method –
The Bistort is used both for food and medicine.
The root is harvested in early spring, when the leaves are just starting to sprout, and then dries up.
The leaves are normally available from late winter in most habitats where it grows or is cultivated.
Roots, leaves and young shoots, especially once, were steamed or boiled.
The roots have also been consumed after boiling in soups and stews and can be dried, then ground into powder and used, as mentioned, to make bread.
In the medicinal field, mouthwashes or gargles are prepared and washes can be made with plant extracts for various purposes.

Guido Bissanti

– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *