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The Healing Properties of Bistort

Lois has over ten years' experience in the home/herbal remedy field. She seeks to inform her readers and help them save money.



Astringent and Antibacterial Properties

Native to countries such as China, Japan, Russia, Turkey, and Canada, bistort is a medicinal herb that goes by different names such as snakeroot and snakeweed. This plant grows best at high altitudes in moist soil. It can be easily found in fields, meadows, along the side of roads, and near riverbanks.

This plant is considered to be an excellent food source in many parts of the world because the leaves, seeds, and roots are all edible. Even if you have never heard of bistort, you may want to include it in future meals because this plant contains many healing properties.

Bistort contains astringent properties. Rubbing the leaves on your skin will help clear up many skin conditions such as:

  • Acne
  • Eczema
  • Psoriasis
  • Insect Bites
  • Cuts
  • Scrapes
  • Burns
  • Canker Sores

Since this plant also contains antibacterial properties, you can also prevent these skin conditions from getting infected.

The chemicals found in this plant kill harmful bacteria. It is excellent in treating bacterial conditions in the mouth and digestive system. If you suffer from bad breath or halitosis, chewing on the seeds or the leaves will help freshen up your breath and fight the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease such as gingivitis.

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Bistort contains anti-inflammatory properties. This is a very effective natural pain reliever. By using this in place of your synthetic medications, you can find relief from:

  • Headaches
  • Sinus Pain
  • Migraines
  • Menstrual Cramps
  • Muscle Spasms
  • Toothaches
  • Arthritic Pain
  • Gout Attacks
  • Sprains
  • Joint and Muscle Pain

You can find immediate pain relief by adding the leaves, seeds, roots, or a combination of all three to a cup of boiling water. Allow it to steep for fifteen minutes and drink it as tea. If you have a toothache, you can apply bistort directly to the aching tooth. To relieve aching muscles and joints you can run the herb directly on the areas that are sore.

There are many kinds of bistort

There are many kinds of bistort

Infection Fighting Properties

While found in other parts of the body, Helicobacter pylori is found mostly in the stomach. This bacterium is found “in patients with chronic gastritis and gastric ulcers, conditions not previously believed to have a microbial cause” (Wikipedia). Many stomach ulcers are caused by this bacterium. Bistort is an excellent medicine to treat stomach ulcers.

Cystitis happens your urinary bladder becomes inflamed. It is usually caused by a bacterial infection. While many times you flush the bacteria out when you urinate, some bacteria stay in the bladder and can cause a urinary tract infection. Symptoms of cystitis include:

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  • A strong, persistent urge to urinate
  • A burning sensation when urinating
  • Passing frequent, small amounts of urine
  • Blood in the urine (hematuria)
  • Passing cloudy or strong-smelling urine
  • Pelvic discomfort
  • A feeling of pressure in the lower abdomen
  • Low-grade fever (Mayo Clinic)

Bistort contains diuretic properties and is effective in treating cystitis and other disorders of the urinary system including:

  • Incontinence
  • Kidney Stones
  • Bladder Infections

Other Reasons to Use Bistort

Bistort is excellent for your digestive system. Eating just a few leaves or drinking a tea that contains the root, seeds or leaves goes a long way in relieving symptoms of indigestion such as heartburn, gas, bloating, and nausea. It is also effective in treating the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.

Bistort contains antiviral properties. If you are suffering from the stomach flu, drinking tea with bistort in it will help relieve you of vomiting and diarrhea. If you include this tea in your daily diet, the antiviral properties of this herb may protect you from catching the stomach flu and other viral infections.

Bistort is an excellent herb for females because it works with the female’s reproductive systems. If you have heavy menstrual flows, include bistort during your cycle because it helps control heavy bleeding. It is also effective in treating painful cramping.

Bistort is a major source of Vitamin A. Ever since childhood we always needed this vitamin for healthy hair and strong bones and teeth. One of the reasons some children who have a delay in growth and development is because they do not get enough Vitamin A during their growing years. We also need vitamin A for healthy skin and good eyesight and to prevent eye conditions such as cataracts.

Bistort boosts the immune system because it contains Vitamin C. If you have a cold or the flu, this herb can help fight the symptoms. You can even prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place by including bistort in your daily diet.

Bistort is rich in polyphenols. “Epidemiologic studies suggest that higher polyphenol intake from fruits and vegetables are associated with decreased risk for cardiovascular disease” ( These play a role similar to antioxidants but work in a more complex way to reduce the risks of you getting cardiovascular disease and many other types of chronic diseases.

Bistort comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors

Bistort comes in many shapes, sizes, and colors

While there are no known side effects of bistort and it is said to be safe for children to take, always talk to your doctor before using it to treat any home remedy. Make sure to take the correct daily dosage. If you are unsure of the correct dosage, ask your doctor or a qualified herbalist.

Where to Purchase Bistort Products

You can purchase bistort products either at your local health food store or online through sites such as Amazon and eBay. Products include:

  • Herbs
  • Seeds
  • Teas
  • Tinctures
  • Capsules


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Lois Ryan

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