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Any of several plants of the family Polygonaceae, especially the Eurasian perennial herb Persicaria bistorta (syn. Polygonum bistorta), having spikes of usually pink flowers and twisted roots used as an astringent in folk medicine.


Herbal medicine
A perennial plant, the leaves and rhizomes of which contain oxalic acid, starch, tannins and vitamin C. Bistort is astringent, antiemetic and antidiarrhoeal, and has been used for dysentery, menstrual bleeding and oropharyngeal inflammation.


(Polygonum bistorta) A strongly astringent botanical with purported medicinal properties that is used both internally and externally. Scientific trials have been limited.
Synonym(s): adderwort, dragonwort, snakeweed, twice writhen.
[L. bis, twice, + tortus, twisted]

bistort (bisˑ·tōrt),

n Latin name:
Polygonum bistorta; parts used: leaves, roots, rhizomes; uses: external—bites, burns, hemorrhoids, snake-bites, stings; internal—diarrhea, peptic ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, possible antiinflammatory and antiviral activities; precautions: pregnancy, lactation, children; may cause hepatotoxicity. Also called
adderwort, common bistort, Easter ledges, Easter mangiant, knotweed, oderwort, osterick, patience dock, snakeroot, snakeweed, or
twice writhen.
References in periodicals archive ?
See also Bistort (209) where the description of a wedding banquet in Ferrara included 27,629 pieces of gold used to gild various confections.
20 As Bistort explains, "[I]l Senato cosi voleva; c'era quasi da aspettarsi qualche rabbuffo del Consiglio dei Dieci, se qualche dama fosse stata meno zelante ad obbedire alla legge dell'oggi.
Flowers like bistort will cover a meadow in a pink swathe for just a week and will then be gone, so it was critical I didn't miss any of this.
This may well be the result of spreading mats of amphibious bistort - at Carr Mill Dam, some ten miles away.
Considering that I have a passion for ariseamas whose flowers look like something off a butcher's slab and smell like rotting meat, you'd think I could find it in my heart to tolerate a harmless bistort or two.
That the phenomenon was not entirely unknown in Venice before this period is indicated by the preamble to an edict of 1420 regulating the level of patrician dowries, cited in Bistort, 107-08, and discussed in Chojnacki, 1990, which claims that the rise in dowries was leading many patricians not only to "imprison" their daughters in convents against their will ("aliqui eorum filias coguntur in monasteriis carcerare, cum dignis lacrimis et plantibus ipsarum") but even to resort, unprecedentedly and shamefully, to keeping them unmarried at home ("aliqui tenent ipsas innuptas, cum rubore et periculo, nec in aliqua parse mundi talis est consuetudo").
Clyde can stand on his doorstep, a frill of pink bistort and green mosses at his feet, and see his day's work stretching out on the landscape in front of him.
Persicaria bistorta, the bistort, is a plant of some local reputation.