Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Encyclopedia.


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 ?
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.
While prostitutes were tolerated, even appropriated as signifiers of the city's beauty, their costumes were restricted to limit their social mobility while concomitant legislation against cross-dressing (that intensified after 1562) limited their physical mobility (see Bistort, 55-65, especially, 65; Scarabello, 1980, 83).
The bistort is providing nesting possibilities for more and more grebes, probably leading to ``overspill'' - as in the case of the pair which discovered Sefton Park in May and successfully raised three young.
They're often called the Bistorts and their proper Latin name is Persicaria.
Furthermore, most bistorts have narrow upright spires of flowers, a habit of growth I really enjoy.
So the bistorts should have everything going for them, but the truth is, I just can't stand them.
A couple of years ago, I began to warm a bit to the bistorts.
101) The best overview of sumptuary legislation in Venice remains Bistort.