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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 ?
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.