Botanical name: 

Bistort Polygonum bistorta.

Natural Order—Polygonaceae.

This plant is generally found growing in damp meadows. It is a perennial; rises from 12 to 18 inches in height, and flowers from June to September. It is also called Snakeweed and Patient Dock.

Medicinal Properties: Astringent.

The best part of the plant for medicinal purposes is the root. This herb is chiefly used—as a medicine, gargle, or injection—in cases of haemorrhage and mucus discharges. It is a powerful astringent, and may be used in diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, and in all kinds of bowel complaints; also for all bleeding, whether internal or external.

Diarrhoea is an effort of Nature to expel some accumulation of objectionable matter, such as indigestible food, excessive flow of bile, &c. When it occurs, care should be taken not to stop it before it has accomplished its purpose. This complaint often originates from a bad condition of the stomach and liver, eating too freely of unripe or over-ripe fruit in the summer time, weakness of the bowels, and, in fact, from any condition which disturbs the digestive processes or vitiates the blood.

Bistort Root, crushed, 1 oz.
Raspberry Leaves, 1 oz.

Place these in a jug, pour on 1 ½ pints of boiling water; steep for half an hour, and then pour the hot, clear liquid into a vessel containing a teaspoonful of Composition Powder. Adult dose: One wineglassful every half-hour until the purging is arrested. As to diet, Slippery Elm Bark is far away the best thing to give at first. As the patient gets stronger, broth made from the shin of beef may be taken ; then good boiled fish.

Health from British Wild Herbs was written by Richard Lawrence Hool, N.A.M.H., in 1918.