persicaria-lapathifloia-smart-weed Smartweed

Medicinal plants play significant roles in promoting the livelihood of human beings and they will ever remain predominant in the pharmaceutical discoveries and inventions of new drugs for sustenance of human health.

Apparently, these past years have recorded an increased structural diversity of molecules present in the plant kingdom from which most of the important compounds for new drugs productions have been unearthed.

Some of these new drugs discoveries have actually exhibited major vital impacts on human beings and more are yet to be discovered. One of such important plants is the smartweed, which is botanically known as polygonum hydropiper. As the name suggests, this plant is actually smart indeed because of its ability to tackle many health-related issues effectively thus its great use in the medical and pharmaceutical world.

Historically, smartweed has been used for producing herbal medicines for treating diseases due to its styptic, astringent, anthelmintic, stomachic, anti-fertility, neuroprotective, oestrogenicity, anti-adipogenicity, diaphoretic, antifungal, stimulating, antifeedant, antinociceptive, cytotoxicity, anticholinesterase, anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, carminative, antibacterial, antioxidant and diuretic properties.

Smartweed (polygonum hydropiper), which is also known as marshpepper knotweed, water-pepper or Persicaria hydropiper is an annual plant with lance-shaped leaves and branched stem that grows up to 3ft in length. The slender flowers look slightly greenish-pink in color with loose racemes that usually dangle at their tips. The plant comprises of 6 to 8 stamens with 2 function-less ones and 2 to 3 styles to the pistil.

Smartweed is characterized by black-dotted looking fruits that are as long as perigon with nut-looking appearance. Smartweed leaf has pungent bitter taste with peppery peppermint flavor,  which suggests its high use in spicing food.

27 Outstanding Benefits of Smartweed (Polygonum Hydropiper)

1. Emmenagogue Properties
Studies reveal that smartweed belongs to the category of herbs known as emmenagogues. Emmenagogue herbs are distinguished by their ability to stimulate blood flow in the uterus and around the pelvic regions of women. Due to this unique character of these herbs, some women do use them for regulating menstrual irregularities, preventing ovulation, preventing pregnancy and for inducing abortion. Other emmenagogue herbs include; parsley, mugwort and chamomile.

2. Antioxidant Activity
Smartweed is very beneficial to human health because it defends the body against oxidation from free radicals and toxins. Oxidation causes aging and being that it cannot be stopped, there is need to use antioxidants such as smartweed as a defense against it. The experiments on the effectiveness of smartweed as an antioxidant gave positive findings thus its great importance in supporting the healthy functioning of the body.

3. Treatment of Cholera
A hot decoction of smartweed plant serves as a remedy for cholera. Cholera is a bacterial infection caused by drinking contaminated water or contaminated food. Soft cloth can be soaked in aqueous hot decoction of smartweed, which is wrapped around the patient immediately the symptoms are noticed.

4. Respiratory Ailments Treatment
Smartweed can be used for preparing herbal medicines that clear the respiratory tracts and alleviate nasal discharge. Herbal concoctions of smartweed herbs can also be used for treating asthma, cough, sore throats and upper respiratory infections.

5. Culinary Purposes
Smartweed (Persicaria hydropiper) is very pepperish, which suggests why it is often used as a hotty spice for flavoring and garnishing food. The aqueous ethanol leaf extract of smartweed is used as food preservatives. The sprouted seeds of smartweed can be used for garnishing salads.

6. Stops Excessive Bleeding
The smartweed leaves consist of rutin that supports and strengthens the fragile capillaries of the blood stream thereby stopping excessive bleeding as well as preventing unwanted bleeding.

7. Treatment of Excessive Menstrual Bleeding and Pain
The smartweed plant can be decocted and used for treating haemorrhoids and excessive menstrual bleeding. It also helps to stop menstrual pains.

8. Antifeedant Properties
Smartweed can be squeezed and rubbed on the skin to stop itching from insect bites.

9. Treatment of Indigestion
Smartweed is carminative in nature thus can be taken to prevent the formation of gas in the intestines. Smartweed helps to expel unwanted gas from the intestines as well as prevents flatulence.

10. Anticancer
The smartweed seeds and leaves are used in traditional medicine for fighting against cancer. This is because smartweed is an anticancer herb, thus so effective against cancer.

11. Treatment of Diuresis
Smartweed has the ability to stop excessive passage of urine otherwise known as diuresis.

12. Treatment of Gastrointestinal Distress
The smartweed plant can be used alone or combined with other herbs, for treating gastrointestinal distress such as bloating and diarrhoea.

13. Anti-inflammatory Properties
The smartweed herb can be squeezed and applied on an inflamed body part in order to relieve soreness and inflammation.

14. Treatment of Piles
Herbal medicines from smartweed can be used for treating piles.

15. Oral contraceptives
Chinese researchers categorized the smartweed among anti-fertility drugs thus can act as an oral contraceptive for preventing conception and fertilization.

16. Epilepsy Remedy
Researchers reveal that smartweed can be combined with gum myrrh and tonics for treating epilepsy.

17. Treatment of Gastric Ulcer
Smartweed extract can be used for treating gastric ulcer due to its high quercetin content. Quercetin is a flavonoid that has antioxidant behavior.

18. Cure for Dysentery
The smartweed can be infused in cold water and the fluid extract can be taken by patients suffering from dysentery.

19. Treatment of Earache
Some researchers claim that few drops of aqueous smartweed extracts into the ear can destroy worms that cause earache.

20. Treatment of Toothache
The root of smartweed plant can be chewed for treating toothache and lessening discomfort on an inflamed gum and aching tooth.

21. Treatment of Jaundice
The squeezed extracts of fresh smartweed is very helpful in combating jaundice.

22. Remedy for Colic Pain
Smartweed leaf extracts can be taken to relieve colic pain.

23. Dye
The smartweed plant can be used as natural dyes for dyeing.

24. Treatment of Headache
Certain tribe of Tripura combines the smartweed leaves with black pepper for treating headache.

25. Loss of Appetite
Smartweed leaf extract can be taken to combat loss of appetite.

26. Antibacterial properties
Smartweed can be used for producing herbal medicines that fight bacterial infections such as E. Coli, Enterococus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus because the herb is toxic on these bacterias.

27. Antifungal Properties
Smartweed can be used as a protection against fungal infections such as Candida yeast by suppressing these fungi from growing.

Use smartweed (polygonum hydropiper) with caution!!! Smartweed can cause pregnancy termination thus pregnant women should avoid taking it. Besides, smartweed can lead to chronic sterility if taken constantly beyond one year.

Having read through all these astounding benefits of the smartweed, it will be highly appreciated if you leave your opinion or ask related questions in the comment section. Every opinion counts!!!

This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnostic and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.

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2. Liu, Q., Luyten, W., Pellens, K., Wang, Y., Wang, W., Thevissen, K., Liang, Q., Cammue, B. P., Schoofs, L. and Luo, G. (2012), Antifungal activity in plants from Chinese traditional and folk medicine, Journal of Ethnopharmacol;143(3): pp.772-775.

3. Hawry, M. A. and Waksmundzka-Hajnos, M. (2011), Two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography of selected Polygonum sp. extracts on polar-bonded stationary phases,” Journal of Chromatography A, vol. 1218, no. 19, pp. 2812–2815.

4. Huq, A. K. M. M., Jamal, J. A. and Stanslas, J. (2014), Ethnobotanical, Phytochemical, Pharmacological, and Toxicological Aspects of Persicaria hydropiper (L.) Delarbre, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, pp.1-5.

5. Miyazawa, M. and Tamura, N. (2007), Inhibitory compound of tyrosinase activity from the sprout of Polygonum hydropiper L. (Benitade), Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 595–596.

6. Naik, T. V. (2014), An Ethno-Medico-Botanical Study of Honnali Taluk, Journal of Chemical, Biological and Physical Sciences, , Vol. 4, No. 2, pp. 1171-1172.

7. Sarmah, M., Rahman, A., Phukan, A. K. and Gurusubramanian, G. (2009), Effect of aqueous plant extracts on tea red spider mite, Oligonychus coffeae, Nietner (Tetranychidae: Acarina) and Stethorus gilvifrons Mulsant, African Journal of Biotechnology Vol. 8 (3), pp. 417-420.

8. Sarmah M, Rahman A, Phukan AK, Gurusubramanian G (2006). Ovicidal, acaricidal and antifeedant activity of crude extracts of Polygonum hydropiper L. (Polygonaceae) against red spider mite and bunch caterpillar and its effect on Stethorus gilvifrons Mulsant. Uttarpradesh, Journal of Zoology, 3(2): 127-130.

9. Uddin, K., Rahman, A. H. M. M. and Islam, A. K. M. R. (2014), Taxonomy and Traditional Medicine Practices of Polygonaceae (Smartweed) Family at Rajshahi, Bangladesh, International Journal of Advanced Research, Volume 2, Issue 11, pp. 459-462.

10. WikimediaImages (2015), Smartweed, accessed online Accessed online: 26/09/2015


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