The dry grounded leaves of the smartweed plant can be used as a substitute for white and black pepper, mainly when this spice is seldom found. Dioscorides recommended it as a revulsive in external applications.
Smartweed Scientific Facts
- Scientific Name – Polygonum hydropiper L.
- Other Names – Water pepper.
- French – Poivre d’eau.
- Spanish – Pimienta acuática.
- Environment – Warm and humid regions of Europe and North America.
- Description – Annual plant of the Polygonaceae family, growing from 30 to 60 cm high, with reddish stem and knots that feature this botanical family and whitish or greenish small flowers.
- Parts of the plant used medicinally – All aerial parts of the fresh plant.
The entire plant contains an essential oil rich in terpenic substances, flavonoids (rhutine or vitamin P), and tannins. Its most important property is the hemostatic action (it stops bleeding), supposedly due to its content of vitamin P. In internal use, it has been successfully employed to stop airway bleeding (hematuria) and stop excessive menstruation. It has a diuretic effect, too.
How to use Smartweed
- Infusion with 15 grams of plant per liter of water, drinking two or three cups a day.
- The powder or dried leaves is used as a spice.
- Fresh juice is applied, diluted in water, directly on the skin as a lotion or soaking a compress.
George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 274. Print.