The Medicinal Herb Info site was created to help educate visitors about the often forgotten wisdom of the old ways of treating illnesses. Many of today's drugs and medicines were originally derived from natural ingredients, combinations of plants and other items found in nature.

We are not suggesting that you ignore the help of trained medical professionals, simply that you have additional options available for treating illnesses. Often the most effective treatment involves a responsible blend of both modern and traditional treatments.

We wish you peace and health!

Bitter Milkwort

Scientific Names

Bitter Milkwort

  • Polygala amara L.
  • Polygalaceae
  • Milkwort family

Common Names

  • Dwarf milkwort
  • European bitter polygala
  • European senega snakeroot
  • Evergreen snakeroot
  • Flowering wintergreen
  • Fringed polygala
  • Little pollom

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Parts Usually Used

The entire plant
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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Bitter milkwort is a European perennial plant; the usually simple stem, only 4-6 inches high, rises from a rosette of obovate basal leaves and itself bears alternate, oblong-ovate leaves. Terminal racemes of blue, sometimes rose-colored or white, flowers appear from April to June.

Other varieties: P. vulgaris; P. senega; P. sibirica (Siberian milkwort); P. reinii (Chinese milkwort).
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Where Found

Grows in the dry parts of wet meadows and in sunny, rocky places, preferring limestone soils.
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Medicinal Properties

Bitter tonic, diaphoretic, expectorant, galactagogue
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Commonly used for coughs, chronic bronchitis, and other chronic lung problems, arouse a sluggish appetite. Extended use of the rootstock is useful in relieving chronic diarrhea. Nursing mothers may increase milk flow using bitter milkwort.
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Formulas or Dosages

The best plants grow in dry areas.

Infusion: use 1 tsp. of the plant with 1 cup boiling water. Take 1 cup a day.

Decoction: use 4 tbsp. leaves with 3/4 cup water. Boil for an extended time. Take 1 tbsp. every 3 hours.

Powder: take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. at a time.
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Buy It! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

Buy It! Chinese Medicinal Herbs, compiled by Shih-Chen Li, Georgetown Press, San Francisco, California, 1973.

Buy It! The Herb Book, by John Lust, Bantam Books, 666 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY. copyright 1974.

Buy It! Indian Herbalogy of North America, by Alma R. Hutchens, Shambala Publications, Inc., Horticultural Hall, 300 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, 1973

Buy It! Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, Victoria Neufeldt, Editor in Chief, New World Dictionaries: A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., 15 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10023

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