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!

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Loosestrife

Scientific Names

Loosestrife

  • Lythrum salicaria L.
  • Lythraceae
  • Primrose family

Common Names

  • Chen-chu-ts’ai (Chinese name)
  • Grass-poly
  • Long purples
  • Milk willow-herb
  • P’ai-ts’ao
  • Purple loose-strife
  • Purple willow-herb
  • Rainbow weed
  • Soldiers
  • Spiked loosestrife
  • Spiked willow-herb
  • Willow sage

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Parts Usually Used

The whole plant, fresh or dried in the shade

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Description of Plant(s) and Culture

Loosestrife is a bushy, erect, perennial plant with a clump of unbranched, four-angled, tall leafy stems; the square, hairy stem grows 2-4 feet high and bears heart-shaped, lanceolate, downy leaves. The lance-shaped leaves grow in opposite pairs or in whorls of three, their bases clasping the stems. Whorls of purple six-petaled flowers grow in the axils off the upper leaves in dense terminal spikes from June to August.

Another variety: Whorled loosestrife (Lysimachia quadrifolia).
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Where Found

Settled in swamps, marshes, along lakes and rivers, wet meadows, roadside ditches, and moist places in the eastern United States after being introduced from Europe. From Newfoundland to Minnesota and south to Virginia and Missouri.
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Medicinal Properties

Astringent, styptic, demulcent, alterative
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Biochemical Information

A glycoside, polyphenolic tannins, pectin and essential oil
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Uses

Loosestrife is effective against diarrhea, including simple diarrhea and that associated with serious illnesses such as dysentery and typhoid fever. The infusion or fluid extract is used for gastroenteritis and is particularly useful for diarrhea in infants. It helps to stop internal bleeding, and it works without producing constipation. Reduces inflammation, relieves hoarseness, and feverish colds. A cold compress of the herb stops bleeding from wounds and cuts; helps bruises and sores to heal. Sometimes used as a gargle for sore throats, or a douche for leukorrhea.

Externally, it is used as an eyewash for ophthalmia, sore eyes, and various skin diseases.
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Formulas or Dosages

Infusion: steep 1 oz. fresh herb in 1 cup water.

Decoction: boil 1 oz. herb in 1 pint of water until 1 cup liquid remains. Take 4 tbsp., 3 times a day.

Fluid extract: usual dose for infants is 10-15 drops; for adults, 1 tsp.

For gargle: with infusion or with 10 drops diluted in a glass of warm water.
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Bibliography

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

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! Culpeper’s Complete Herbal & English Physician: Updated With 117 Modern Herbs, by Nicholas Culpeper, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1990, (reprint of 1814)

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

Buy It!The Magic of Herbs, by David Conway, published by Jonathan Cape, Thirty Bedford Square, London, England. (Out of print)

Buy It! Planetary Herbology, by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., O.M.D., Lotus Press, PO Box 325, Twin Lakes. WI 53181., Copyright 1988, published 1992

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

Buy It! The Complete Medicinal Herbal, by Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, Inc, 232 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, First American Edition, copyright 1993

Buy It! An Instant Guide to Medicinal Plants, by Pamela Forey and Ruth Lindsay, Crescent Books (January 27, 1992).

Buy It! The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, by Dr. David Frawley & Dr. Vasant Lad, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, Second edition, 1988.

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