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Buck Bean

    Scientific Names

    Buck Bean
    • Menyanthes trijoliata L.
    • Gentian family

    Common Names

    ivyBean trefoil
    ivyBitter trefoil
    ivyBog myrtle (Myrica gale)
    ivyBrook bean
    ivyMarsh clover
    ivyMarsh trefoil
    ivyWater shamrock
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    Parts Usually Used

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    Description of Plant(s) and Culture

    Buck bean is a perennial water plant; the black, branching, jointed rootstock sends up a flower stem dilated at the base, as well as the dark green ternate leaves with obovate, sessile leaflets. The racemed flowers are white inside, rose-colored outside. (Note the clover-like leaves arising from the root). Flowers are 5-parted, petals have fuzzy beards; bloom April to July.
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    Where Found

    Found on the shorelines, bogs, shallow water, in the ditches and marshy meadows of Pacific North America, Canada, Alaska, and Eurasia. Eastern and north central states of the United States have a smaller variety.
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    Medicinal Properties

    Bitter tonic, cathartic, febrifuge, diuretic, anthelmintic, emetic
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    Biochemical Information

    Used as flavoring and for beer making.

    Native Americans cut the nicotine in tobacco by using buck bean leaves. Smoked alone or mixed with tobacco. Science confirms phenolic acids may be responsible for bile-secreting, digestive tonic, and bitter qualities.
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    Buck bean tea is used to relieve fever, migraine headaches, indigestion, or to promote appetite, rheumatism, scrofula, scurvy, jaundice, skin diseases, dropsy, stops bleeding, liver and kidney troubles, in large doses it is a purgative. Externally, buck bean can be used for ulcerous sores, and for herpes. Expels worms.
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    Formulas or Dosages

    Infusion: use 1 tbsp. dried leaves with 1 cup water. Steep for 15 minutes, and take 1 cup a day, unsweetened, a mouthful at a time. To stimulate appetite, take 1/2 cup about 30 minutes before eating. Infusion may be flavored with licorice, or sweetened with honey if unable to tolerate.

    Cold extract: use 2 tsp. leaves to 1 cup cold water. Let stand for 8 hours.

    Powder: take 1/2 to 1 tsp., 3 times a day.

    Capsules: 1 capsule 3 times a day.
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    How Sold

    Capsules, powder
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    Fresh plant causes vomiting.
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    Buy It! American Folk Medicine/i>, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, 1973

    Buy It! Back to Eden, by Jethro Kloss; Back to Eden Publishing Co., Loma Linda, CA 92354, Original copyright 1939, revised edition 1994

    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! Eastern/Central Medicinal Plants, by Steven Foster and James A. Duke., Houghton Mifflin Company, 215 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10000

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

    Buy It! Old Ways Rediscovered, by Clarence Meyer, Meyerbooks, publisher, PO Box 427, Glenwood, Illinois 60425, published from 1954, print 1988

    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.

    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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