Pepper bitters (water pepper)

PEPPER BITTER (WATER PEPPER) —

 

Polygonum hydropiper L.

Buckwheat family — Polygonaceae

 

What does it look like? Annual herbaceous plant 30-70 cm tall. The stem is hollow, knotty, branched in the upper part, reddish. The leaves are alternate, oblong-lanceolate, often with black spots, whole, glabrous, with bells at the base, the taste is bitter and hot-peppery. The flowers are small, collected in drooping curved, intermittent panicles, greenish, often pink on top; perianth with 4-5 hylicose dividing lobes, sown with golden specks containing resinous substances. Blooms in July – August.

Where does it grow? Almost throughout the territory of Ukraine, with the exception of the Polygon Steppe and the Crimea, in wet places, near rivers, ponds, ditches, in moist woodlands.

What and when are collected? All grass during flowering, at the end of summer, cutting it above the ground.

When is it used? As a hemostatic, pain reliever, mainly for uterine bleeding (menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea, after miscarriages and childbirth), for hemorrhoids (the plant contains vitamin K – naphthoquinone compounds; tannins; a little volatile oil; flavonoids – hyperoside, isorhamnetin, rutin, quercetin, polygopiperine glycoside; organic acids – a lot of potassium nitrate), but it is weaker in effect than cornflowers. In the form of tea, take 1 tablespoon of chopped pepper mustard herb per 1 glass of boiling water, infuse for 10 minutes. They drink 1-2 glasses a day, in sips. Tincture on alcohol (1 : 4) is used for 20 drops three times a day.

M. A. Nosal recommends a decoction of the plant for sitting fifteen-minute baths for hemorrhoids. To do this, take a full handful of pepper mustard for 2 liters of water , boil for 15 minutes and infuse for 20 minutes. Pour into a basin, add 2 cups of very hot milk, in which 400 g of crushed white bread was cooked. Baths are taken daily for a month. It is used to make an ointment in the treatment of hemorrhoidal ulcers with pain and itching in the anus (see Common flaxseed).

In case of a headache, instead of mustard, crushed fresh peppermint grass is applied to the back of the head , which acts more strongly than dried. Fresh plant juice is applied to animals’ wounds to prevent flies from landing on them; freshly salted meat is covered with fresh leaves so that flies do not lay eggs there.

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