Highlander snake (Polygonum bistorta L)

Highlander serpentine is a perennial herbaceous plant of the buckwheat family (Polygonaceae). Other names: cancer necks, serpentine


Perennial plant with thick, double-curved rhizome, reddish at the break; stem straight, up to 100 cm in height, glabrous, unbranched, with bells at the points of leaf attachment; basal and lower stem leaves are lanceolate with a blunt base, descending into a long winged petiole, the edge of the leaf is slightly wavy; upper leaves almost sessile, narrow. The flowers are small, collected in cylindrical obtuse, thick spikelets 2-6 cm long and 1-1.5 cm wide, pink; stamens protrude from within the flower bed; nuts are trihedral, shiny, within 4 mm in length, brown-brown. Blooms in May-June. The snake mountaineer grows in lowland and flood meadows, most often on peat soil. Found everywhere.


For medicinal purposes, the rhizome of the mountaineer snake – Rhizoma Bistortae is used. Harvesting of raw materials is carried out in the fall. The rhizomes are dug up, the roots and the dying end of the rhizome are cut off, the remains of the stems and basal leaves are cleaned from the ground, washed in cold water and dried in good weather in the open air or in warm, well-ventilated rooms. flattened, with transverse annular thickenings, dark brown on the outside, pinkish at the break, odorless, with a strongly astringent taste.

Contains active substances:

The rhizome of the serpentine contains a large amount of tannins (up to 25%), gallic acid, dyes, some oxymethylanthraquinones and ascorbic acid in a small amount.

Medicinal use:

In medicine, a liquid extract of the serpentine is used internally for acute and chronic diarrhea, externally – for lubrication or rinsing with stomatitis, gingivitis and other inflammatory processes of the oral mucosa. Dry extract, tincture and decoction of serpentine rhizomes are also used. Other products have been proposed – bistalbin, bistismuth, bistoform and bistoiodin. In folk medicine, rhizomes of the mountaineer snake, infused with vodka, are used for gastric diseases (ulcer), dysentery, diseases caused by weight lifting, for women’s diseases, cancer, palpitations, nervous disorders , from diarrhea, chopped wounds are sprinkled with serpentine mountaineer powder, like gastric pr dysentery, serpentine decoction is given to children with epilepsy.

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