Popular names: veal tongue, viper grass, snake root, meadow mountaineer, cancer necks.
Parts used: rhizome.
Pharmacy name: rhizome of mountaineer snake – Bistortae rhizoma (formerly: Rhizoma Bistortae).
Botanical description. Perennial herb, 30-120 cm tall, with an S-twisted, transversely annulated rhizome, covered with numerous roots, reddish-brown inside. Basal leaves are large, dark green on the upper side, gray-gray below. The petioles are trihedral, the leaf blade is wavy along the edge. The stem ends with a large spiky inflorescence. The flowers are small, light or dark pink. Blooms from May to July. Highlander snake is abundant in meadows with rich soil; it can be found along the banks of rivers, and on light forest lawns.
Collection and preparation. It is possible to harvest the highlander, the medicinal raw material of which is the rhizome, all year round, but it is best in May, when it contains the largest number of tannins. In Switzerland, it is harvested in August-September. After washing off dirt, the rhizome is cut lengthwise and laid out in the sun to dry.
active ingredients. The only important active ingredient is tannin. Like all roots and rhizomes, the raw material also contains starch and protein.
Healing action and application. Highlander serpentine serves mainly as a source of tannins, therefore it is successfully used for diarrhea and as a means for rinsing the mouth and throat with inflammation. Its action can be compared to some extent with oak bark and galangal, although it is used less frequently.
Application in folk medicine. In the first place in the use of the mountaineer is tea as a means for gargling the throat and mouth with all kinds of inflammations, as well as an internal remedy for all kinds of diarrhea, especially accompanied by gases and colic. When caring for wounds, it can be used as lotions and washes.
- Knotweed tea: Pour 2 teaspoons with the top of the raw material into 1/4 liter of warm water. Tea is infused for 5 hours, stirring occasionally. After straining, the infusion (tea) is ready for use. Sometimes mountaineer serpentine is taken simply crushed into powder on the tip of a knife.
Side effects. It is harmful for people with sensitive stomachs to take large amounts of tannins, so they should beware of this remedy.