Buckbean

Scientific Name/Common Name: Menyanthes trifoliata / Buckbean (Bogbean)

Part(s) Used: Leaf

Constituents/Active Ingredients: Anthraquinones (including emodin, aloe-emodin, chrysophanol, and rhein glycosides); flavonoid glycosides (hyperin, kaempferol, quercetin, rutin; alkaloids (gentianin and gentianidine); coumarins; iridoids.

Overview: Buckbean is found in bogs and shallow waters of many areas throughout the northern temperate zone. It largely originates from the former USSR, Poland, former Yugoslavia and Hungary. The dried leaf or root tea was traditionally used as a digestive tonic, and was also used to treat fevers, rheumatism, liver ailments, worms, skin diseases, and as an astringent to stop bleeding. The German Commission E recommends buckbean leaves for treating lack of appetite and dyspeptic complaints. The effects of the infusion and other bitter-tasting preparations for internal use noted by the Commission E are that it stimulates the secretion of gastric juice and saliva. The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia (1990) and British Herbal Compendium (1992) also list buckbean as a bitter herb for treating loss of appetite and dyspepsia. They also note the application of the drug for treating muscular rheumatism. Buckbean was also used traditionally as a food and medicine by aboriginal peoples of British Columbia and Alaska. An extract made by boiling buckbean was used to treat stomach ailments—and it was thought that it would make a person gain weight.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: To stimulate appetite and digestion; to treat indigestion; cholagogue to stimulate bile; to relieve rheumatism and inflammation.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Wichtl M and NG Bisset (Eds). 1994. Menyanthidis folium – Bogbean. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 339-341.  

Bradley PR (ed). 1992. Bogbean. In British Herbal Compendium. Volume 1. A Handbook of Scientific Information on Widely Used Plant Drugs. British Herbal Medicine Association, Bournemouth, Dorset, pp. 41-42. 

Foster S, and Duke JA. 1990. Buckbean, Bogbean in Medicinal Plants. Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, NY, p. 14. 

Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.