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Polygonum bistorta L. Polygonaceae Bistort, snakeweed, Easter Ledges. Distribution: Europe, N & W Asia. Culpeper: “... taken inwardly resist pestilence and poison, helps ruptures, and bruises, stays fluxes, vomiting and immoderate flowing of the terms in women, helps inflammations and soreness of the mouth, and fastens loose teeth, being bruised and boiled in white wine and the mouth washed with it.” In modern herbal medicine it is still used for a similar wide variety of internal conditions, but it can also be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. The use to relieve toothache, applied as a paste to the affected tooth, seems to have been widespread. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.
- Dr Henry Oakeley