Herb: Joint Weed


Latin name: Polygonum barbatum


Synonyms: Persicaria barbata


Family: Polygonaceae (Buckwheat Family)



Medicinal use of Joint Weed:

The seeds are used to relieve the griping pains of colic. The root is astringent and cooling. A paste of the root is used externally in the treatment of scabies.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Perennial


Height:
75 cm
(2 feet)

Flovering:
August to
September

Habitat of the herb:

Depressions in shaded situations, 1700 - 1900 metres in the western Himalayas. Streamsides, wet areas and the sides of water from sea level to 1300 metres in wesern and southern China.

Edible parts of Joint Weed:

Tender young leaves and shoots - cooked as a vegetable. They have a somewhat pungent flavour.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - sow spring in a cold frame. Germination is usually free and easy. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer if they have reached sufficient size. If not, overwinter them in a cold frame and plant them out the following spring after the last expected frosts. Division in spring or autumn. Very easy, larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is better to pot up the smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a cold frame until they are well established before planting them out in late spring or early summer.

Cultivation of Joint Weed:

Depressions in shaded situations, 1700 - 1900 metres in the western Himalayas. Streamsides, wet areas and the sides of water from sea level to 1300 metres in wesern and southern China.

Known hazards of Polygonum barbatum:

Although no specific mention has been made for this species, there have been reports that some members of this genus can cause photosensitivity in susceptible people. Many species also contain oxalic acid (the distinctive lemony flavour of sorrel) - whilst not toxic this substance can bind up other minerals making them unavailable to the body and leading to mineral deficiency. Having said that, a number of common foods such as sorrel and rhubarb contain oxalic acid and the leaves of most members of this genus are nutritious and beneficial to eat in moderate quantities. Cooking the leaves will reduce their content of oxalic acid. People with a tendency to rheumatism, arthritis, gout, kidney stones or hyperacidity should take especial caution if including this plant in their diet since it can aggravate their condition.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.