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Family: Lythraceae (Loosestrife)

Latin names: Lythrum salicaria

Common names: Spiked loosestrife, Purple lythrum, Flowering Sally

Parts Used:  Herb (top 30-40% of the plant)

Constituents: Tannins; mucilage; pectin; essential oil; provitamin A; calcium oxylate; a glycoside, vitexin 1

 

Description

Thought of as an invasive nuisance to many people, especially duck hunters, Purple loosestrife is an adaptable and long-lived species.  It is this adaptability that caused it to spread at an alarming rate when it was introduced in North America.  When found in an area with water sources, it can disrupt water flow, and therefore cause a sharp decline in the biodiversity of the area.  A single plant can produce up to 3 million seeds, making it a very difficult plant to eradicate.

It should be noted that not all people find Lythrum a problem.  Beekeepers rely on this plant as source of late season pollen and nectar for their hives.

Purple loosestrife is a tall, upright herbaceous perennial plant. Forming colonies, this plant can grow 1-1.5 metres tall.  A single root mass can have numerous erect stems growing from it.  The flowers, reddish purple in colour, are produced in whorled spikes from mid-summer to mid-autumn.  There are three different flower types which have stamens and styles of different lengths.  Each flower can only be pollinated by one of the other types.  This ensures cross-pollination between different plants.

Although finding information on the medicinal uses of this herb can be difficult, Lythrum has a long history of use in European folk medicine.  It was most notably used during the cholera outbreaks in that region during the 19th century.

 loosestrife

Therapeutic Properties

Antiallergenic, anticatarrhal, antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiulcerogenic, astringent, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, febrifuge, hemostatic, lymphatic, nervine, pancreatic, styptic, tranquilizer, vascular tonic, vulnerary

 

Medicinal Uses

Epithelial

  • Topical à bites, cuts, stings, bleeding or wheeping wounds
  • Local à ulcers in the mouth when used as a rinse
  • Internal à GI inflammation (including sore throats)

Urinary system

  • Inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract (incl. chronic conditions)

Lymphatic system

  • Inflammatory conditions of the lymphatic system (incl. chronic conditions)
  • Congestion in the lymphatic system (incl. lymph nodes)

Pancreas

  • Hypoglycaemia, diabetes

 

Contraindications

  • Due to its astringency it is not recommended to combine Lythrum with other moderate to strong astringents.
  • It has a mild effect on the female reproductive system and should therefore be used with caution during pregnancy and lactation.
  • Use with caution while on antidiabetic, anticonvulsant, sedative or mood-altering medications.
  • Use to a maximum of 50% in a formulation.  Do not exceed 4-6 months at chronic doses.

Magical Properties

Gender: Feminine

Planet: Moon

Element: Earth

Powers: Peace, protection

Magical Uses:

Brings about protection and peaceful energies when placed in the home.

Give to a friend to help settle an argument.

References:

Chartered Herbalist Course Book 2 – Dominion Herbal College1

Class Notes – Living Earth School

Culpeper’s Complete Herbal – Nicholas Culpeper

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham

New Encylopedia of Herbs & Their Uses – Deni Bown