Bistort – Benefits And Uses of Bistort

The leaves and rhizome of older bistort plants are cleaned, freed from green parts, cut up, and dried. Bistort contains 13% to 36% tannins, which give the herb the astringent effects that are helpful in treating diarrhea and sore or dry throat. Bistort powder is used to make an extract, infusion, ointment, or tincture for external use.

Benefits And Uses of Bistort

Bistort is used to treat digestive disorders, particularly diarrhea. It’s also used as a gargle for mouth and throat infections and as an ointment,for minor wounds.


  • Tincture: 10 to 40 gtt diluted in a small amount of water and used as a gargle
  • To treat minor mouth and throat irritations or infections: Infusion made with cold water and used as a gargle or a rinse.

Side Effects of BistortBistort

Bistort tincture contains alcohol and may precipitate a disulfiram or disulfiram like reaction, including flushing, dyspnea, vomiting, syncope, and confusion. There are no reported adverse effects with bistort. As a precaution, pregnant and breast feeding patients should avoid use.

Clinical considerations

  • Bistort is rarely used, and dosage information for internal use is sketchy.
  • Because of the tannin content, overuse may increase mucous formation and irritate the intestines.
  • If patient is pregnant or breast feeding, advise her not to use bistort.
  • Warn patient that herb is rarely used and that few dosage guidelines exist.
  • Instruct patient to keep herb away from children.
  • Tell patient to remind prescriber and pharmacist of any herbal or dietary supplement that he’s taking when obtaining a new prescription.
  • Advise patient to consult his health care provider before using an herbal preparation because a treatment with proven efficacy may be available.
Research summary

The concepts behind the use of bistort and the claims made regarding its effects have not yet been validated scientifically.