Menyanthes_trifoliata, bogbean

Menyanthes trifoliata-Bogbean

Family: Menyanthaceae

Other Names : Buckbean, Marsh Trefoil, Water Trefoil, Marsh Clover,

Habitat : Marshy ground in Britain and Europe.

hazardsmallLarge doses may cause abdominal pains, nausea, diarrhoea and vomiting. Reports of red cell damage (haemolysis). Effects may be due to the salicylic acid constituent.

Collection : The leaves are best collected between May and July. The maybe dried in the sun or under moderate heat.

Menyanthes_trifoliata, BogbeanDescription of Bogbean:

Menyanthes trifoliata,Bogbean is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.3 m (1ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone 3. It is in flower from May to July. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Bees, lepidoptera.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid and neutral soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers wet soil and can grow in water.

Cultivation of Bogbean:

Grow in a bog garden in wet peaty soil or in shallow water at the edge of a pond. Prefers acid conditions. Succeeds in water up to 30cm deep. Dislikes shade. Plants can be very invasive, spreading by means of long-creeping thick surface rhizomes . A very hardy plant, tolerating temperatures down to about -25°c. Cats are very fond of this plant.

Propagation of Bogbean:

Do not allow the seed to dry out. Sow late winter to early spring in a pot in a cold frame and keep the pot just submerged in water. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in trays of water in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Division in spring. Very easy, the divisions can be planted straight out into their permanent positions if required. However, particularly with smaller divisions, we find it better to pot them up and grow them on in a cold frame for a few weeks until they are established. Cuttings taken in summer can be inserted into the mud at the side of the pond and will normally root well.

Culinary uses of Bogbean:

Edible Parts: Root.
Edible Uses: Condiment.

Root – cooked . It must be treated to get rid of an acrid taste . This can be done by drying the root, grinding it into a powder and then washing it in running water. Unfortunately, this treatment will also get rid of many of the vitamins and minerals contained in the root . The powder can be used for making ‘missen bread’ (famine bread . The root is an emergency food that is used when all else fails. The intensely bitter leaves are used as a substitute for hops in making beer .

Menyanthes_Trifoliata_botanicalMedicinal uses of Bogbean:

Actions : Bitter, diuretic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic.

Part Used : Leaves.

Indications :

Bogbean is a most useful herb for the treatment of rheumatism, osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It has a stimulating effect upon the walls of the colon which will act as an aperient, but it should not be used to help rheumatism where there is any colitis or diarrhea. It has a marked stimulating action on the digestive juices and on bile-flow and so will aid in debilitated states that are due to sluggish digestion, indigestion and problems of the liver and gall-bladder.

Combinations :

For the treatment of rheumatic conditions it will combine well with Black Cohosh and Celery Seed.

Preparations & Dosage of Bogbean:

Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto l-2 teaspoonfuls of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day.

Tincture: take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Esoteric uses of  Bogbean:

None known but if you use it for any purpose please let us know!

The Chemistry:

Constituents :

  • Anthraquinone derivatives, including emodin, aloe-emodin, chrysophanol and rhein glycosides, frangula-emodin, rhamnicoside alaterin and physcion.
  • Flavonoid glycosides.