Purple Loosestrife Foe or Friend?

Here is one of many free monographs through Herb Rally (explore them all). I had no idea this plant was medicinal and could do so many things!



  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,633 admin

    I've never used purple loosestrife as it doesn't grow near me. Not something that most herb stores carry.

    Its considered an invasive here in BC although it only grows in the extreme southwestern corner of the province. That sure is a lot of seeds for one plant! Interesting about the cross pollination required.

    But if it did grow near me I would certainly do my part to contain it by harvesting and using it. It does have a pretty wide range of uses.

    Great monograph. Nice of Herb Rally to post these for free.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited September 2021

    There are two varieties of Purple loosestrife. One is not invasive and one (at least in out area) is. and after saying that I have a little in one area of the property and it does not spread. I think its location has a lot to do with it. But I do wonder if the birds would spread it by seeds.

    With care, most invasives can be controlled. But there are invasives I do pull or burn out, depending.

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,516 admin
    edited September 2021

    @torey It is considered invasive here too. I'm sure I've seen it, and it is beautiful. I thought it was just that. A beautiful invasive.

    @Monek Marie You can dig up invasives and put them in black garbage bags to cook them. It works very well. When I've done that, I make sure the bag is full.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,457 admin

    Mrs Grieves wrote:

    Loosestrife, Purple

    Botanical: Lythrurn salicaria

    Family: N.O. Lythraceae

    ---Synonyms---Lythrum. Purple Willow Herb. Spiked Loosestrife. Salicaire. Braune or Rother Weiderich. Partyke. Lysimaque rouge. Flowering Sally. Blooming Sally.

    ---Parts Used---Herb, root.

    ---Habitat---Europe, including Britain. Russian and Central Asia. Australia. North America.---Description---This handsome perennial, 2 to 4 feet in height, has a creeping rhizome, four to six angled, erect, reddish-brown stems, lanceolate leaves from 3 to 6 inches long, entire, sometimes opposite, sometimes in whorls clasping the stem, with reddishpurple or pink flowers in whorls forming terminal spikes. It grows in wet or marshy places, varying in different districts in the comparative lengths of stamens and styles, colour of flowers and pollen grains. It is odourless, with an astringent taste. It has been used in tanning leather.

    The name Lythrum is from the Greek luthron, meaning 'gore,' from the colour of the flowers.

    ---Constituents---Mucilage and an astringent principle, but it has not been analysed.

    ---Medicinal Action and Uses---Although scarcely used at present, Loosestrife has been highly esteemed by many herbalists. It is well established in chronic diarrhoea and dysentery, and is used in leucorrhoea and blood-spitting. In Switzerland the decoction was used successfully in an epidemic of dysentery. It has also been employed in fevers, liver diseases, constipation and cholera infantum, and for outward application to wounds and sores.

    It has been stated to be superior to Eyebright for preserving the sight and curing sore eyes, the distilled water being applied for hurts and blows on the eyes and even in blindness if the crystalline humour is not destroyed.

    An ointment may be made with the water 1 OZ. to 2 drachms of May butter without salt, and the same quantity of sugar and wax boiled gently together. It cleanses and heals ulcers and sores, if washed with the water, or covered with the leaves, green or dry according to the season.

    A warm gargle and drink cures quinsy or a scrofulous throat.

    ---Dosages---Of powder, a drachm two to three times a day. Of decoction of root, 2 fluid ounces.

    ---Other Species---

    Lythrum hyssopifolia has similar properties.

    L. verticillatum (Decodon or Swamp Willow-herb) has similar properties, and is said to cure abortion in mares and cows who browse on it.

    A Mexican Salicaria, Apanxaloa, is regarded as an astringent and vulnerary.

    Loosestrife is the common name of many members of the genus Lysimachia.


  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,516 admin

    Thanks, @judsoncarroll4!

    A question, what is a drachm?

  • LaurieLovesLearning
    LaurieLovesLearning Posts: 7,516 admin

    Thanks. I've heard the measurement term before, I just didn't know what it actually was.

  • Monek Marie
    Monek Marie Posts: 3,537 ✭✭✭✭✭

    I have done that @LaurieLovesLearning. I had a so called perennial flower that no one ever wants on their property and it was given to me. I have been bagging it up- for quite a few years to get rid of it