The Benefits of Smartweed (Polygonum hydropiperoides)

Dr. Group
by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM
Published on , Last Updated on

Smartweed Polygonum hydropiperoides

Smartweed, also known as Polygonum hydropiperoides, is a plant that grows in low, wet environments throughout North and South America. Smartweed possesses powerful nutritional properties that have been traditionally used for respiratory support, to relieve bloating, and for gastrointestinal distress. The recognized benefits of smartweed are not exclusive to herbal or traditional therapies, either. Recent studies have confirmed the numerous positives that natural healers have known about for years.

Support for Health

Smartweed has a history of use in Peru to combat bacterial infections. Although traditional use does not always cut the mustard when pitted against scientific testing, it seems that the argument for smartweed is with merit. In a 2010 study, researchers pitted its effectiveness (along with 140 other plant species) against e. Coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Not only did smartweed exhibit toxicity to the bacteria, it did so with one of the lowest minimum inhibitory concentrations of all the plants tested. [1] It seems a little goes a long way.

Why does smartweed have this effect? The answer is perhaps best explained by research conducted in 2010 at Loyola College in India where researchers isolated confertifolin, an active compound in smartweed, and found it to have an action against several types of harmful organisms, including Enterococus faecalis — a bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections in humans. [2]

Candidate for Fungal Cleansing

Candida is a type of yeast that nearly every person has on their skin. Most of the time, it’s a modest amount that does not cause disruptions. However, when an overgrowth of Candida happens — watch out. It seems though that smartweed can offer some protection against Candida overgrowth. Late last year, researchers at Beijing’s Tsinghua University School of Medicine tested smartweed against Candida and reported that it inhibited Candida growth by more than 50%. [3]

Reduces Redness and Swelling

For persons with degenerative bone and joint problems, redness and swelling is a common problem that can cause extreme discomfort. Smartweed has a long, storied use in Asian countries for relieving this sort of irritation. In 2012, Korean scientists evaluated the plant to determine if the traditional use carried any weight. The findings were positive. Not only did they report that smartweed was able to inhibit the enzymes that produce redness and swelling, it seems that it is also a natural remedy for gastritis due to its quercetin content — a flavonoid with potent antioxidant behavior. [4]

Antioxidant Activity

One of the most commonly cited benefits of fruits and vegetables — and plants in general — is antioxidant content. Antioxidants are beneficial because they provide a form of defense against oxidation from free radicals. Oxidation, which you may simply think of as “aging” or “wearing out” is a constant threat that comes from toxins of all types. While oxidation cannot be stopped, it can be lessened, and antioxidants are the defense. The efficacy of antioxidants in support of neural, cardiovascular, and gastrointestinal health has been thoroughly demonstrated. As with many therapeutic plants, the antioxidant capacity of smartweed has been examined repeatedly and the findings have been positive. [5] [6] [7]

Smartweed: A Fantastic Herb for All-Around Health

The documented benefits of smartweed make it a very viable option in your nutritional arsenal for supporting good health and defending yourself against Candida and other unfriendly organisms. Have you supplemented with smartweed? What results have you noticed? Please leave a comment below and share your experience with us!

References:

  1. Bussmann RW, Malca-García G, Glenn A, Sharon D, Chait G, Díaz D, Pourmand K, Jonat B, Somogy S, Guardado G, Aguirre C, Chan R, Meyer K, Kuhlman A, Townesmith A, Effio-Carbajal J, Frías-Fernandez F, Benito M. Minimum inhibitory concentrations of medicinal plants used in Northern Peru as antibacterial remedies. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Oct 28;132(1):101-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.07.048. Epub 2010 Aug 1.
  2. Duraipandiyan V, Indwar F, Ignacimuthu S. Antimicrobial activity of confertifolin from Polygonum hydropiper. Pharm Biol. 2010 Feb;48(2):187-90. doi: 10.3109/13880200902902471.
  3. Liu Q, Luyten W, Pellens K, Wang Y, Wang W, Thevissen K, Liang Q, Cammue BP, Schoofs L, Luo G. Antifungal activity in plants from Chinese traditional and folk medicine. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Oct 11;143(3):772-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.06.019. Epub 2012 Jul 31.
  4. Yang Y, Yu T, Jang HJ, Byeon SE, Song SY, Lee BH, Rhee MH, Kim TW, Lee J, Hong S, Cho JY. In vitro and in vivo anti-inflammatory activities of Polygonum hydropiper methanol extract. J Ethnopharmacol. 2012 Jan 31;139(2):616-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.12.003. Epub 2011 Dec 13.
  5. Michael L. Zimmermann , Albert T. Sneden. Vanicosides A and B, Protein Kinase C Inhibitors from Polygonum pensylvanicum. J. Nat. Prod., 1994, 57 (2), pp 236–242 DOI: 10.1021/np50104a007.
  6. Kiem PV, Nhiem NX, Cuong NX, Hoa TQ, Huong HT, Huong le M, Minh CV, Kim YH. New phenylpropanoid esters of sucrose from Polygonum hydropiper and their antioxidant activity. Arch Pharm Res. 2008 Nov;31(11):1477-82. doi: 10.1007/s12272-001-2133-y. Epub 2008 Nov 21.
  7. Yang X, Wang BC, Zhang X, Yang SP, Li W, Tang Q, Singh GK. Simultaneous determination of nine flavonoids in Polygonum hydropiper L. samples using nanomagnetic powder three-phase hollow fibre-based liquid-phase microextraction combined with ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2011 Jan 25;54(2):311-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jpba.2010.08.026. Epub 2010 Sep 28.

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