Buckbean is more often known as bogbean, marsh trefoil, marsh clover, water shamrock, and bog myrtle.


Buckbean is native to Europe and North America but found in Asia as well. It grows in fens, bogs, along verges of ponds, lakes, and slow-flowing rivers.


Buckbean is a perennial plant that can grow up to 15 to 30 cm in height. The buckbean roots are thick, creeping, and can both be attached to the ground or free-float in water.

 The flower and leaf-bearing stems are erect. At the stem’s base, the alternate and trifoliate leaves are gathered. They are pulpy, coarse, and have thick and long leaf stems. The flowers are white with a pink hint, and the seeds are round and split into two halves.

Part used

The medicinal part is derived from the leaves.

Traditional Uses and Benefits

  • Buckbean has been used traditionally to stimulate appetite and digestion, treat indigestion, cholagogue to stimulate bile, to relieve rheumatism and inflammation.
  • Buckbean leaves have been used as an ague treatment.
  • Fresh leaves juice has proved effective in dropsical cases and, mixed with whey, has been known to cure gout.
  • An infusion is given in treating muscular weakness in chronic infections with debility and exhaustion, indigestion, anorexia, and rheumatism.
  • It is an effective remedy for rheumatoid arthritis, especially when this condition is associated with weakness, weight loss, and lack of vitality.
  • The plant is used for the treatment of heart problems, tuberculosis, asthma, and arthritis.
  • In the present day, it is frequently used to treat various rheumatoid conditions.
  • The plant has also been used for the treatment of gout, migraine, arthritis (rheumatoid arthritis), rheumatism, muscle weakness, and heartburn associated with chronic fatigue syndrome.
  • The plant has been used as an external remedy for wounds for skin rashes, inflammation, itch, eczema, and edema.

Dosage and Precautions

Dosages for oral administration (adults) for traditional uses recommended in older and contemporary standard herbal reference texts are given below.

Dried leaf: 1–2 g dried leaf by infusion three times daily.

Liquid extract: 1–2mL (1: 1 in 25% alcohols) three times daily.

Tincture: 1–3mL (1: 5 in 45% alcohols) three times daily.

Warning: Large doses of bogbean are stated to be purgative and may cause vomiting. Excessive doses can be irritating to the gastrointestinal tract, causing diarrhea, seizure pain, nausea, and vomiting.



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