Bur Marigold (Bidens pilosa)
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Ian Powell
Posted on: August 18, 2000

I asked a question about Bur Marigold, also known as Water Agrimony plant. Its use in Chinese medicine is described in your catalogue. I have not found any reference to such a plant in my books and would like to know where that information came from or perhaps more detail.

Some books describe a related species, Bidens tripartita. For example, Bartram’s "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine" (available from Richters), says the dried leaves and stems of this herb are used. It has anti-hemorrhage, astringent, diuretic and diaphoretic properties. Bartram says that to stop bleeding, it is only used with other herbs. So, for example, it is used blood in urine, bleeding gastric ulcers, blood from the lungs, ulcerative colitis and heavy menstruation.

Andrew Chevallier, in his "Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants" (also available from Richters) says much the same about Bidens tripartita, except that in the case of ulcerative colitis, bur marigold should be combined with a herb that reduces flatulence such as ginger.

Chevallier does mention Bidens pilosa briefly. He says that it is a South American herb that now grows "throughout much of Africa and Australia." We would add that it is occurs in some areas of Asia, such as Nepal and China, where it has been adopted into the local herbal medicinal systems. According to Chevallier, this species is used in Africa to treat diarrhea, and in the Caribbean to induce(!) menstruation.

In Richters catalogue, Bidens pilosa is described as a Chinese medicinal herb. It is listed in some of the more comprehensive Chinese medicinal texts which, unfortunately, are not easily accessible. The five volume "Chinese Medicinal Herbs of Taiwan", for example, is where we got the information in our catalogue. For colds and fevers, the whole herb is taken with several other herbs (including mint) as a decoction. For acute appendicitis, it is taken as a decoction prepared with 60-120 grams of dried herb; the resulting decoction is divided into four doses taken over the course of a day.

I wrote a longer message involving some discrepencies and don’t know if it was recieved as I recieved ordering information. I am assuming that I just sent the message to the wrong place.

Our apologies about the lack of communication. It is possible you sent your query to one of our autoresponder addresses, such as info@richters.com . Email sent to these addresses is not monitored by anyone. Email to info@richters.com would get an automatic response about ordering from Richters.

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