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Smartweed (Polygonum hydropiperoides)
Smartweed or polygonum hydropiperoides is a common perennial plant that grows in moist soils or shallow water. It can be found in swamps and ponds and is quite common in the United States, especially Florida. It is often found along damp roadsides or in wet ditches. Its name means, "looks like water pepper."
Smartweed is a member of the buckwheat family and can grow up to four feels tall with lance-shaped leaves bearing pinkish-green flowers blooming June through November. If growing in partial shade, the leaves may bend toward the light but are otherwise straight. Smartweed belongs to a rather large group of plants in the genus Polygonum tribe, which hosts a variety of Smartweeds. The common trait in the group is they all have a pepper-like, acrid taste. The nectar contained in flower attracts many different types of insects including butterflies, moths, and bees. It also provides nourishment and shelter for doves, ducks and other waterfowl.
Many herbal supporters believe that Smartweed contains many beneficial nutritional components that are recommended for gastrointestinal problems including bloating and can also be used for respiratory ailments. As an example, Smartweed is known to be used in Peru to fight bacterial infections. There are those individuals who believe that ingesting Smartweed as a tea will stop hemorrhoids from bleeding and to alleviate diarrhea. Others apply the herb directly to the skin to clean bloody cuts. It is also believed to help lower blood pressure.
The leaves and stems of Smartweed are considered consumable, either raw or cooked. The leaves contain, fat, protein and carbohydrates as well as rutin. Seeds are often used as spicy condiments on salads, pasta, and meats.
All in all, Smartweed is considered a valuable herb to add to a person's bag of supplements to help achieve good health and a healthy living style.