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Bitter ribbon flower: the discovery

The bitter ribbon flower (Iberis amara) is a remarkable plant that is native to Europe and has been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Its discovery as a medicinal plant goes back to old herbal books and records describing its healing properties. The plant belongs to the cruciferous family and is mainly found in central and southern Europe. Botanists and healers recognized the potential of this plant early on and used it to treat various ailments.

Forms of application and dosage

The bitter ribbon flower can be taken in various forms. The most common are extracts, tinctures, teas and capsules. Each dosage form has its own specific benefits and areas of application:

  • Extracts: Are often offered in drop form and are highly concentrated. The usual dosage is 10-20 drops twice a day in water or juice.
  • Tinctures: These alcoholic extracts are dosed similarly to extracts, usually 15-30 drops three times a day.
  • Teas: Dried leaves of the plant can be brewed as a tea. To do this, 1-2 teaspoons of the dried plant are poured over with hot water and left to infuse for 10 minutes. Two to three cups a day are sufficient.
  • Capsules: contain the dried extract of the plant and are usually taken in a dosage of 300-500 mg twice a day.

Bitter ribbon flower: diseases that can be treated with it

The bitter ribbon flower is used in naturopathy for various diseases. Particularly noteworthy are:

  • Digestive complaints: The plant has a regulating effect on the gastrointestinal tract. It is used for flatulence, bloating, irritable bowel syndrome and dyspeptic complaints. Thanks to its antispasmodic and decongestant properties, it can significantly improve gastrointestinal well-being.
  • Inflammation: Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effect, it is also used for gastritis and other inflammatory diseases of the digestive tract.
  • Loss of appetite: The bitter substances stimulate the production of gastric juice and thus curb the appetite.

Effect on the body

The active ingredients of the bitter ribbon flower, in particular the mustard oil glycosides and bitter substances, have a variety of effects on the body:

  • Stimulating digestion: the bitter substances stimulate the production of saliva, stomach acid and bile, thus facilitating the digestion of fats and proteins.
  • Antispasmodic: The mustard oil glycosides have an antispasmodic effect and help to relieve muscle cramps in the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Anti-inflammatory: The anti-inflammatory properties help to soothe the mucous membranes and relieve inflammation in the digestive tract.

When should bitter ribbon flower be taken?

Taking bitter ribbon flower is particularly useful for

  • Acute digestive complaints such as flatulence and bloating.
  • Chronic gastrointestinal complaints such as irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Loss of appetite to stimulate the appetite and improve food intake.
  • Inflammatory diseases of the gastrointestinal tract to relieve inflammation.

Contraindications and precautions

Not everyone should take bitter ribbon flower. Certain people are advised not to take it:

  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women: As there are insufficient studies on its safety, they should refrain from taking it.
  • People with stomach ulcers: The stimulating effect on stomach acid production can worsen the symptoms.
  • Children under 12 years of age: Due to the strong effect of the bitter substances, children should be treated with caution.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

To support the effects of bitter ribbon flower, the following dietary supplements and medicinal plants can also be taken:

  • Probiotics: Promote healthy intestinal flora and support digestion.
  • Artichoke extract: Also has a digestive effect and can reduce flatulence.
  • Caraway and fennel: These plants are known for their carminative properties and support the effect of bitter ribbon flower on flatulence and cramps.

Natural occurrence in food

The active ingredients of bitter ribbon flower are mainly contained in their specific combination in the plant itself. However, other foods also contain similar bitter substances that have a digestive effect, e.g. endive and radicchio:

  • Endive and radicchio: these lettuces contain bitter substances that can stimulate digestion.
  • Grapefruits and bitter oranges: These fruits also contain bitter substances with a similar effect.

Bitter ribbon flower: Possible side effects

As with many medicinal plants, side effects can occur when taking bitter ribbon flower:

  • Stomach discomfort: If the dosage is too high, nausea and stomach pain may occur.
  • Allergic reactions: In rare cases, skin rashes or breathing difficulties may occur.

Overdose and its consequences

An overdose of bitter ribbon flower can lead to severe gastrointestinal symptoms, including

  • Nausea
  • vomiting
  • diarrhea

In the event of a severe overdose, it is advisable to consult a doctor to avoid serious damage to your health.

Traditional use as a natural remedy

In traditional medicine, bitter ribbon flower has long been used as a natural remedy. It has a firm place in European phytotherapy in particular. Here it is mainly used to treat digestive disorders and to generally strengthen the digestive tract.

The bitter ribbon flower is therefore a versatile medicinal plant that can provide valuable health support when used and dosed correctly. However, expert advice is essential in order to achieve the optimum effect and avoid side effects.

Historical use and cultivation

The historical use of bitter ribbon flower goes back a long way. In medieval herbal books, it is described as a remedy for stomach and intestinal complaints. Pharmacists and herbalists used the plant in various preparations to maximize its healing properties. The bitter ribbon flower was also an integral part of medicinal plant cultures in monastery gardens.

The bitter ribbon flower is mainly grown in temperate climates. It prefers sunny locations and well-drained soils. It is usually harvested in late summer when the plant is in full bloom. The flowers and leaves are dried and processed into various medicinal products.

Modern scientific research

In recent decades, numerous scientific studies have confirmed the traditional uses of the bitter ribbon flower. The studies have shown that the mustard oil glycosides and bitter substances contained in the plant do indeed have a significant effect on digestion and reducing inflammation. A study published in 2015 in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology” confirms the antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effect of the plant on the gastrointestinal tract.

Bitter ribbon flower: Interactions with other medicines

It is important to note that bitter ribbon flower can interact with certain medications. Caution is particularly advised when taking proton pump inhibitors or antacids at the same time, as these can impair the effect of the bitter substances. People who regularly take medication should therefore consult their doctor before using bitter ribbon flower.

Bitter ribbon flower: recommendations for intake

To achieve the best effect, bitter ribbon flower should be taken about 30 minutes before meals. This allows the bitter substances to stimulate the digestive juices in good time and prepare the stomach for food intake. In the case of chronic complaints, a longer intake period may be necessary, whereby a break should be taken after four to six weeks in order to check tolerance.

Use in modern naturopathy

In modern naturopathy, bitter ribbon flower is often used in combination with other medicinal plants. For example, it is used together with dandelion and milk thistle to promote liver health. In tea blends, it is often combined with chamomile and peppermint to provide comprehensive support for the digestive system.

The bitter ribbon flower in the diet

Although bitter ribbon flower itself is not found directly in food, a diet rich in bitter compounds can aid digestion and provide similar benefits. Foods such as chicory, endive, arugula and kale are rich in bitter compounds and can help to aid digestion and regulate appetite.

Summary: A versatile medicinal plant

The bitter ribbon flower is a versatile medicinal plant with a long tradition in traditional medicine. Its positive effect on the digestive tract and its anti-inflammatory properties make it a valuable component of naturopathy. When used and dosed correctly, it can alleviate numerous complaints and improve general well-being.

The most important facts in brief:

  • Extracts and tinctures: highly concentrated, dosage: 10-20 drops twice daily.
  • Teas: 1-2 teaspoons of dried leaves, two to three cups a day.
  • Capsules: 300-500 mg twice daily.
  • Indications: Digestive complaints, inflammation, loss of appetite.
  • Contraindications: Pregnant women, nursing mothers, people with stomach ulcers, children under 12 years of age.
  • Possible side effects: Stomach upset, allergic reactions.
  • Complementary herbs: probiotics, artichoke extract, caraway, fennel.
  • Overdose: nausea, vomiting, diarrhea – seek medical advice.

The bitter ribbon flower shows how valuable traditional medicinal plants can be in modern medicine when used correctly.

Published on: 27. June 2024


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