Lythrum salicaria / Grote kattestaart

Purple loosestrife offers great potential as a valuable and practically useful medicinal, possessing an admirable balance of astringent and mucilaginous properties. This may seem odd if you think of astringents as being drying and mucilage as being moistening, but remember that astringents do not dehydrate tissues, they tighten and restore tone to them, and in doing they lessen oversecretion. So purple loosestrife restores tone to tissues while also bathing them in a soothing mucilage, which eases inflammation and ensures lubrication. I find that including more leaves and stems in preparations yields a more astringent medicine, while collecting mostly the flowering spikes increases the presence of mucilage in water based preparations.

These virtues may be a benefit in numerous complaints. Herbalist David Winston writes that, “This combination of actions, along with it's other actions, makes this plant appropriate for diarrhea, bacterial or amoebic dysentery, enteritis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), leaky gut syndrome and as a gargle for sore throats.” Perhaps most practical among these possibilities is the treatment of diarrhea and dysentery. Purple loosestrife tightens the tissues and therefore helps to quell the looseness of the bowels, while at the same time doing much to soothe the irritated tissues. In addition, research has suggested that loosestrife is markedly antibacterial, and so may help to combat any infection while simultaneously healing the tissues and relieving the distressing symptoms of such complaints. It must be noted that diarrhea is not an illness in itself, but a way that the body purges itself of offensive matter. It should therefore not be initially suppressed, rather, allowed to run its course for a day or so, and then addressed if the condition does not begin to show signs of resolution. With regards to leaky gut, purple loosetrife, as a demulcent and astringent, certainly makes sense, but would have to be a part of a broader protocol to be achieve more than superficial results.

David Winston adds, “The herb can also be used as a vaginal douche for leucorrhea and bacterial vaginosis, and as a nasal douche for nose bleeds. Topically the ointment is used for ulcers and sores and a poultice is soothing to bruises, abrasions and irritated skin. The stems can be used as chewing sticks to prevent bleeding gums caused by gingivitis.”... all these indications make sense when considering purple loosstrife's astringency.

Purple loosestrife also provides an excellent eyewash. Maude Grieve writes in her Modern Herbal that "It has been stated to be superior to Eyebright for preserving the sight and curing sore eyes, the distilled water being applied for hurts and blows on the eyes...". The presence of mucilage makes purple loosestrife an excellent herb, as well, for soothing dry eyes, or any ophthalmic irritation or infection characterized by dryness. I almost always add plantain to my eyewashes, and to these two mallow or sassafras leaf can be added for additional mucilage, while strawberry leaf can be added to increase astringency. To make such a preparation, simply infuse the dried herb(s) in near boiling water till lukewarm, then strain through a coffee filter to remove any fine particles and add 1/4 teaspoon salt per cup of tea. You can apply this via a dropper bottle, eyecup, or simply ladle over the eye with a tablespoon. Be aware that such a tea will spoil, and should be made as needed, and any leftovers can be frozen and defrosted for later use.

Conrad Richter, of Richter's Nursery in Canada, offers these additional insights: "Most people are surprised to learn that purple loosestrife has very potent hypoglycemic and hepato-protective properties. Simple alcoholic extracts were demonstrated to have these effects on laboratory animals a few years ago. For example, animals treated with carbon tetrachloride, a compound very damaging to the liver recovered almost completely when treated with purple loosestrife. In animals treated to induce diabetes, purple loosestrife brought blood sugar down to normal."

Purple loosestrife has been studied with regards to its antimicrobial actions. In particular, it was found to be highly effective against candida albicans. Here, we should clarify that the "candida" that many people think of when they here the word candida is probably better termed dysbiosis (an imbalance of the microflora of the gut). In suggesting that purple loosestrife may be helpful for candida, I'm specifically thinking of topical preparations for tings like thrush and "I started to get inflammed itchy creases in my groin and now my partner has inflammed itchy creases in his/her groin... what can I do for that?" Perhaps a purple loosestrife sitz bath or compress? An oil or salve? These are easily made and tried and the results reported on...

More should be noted about Purple Loosestrife's role in our environment. As mentioned above, virtually all the attention given to the plant regards it as an unstoppable invasive plant which inevitably overshadows and crowds out native plants, dries up wetlands, and generally destroys ecological balance (In actuality, WE upset ecological balance). I've been observing local stands of purple loosestrife for two decades now, and have noticed that the only places it seems to vigorously take over and displace native plant species are in areas where human "development" has disturbed (or destroyed) the habitat and then left it fallow. In such cases, purple loosestrife moves in and colonizes the area with a vigorous rapidity few other plants can match, and once established, they leave little room for the return of native flora. However, in established habitats that include purple loosestrife, I have yet to see it out-muscle other established plants to any frightening degree, or to spread with the unstoppable abandon it shows when colonizing disturbed ground. Claude Lavoie writes in his "Should we care about purple loosestrife?" that "Purple loosestrife is certainly an invader, and some native species likely suffer from an invasion, but stating that this plant has ‘large negative impacts’ on wetlands is probably exaggerated. The most commonly mentioned impact (purple loosestrife crowds out native plants and forms a monoculture) is controversial and has not been observed in nature (with maybe one exception). There is certainly no evidence that purple loosestrife ‘kills wetlands’ or ‘creates biological deserts’, as it is repeatedly reported."

Beyond that, Purple Loosestrife possesses the incredible virtue of phytoremediation, which is to say that it can accumulate environmental pollutants (such as PCBs) and break them down into inert compounds.

(alas, I originally had found a study online that discussed that specific claim; but lost these sources in a computer crash. I've not been able to "re-find" it online. In a nutshell, from what I remember, areas of a wetland invaded by purple loosestrife showed lower PCB concentrations than measurements taken in those areas before the Purple Loosestrife established itself, and PCBs were not found in the the plants in concentrations that would seem normal for mere accumulation. It was posited that the plant actually broke down the PCBs. If anyone can turn me onto where to find that again, I'd be especially stoked. That said, outside of the breaking down of PCBs into inert compounds, Purple Loosestrife is well known as a phytoremediator that accumulates pollutants; removing them from the water.)

This brings to light an entirely new consideration as to the role of purple loosestrife in the environment: Is it coincidence that the plant has become invasive in environments that it just happens to be able to cleanse pollutants from? Or, in some way, does this tendency exhibit the unforeseen ways in which Nature tends to and heals itself?


Also Known As:

Arroyuela, Blooming Sally, Flowering Sally, Herbe aux Coliques, Long Purples, Loosestrife, Lysimaque rouge, Lythrum, Milk Willow-Herb, Purple Willow-Herb, Rainbow Weed, Salicaire, Salicaire Commune, Salicaire Officinale, Salicare, Salicaria, Salicària, Soldiers, Spiked Loosestrife, Willow Sage.

CAUTION: See separate listings for Loosestrife and Sage.

Scientific Name:

Lythrum salicaria.

Family: Lythraceae.

People Use This For:

Orally, purple loosestrife is used for diarrhea, chronic intestinal inflammation, and menstrual complaints. It is also used as an anti-inflammatory, astringent, and antibiotic.

Topically, it is used for varicose veins, bleeding gums, hemorrhoids, and eczema.


There is insufficient reliable information available about the safety of purple loosestrife.

Pregnancy and Lactation: Insufficient reliable information available; avoid using.


There is insufficient reliable information available about the effectiveness of purple loosestrife.

Mechanism of Action:

The applicable parts of purple loosestrife are the above ground flowering parts. The astringent effects are attributed to tannins and salicarin. Salicarin may also have antimicrobial effects against intestinal bacteria (18).

Adverse Reactions:

None reported.

Interactions with Herbs & Supplements:

None known.

Interactions with Drugs:

None known.

Interactions with Foods:

None known.

Interactions with Lab Tests:

None known.

Interactions with Diseases or Conditions:

None known.


ORAL: The daily dose is 2-3 cups of tea. The tea is prepared by steeping 3 grams dried herb in 100 mL of boiling water for 10-15 minutes and straining. Alternately, 2-3 teaspoons of tincture are taken daily. The tincture is taken by adding 20 grams dried herb to 100 mL of a 20% alcohol solution and straining after 5 days (18).

TOPICAL: No typical dosage.

Salicaire commune

Nom latin : Lythrum salicaria L.

Noms communs : Salicaire à épis, lysimaque rouge, herbe aux coliques

Famille : Lythracées

Partie utilisée : Sommité fleurie

Origine : Très abondante dans les lieux humides au bord des étangs, dans les fossés, en Europe, Asie et Afrique du Nord. La drogue est essentiellement importée des pays d'Europe de l'Est, où elle est récoltée à l'état sauvage. Il est à noter que la salicaire était confondue à l'Antiquité avec la Lysimaque et Dioscoride rassemblait sous la dénomination "luthron" de nombreuses plantes à fleurs rouges ou jaunes possédant des propriétés astringentes.

Description de la drogue sèche (Cahier n°3 de l'Agence du Médicament, 1998) :

• Fragment de tiges à section plus ou moins quadrangulaire, jaune paille, ridée longitudinalement

• Fragments de feuilles vert-jaunâtre, lancéolées

Description de la plante à l'état frais : Herbacée pérenne pubescente, robuste, dressée, à tiges quadrangulaires

Taille : Jusqu'à 1 m

Feuilles : Feuilles sessiles, env. 3 cm, opposées ou verticillées à la base et alternes vers le haut, de forme oblongue à elliptique

Fleurs : Fleurs rouge pourpré, 10-15 mm, en verticilles formant de longs épis ; 6 pétales en général, 12 étamines

Fruits : Capsules ovales, 3-4 mm, renfermant de nombreuses graines jaune brunâtre

Constituants :

• Tanins galliques

• Autres constituants : Acides phénols (acides chlorogénique, p-coumarique...), flavonoïdes (orientine, vitexine), anthocyanosides

Indications (Cahier n°3 de l'Agence du Médicament, 1998) :

• Voie orale :

- Traditionnellement utilisé dans les manifestations subjectives de l'insuffisance veineuse telles que les jambes lourdes et dans la symptomatologie hémorroïdaire

- Traditionnellement utilisé dans le traitement symptomatique des diarrhées légères

• Usage local :

- Traditionnellement utilisé dans les manifestations subjectives de l'insuffisance veineuse telles que les jambes lourdes

- Traditionnellement utilisé dans la symptomatologie hémorroïdaire

- Traditionnellement utilisé par voie locale (collutoire, pastille), comme antalgique dans les affections de la cavité buccale et/ou du pharynx

Effets indésirables :

Aucun connu à ce jour

Références bibliographiques

BEZANGER-BEAUQUESNE L., PINKAS M., TORCK M., TROTIN F., 1990. Plantes médicinales des régions tempérées. Éd. Maloine.

BEZANGER-BEAUQUESNE L., PINKAS M., TORCK M., 1986. Les plantes dans la thérapeutique moderne. Éd. Maloine.

BLAMEY M., GREY-WILSON C., 1991. La flore d'Europe occidentale. Éd. Arthaud.

BLUMENTHAL M., BUSSE W. R., GOLDBERG A., GRUENWALD J., HALL T., RIGGINS C. W., RISTER R. S., 1998. The complete German Commission E monographs - Therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas.

BRUNETON J., 2002. Phytothérapie - Les données de l'évaluation. Éd. Tec et Doc et EMI.

BRUNETON J., 1999. Pharmacognosie - Phytochimie - Plantes médicinales. Éd. Tec et Doc et EMI.

BRUNETON J., 1987. Éléments de phytochimie et de pharmacognosie. Éd. Techn. Doc. Lavoisier.

Les Cahiers de l'Agence 3 - Médicaments à base de plantes. 1998. Agence du Médicament, Paris.

DORVAULT F., 1978. L'officine. Éd. Vigot, Paris.

ESCOP. 1996 - 1997. Monographs on the medicinal uses of plant drugs. ESCOP, Centre for Complementary Health Studies, University of Exeter, UK.

GARNIER G., BEZANGER-BEAUQUESNE L., DEBRAUX G., 1961. Ressources médicinales de la flore Française. Éd. Vigot Frères, Paris.

HOSTETTMANN K., 1997. Tout savoir sur le pouvoir des plantes, sources de médicaments. Éd. Favre, Lausanne.

PELT J. M., 1983. Drogues et plantes magiques. Éd. Fayard, Paris.

Pharmacopée Européenne 1997, 3e édition et compléments 1998 et 1999. Conseil de l'Europe, Strasbourg.

Pharmacopée Française. Édition en vigueur. Imprimerie Maisonneuve, Sainte-Ruffine.

Précis de phytothérapie - La santé par les plantes, mode d'emploi. 2003. Éd. Alpen, Monaco.

ROMBI M., 1991. 100 plantes médicinales. Composition, mode d'action et intérêt thérapeutique. Éd. Romard, Nice.

SEVENET T., 1994. Plantes, molécules et médicaments. Nathan, CNRS Éditions, Paris.

Thera - Dictionnaire des médicaments conseil et des produits de parapharmacie. 2004. VIDAL.

WICHTL M., ANTON R., 2003. Plantes thérapeutiques - Tradition, pratique officinale, science et thérapeutique. Éd. Tec et Doc et EMI.

J Nat Med. 2015; 69(1): 100–110.

Contribution of C-glucosidic ellagitannins to Lythrum salicaria L. influence on pro-inflammatory functions of human neutrophils

Jakub P. Piwowarskicorresponding author and Anna K. Kiss

The herb Lythrum salicaria L. (Lythraceae) is used in traditional medicine to treat diseases with an inflammatory background, such as haemorrhoidal disease, dysentery, chronic intestinal catarrh, eczema, varicose veins, periodontosis and gingivitis. Because these diseases are closely associated with an excessive inflammatory response of stimulated neutrophils, the influence of aqueous extract and isolated C-glucosidic ellagitannins (dimeric salicarinins A, B and C, vescalagin, castalagin) on their pro-inflammatory functions was examined. Lythrum salicaria aqueous extract was shown to modulate lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-triggered production of IL-8 (at 20 μg/mL, 16.6 ± 4.2 % inhibition) but had no influence on MMP-9 production. It was active towards cytochalasin A/f-MLP- stimulated elastase release (at 20 μg/mL, 21.5 ± 3.9 % inhibition), myeloperoxidase release (at 1 μg/mL, 26.5 ± 5.4 % inhibition) and f-MLP- and PMA-induced reactive oxygen species production (at 20 μg/mL, 67.0 ± 3.9 and 66.5 ± 1.9 % inhibition, respectively). The extract was also shown to inhibit expression of integrin CD11b on the neutrophil surface without influencing selectin CD62L shedding. Dose-dependent inhibition of hyaluronidase activity was observed with IC50 = 10.1 ± 1.2 μg/mL. The main C-glucosidic ellagitannins were shown to be responsible for all these activities with more significant participation attributable to dimeric salicarinins A, B, C. This study has demonstrated potent activity of aqueous extract on stimulated neutrophils; this enhanced response is known to cause pathological changes in skin and mucosa tissues. These observations support and explain the traditional use of the herb Lythrum salicaria to treat certain diseases with an inflammatory background. C-glucosidic ellagitannins, especially dimeric salicarinins, are the factors responsible for these effects.

Der Gewöhnliche Blutweiderich – Lythrum salicaria L.

Lythrum salicaria L. stammt aus der Familie der Lythraceae (Weiderichgewächse) und kommt auch in Europa vor, insbesondere in Feuchtgebieten wie Flussufern, Teichen und Flachmooren. Die Staude mit einem dicken Wurzelstock wird bis zu 1,5 m hoch und hat lanzettliche Laubblätter und einen ährenförmigen Blütenstand, wobei die rot-violetten Kronblätter in der Blütezeit von Juni bis September auffallen [Abb. 1]. Arzneilich werden seit langem die getrockneten, blühenden Zweigspitzen, Lythri herba, verwendet. Bereits in der Antike war diese Pflanze zur Behandlung von Ekzemen bekannt, aber auch zur Behandlung von Blutspeien, Ruhr und Metrorrhagie [30]. In den Kräuterbüchern des 16. Jahrhunderts wird vom Einsatz dieser Droge bei Hämorrhagien im Verdauungstrakt und in der Nase, von der Wundbehandlung, von Menorrhagie (Verlängerung der Monatsblutung) und von Dysenterien berichtet. Im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert wurden Zubereitungen aus L. salicaria zudem äußerlich bei Augenentzündungen, Sinusitis, Krampfadern, Hämorrhoiden, Menorrhagien, Hämorrhagien, Leukorrhoe und Ulzerationen angewendet [29].

Inhaltsstoffe sind monomere und dimere Ellagitannine, Flavonoide, Phenolsäuren, Steroide, Cumarine und Spuren von Alkaloiden. In neueren pharmakologischen Untersuchungen konnten für Lythri herba bzw. daraus hergestellte Extrakte in vitro und tierexperimentell antidiarrhoische, antioxidative, entzündungshemmende und antimikrobielle Wirkungen nachgewiesen werden, die auf den hohen Gehalt an Gerbstoffen und anderen phenolischen Verbindungen zurückführbar sein dürften und die überlieferten Anwendungsgebiete plausibel machen. Nennenswerte unerwünschte Wirkungen bei der Anwendung sind nicht bekannt. Heute findet der Blutweiderich noch Anwendung im Nahen Osten (Iran, Jordanien), Russland und einigen europäischen Ländern (Italien, Rumänien, Bosnien-Herzegowina), insbesondere innerlich bei gastrointestinalen Beschwerden, selten auch bei Hauterkrankungen (z. B. in Italien).

Der Gewöhnliche Blutweiderich wurde in Frankreich von der ländlichen Bevölkerung seit langem geschätzt [30]. So merkte auch Madaus 1938 an, dass in Frankreich dem Blutweiderich mehr Beachtung geschenkt werde [26]. Im 18. bis zum 20. Jahrhundert wurden insbesondere in Frankreich Berichte über die Wirkungen von L. salicaria veröffentlicht, u. a. als Fallberichte zur Wirkung bei Dysenterien, aber auch zu einer Zubereitung namens „Salicairine“, 1920 von Dumont zur Behandlung von Diarrhö bei Kindern, unspezifischer Enteritis, bakterieller Enteritis, Dysenterie sowie in Kombination mit Emetin bei Amöbiasis eingesetzt. In Frankreich ist derzeit weiterhin das Produkt „Salicairine“ als Lösung zum Einnehmen als traditionell registriertes Fertigarzneimittel für die (kurzzeitige) symptomatische Behandlung von Diarrhö erhältlich; in 100 g Produkt sind 66,66 g eines hydroalkoholischen Fluidextrakts der oberirdischen Teile von L. salicaria enthalten. Ein weiteres Produkt, Élusanes salicaire, mit 200 mg eines Trockenextraktes aus Lythri herba pro Kapsel (Trockenextrakt mit DEV 4–6:1, Extraktionsmittel Ethanol-Wasser 50 % (V / V)) ist in Frankreich für die gleiche Indikation als traditionelles Arzneimittel registriert. Volksmedizinisch wird Blutweiderich in Frankreich auch peroral bei venöser Insuffizienz, Hämorrhoiden, zur symptomatischen Behandlung von Diarrhö sowie zur analgetischen Behandlung im Mund- und Rachenraum in Form eines Tees eingesetzt. Ausgehend von einer Monografie im französischen Arzneibuch ist seit 2013 Blutweiderichkraut, Lythri herba, mit einer Monografie im Europäischen Arzneibuch vertreten. Als Qualitätskriterium wird ein Mindestgehalt von 5,0 % Gerbstoffen, berechnet als Pyrogallol und bezogen auf die getrocknete Droge, gefordert. In Frankreich gehört Lythri herba zu den Drogen, die derzeit für eine traditionelle Anwendung zugelassen sind [3]. Monografien des HMPC, der ESCOP und / oder der Kommission E liegen nicht vor.

Europäisches Arzneibuch. 9. Ausgabe: Monographien 1537/„Blutweiderichkraut, Lythri herba“, 1478/ „Tormentillwurzelstock, Tormentillae rhizoma“ und 1895/ „Tormentilltinktur, Tormentillae tinctura“

Madaus G. Lehrbuch der biologischen Heilmittel. Leipzig: Georg Thieme; 1938, Band 1: Monographie „Aconitum napellus. Eisenhut, Ranunculaceae“ (S. 388–400) und Band 2: Monographien „Hepatica triloba. Leberblümchen, Ranunculaceae“ (S. 1537–1541), „Inula helenium. Alant, Compositae“ (S. 1619–1626) und „Lythrum salicaria . Blutweiderich, Lythraceae“ (S. 1815–1818)

Piwowarski JP, Granica S, Kiss AK. Lythrum salicaria L. – underestimated medicinal plant from European traditional medicine. A review. J Ethnopharmacol 2015; 170: 226-250. DOI: 10.1016 / j.jep.2015.05.017.

Effect of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) diet supplementation in rabbit nutrition on performance, digestibility, health and meat quality. A. Kovitvadhia1 c1, L. Gascoa1a2, I. Ferrocinoa1, L. Rotoloa1, S. Dabboua1, V. Malfattoa1, F. Gaia2, P. G. Peirettia2, M. Falzonea3, C. Vignolinia3, L. Cocolina1 and I. Zoccaratoa1

a1 Department of Agricultural, Forest and Food Sciences, University of Turin, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Turin, Italy

a2 Institute of Science of Food Production, National Research Council, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Turin, Italy

a3 Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Turin, Largo P. Braccini 2, 10095 Grugliasco, Turin, Italy

In this study, 160 Hycole weaned rabbits (35 days old) were randomly divided into four groups of 40. The rabbits were studied throughout a 54-day experimentation period in order to determine the impact of dietary supplementation from herbs composed of 0.2%, 0.4% dry ground Lythrum salicaria leaves (LS) and 0.3% Cunirel® (CR; a commercial herb mixture containing LS as the main ingredient) on performance, digestibility, health and meat quality. The basal diet was given to the control group. No significant differences were found in performance, 10 rabbits from each group were selected for evaluation regarding apparent digestibility. The rabbits fed the control diet and the diet with the low level of LS had a higher level of CP digestibility than did the animals that were supplemented with the high LS levels and CR (85.7% and 84.9% v. 84.0% and 84.0%, respectively; P<0.05). The ether extract digestibility was lower in the treatment group with 0.4%LS addition and CR as compared with the control group (52.2% and 54.5% v. 62.6%, respectively; P<0.05). The slaughter process was performed on 89-day-old rabbits to study the carcass characteristics, meat quality, blood parameters, caecal contents and gut histology. The total leukocyte counts in the control animals were lower than they were in the rabbits fed 0.2%, 0.4%LS and CR (4.06 v. 8.25, 8.63 and 8.21×109/l, respectively; P<0.05). For caecal fermentation, the caecal contents of the rabbits fed 0.4% of LS, showed higher concentrations of total volatile fatty acid (VFA; 24.1 v. 18.9 mg/kg dry matter (DM); P<0.05) and acetic acid (18.3 v. 14.4 mg/kg DM; P<0.05), but lower ammonia levels (594 v. 892 mg/kg DM; P<0.05) as compared with the control group. PCR-denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses were performed to evaluate the microbial community in hard faeces, collected at days 35, 42, 49, 56, 70 and 89, whereas the caecal contents were taken after slaughtering. The results demonstrated that between the treatment groups, the similarity of the microbial communities was higher as compared with the control group. Moreover, only age was shown to influence microbiota diversity. In conclusion, the results of this study indicated that supplementation of LS in rabbit diets leads to an increase in the total white blood cells, total VFA and acetic acid concentration, and a decrease in the ammonia levels, as well as the digestibility when CR and high level of LS were supplemented, without causing any adverse effects on other parameters.

J Nat Med. 2015; 69(1): 100–110.

The herb Lythrum salicaria L. has been used in traditional medicine to treat diseases with an inflammatory background, such as haemorrhoidal disease, dysentery, chronic intestinal catarrh, eczema, varicose veins, periodontosis and gingivitis [4]. These diseases are closely associated with an excessive inflammatory response and increased extracellular matrix degradation causing impaired tissue integrity. Neutrophils, which enhance the response, are known to cause pathological changes in skin and mucosa tissues and are important contributors to the development of pathological changes during progression of the above diseases. Being responsible for the innate immune system defensive response to microorganisms, neutrophils generate huge amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), including superoxide anion (O2−), hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hypochlorous acid (HClO). Neutrophils also secrete cytokines such as IL-8 and enzymes degrading extracellular matrix (ECM) elastase and matrix metalloproteinases. These factors are mainly responsible for neutrophil infiltration and microbial destruction. On the other hand, the prolonged over-activation of neutrophils (due to exogenous bacterial factors such as LPS or due to endogenous IL-8 produced by local fibroblasts) results in host tissue damage and is believed to contribute to the development of destructive phases of diseases with an inflammatory background [5–8].

Lythrum salicaria belongs to the Lythraceae family. The main compounds on which pharmacopoeial standardization is based (according to the European Pharmacopoeia, 8th edition) are tannins. C-glucosidic monomeric (vescalagin and castalagin) and dimeric (salicarinins A, B, C) ellagitannins have been shown to be the dominant compounds in aqueous extracts [9, 10]. Other phenolics, such as C-glucosidic flavonoids, orientin, vitexin, isovitexin and iso-orientin, were also detected. In previous studies, the presence of phenolic acids, mainly ellagic acid together with phthalates and sterols, has been described [11]. Pawlaczyk et al. [12] isolated acidic glycoconjugate with pro-coagulant activity. However, since the C-glucosidic ellagitannins are significantly dominant, they were targeted in the present study as the compounds likely to be producing the aqueous extract’s bioactivity.

Because of excessive neutrophil infiltration and release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, enzymes degrading ECM and ROS are important in the development of inflammatory diseases of the skin and mucosa, and the ex-vivo model using neutrophils isolated from human peripheral venous blood was chosen to explain the beneficial effects of extracts of Lythrum salicaria and to evaluate the participation of ellagitannins in the observed activity.


4. Tunalier Z, Kosar M, Kupeli E, Calis I, Baser KH. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nociceptive activities and composition of Lythrum salicaria L. extracts. J Ethnopharm. 2007;110:539–547. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2006.10.024. [PubMed]

5. Agaiby AD, Dyson M. Immuno-inflammatory cell dynamics during cutaneous wound healing. J Anat.1999;195:531–542. doi: 10.1046/j.1469-7580.1999.19540531.x. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

6. de Paula PR, Matos D, Franco M, Speranzini MB, Figueiredo F, de Santana ICB, Chacon-Silva MA, Bassi DG. Why do anal wounds heal adequately? A study of the local immunoinflammatory defense mechanisms. Dis Colon Rectum. 2004;47:1861–1867. doi: 10.1007/s10350-004-0696-7. [PubMed][Cross Ref]

7. Dickson-Gonzalez SM, de Uribe ML, Rodriguez-Morales AJ. Polymorphonuclear neutrophil infiltration intensity as consequence of Entamoeba histolytica density in amebic colitis. Surg Infect. 2009;10:91–97. doi: 10.1089/sur.2008.011. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

8. Stvrtinova V, Jahnova E, Weissova S, Horvathova M, Ferencik M. Inflammatory mechanisms involving neutrophils in chronic venous insufficiency of lower limbs. Bratisl Lek Listy. 2001;102:235–239. [PubMed]

9. Piwowarski JP, Kiss AK. C-glucosidic ellagitannins from Lythri herba (European Pharmacopoeia): chromatographic profile and structure determination. Phytochem Anal. 2013;24:336–348. doi: 10.1002/pca.2415. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

10. Granica S, Piwowarski JP, Kiss AK. Determination of C-glucosidic ellagitannins in Lythri herba by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with charged aerosol detector: method development and validation. Phytochem Anal. 2014;25:201–206. doi: 10.1002/pca.2492. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

11. Rauha JP, Wolfender JL, Salminen JP, Pihlaja K, Hostettmann K, Vuorela H. Characterization of the polyphenolic composition of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) Z Naturforsch C. 2001;56:13–20.[PubMed]

12. Pawlaczyk I, Czerchawski L, Kanska J, Bijak J, Capek P, Pliszczak-Krol A, Gancarz R. An acidic glycoconjugate from Lythrum salicaria L. with controversial effects on haemostasis. J Ethnopharm.2010;131:63–69. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.06.001. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

La salicaire

est un anti-diarrhéique naturel. Son potentiel sur l’intestin est tel qu’on l’a même utilisée lors d’épidémies de dysenterie. Son surnom ?

L’herbe aux coliques.

Méconnue durant des siècles

» C’est seulement vers le XVIIIe siècle que quelques médecins commencent

à vanter ses effets contre les diarrhées. Mais au XIXe , on y recourt plus largement

lors d’épidémies de dysenterie qui frappent en Suisse, à Lyon et à Boulogne.

Beaucoup de gens en mourraient à cette époque. La salicaire trouvait

alors sa place car elle était efficace pour éradiquer les saignements et les

diarrhées abondantes qui accompagnent cette maladie infectieuse. On l’administrait

en poudre ou en décoction concentrée et elle offrait une très bonne

alternative au ratanhia, une racine astringente et antiseptique importée

d’Amérique du Sud qui restait chère et parfois introuvable. Mais l’heure de

gloire de la salicaire fut courte car rattrapée par l’essor des médicaments

chimiques qui arrivèrent peu après. Seuls les herboristes la conseillaient de

temps à autre.

Des bienfaits sous-estimés

» Il aura fallu attendre 1995 pour voir apparaître sur le marché un médicament

à base de salicaire nommé Salicairine®. Il est indiqué pour tout type de

diarrhée, celles causées par une bactérie ou un virus comme c’est le cas lors

de gastro-entérite la plupart du temps. Les effets antiseptiques et astringents

de la salicaire agissent rapidement et sans effets indésirables particuliers.

En juillet 2015, des chercheurs ont rapporté 1 que ses bienfaits sont largement

sous-estimés. Leur étude a permis de confirmer qu’elle était exceptionnellement

efficace en cas de troubles du transit. Ils sont parvenus à cette conclusion

en explorant toutes les données américaines et européennes disponibles,

de l’usage traditionnel aux recherches scientifiques modernes. Ils encouragent

les prescripteurs à y recourir plus fréquemment. Ils déplorent le

manque d’études cliniques qui encourageraient davantage son emploi.

Comment ça marche

» La salicaire contient des tanins particuliers, des ellagitanins C-glycoside,

qui « resserrent les mailles » cellulaires de la muqueuse intestinale. Cela permet

de stopper les saignements s’il y a lieu mais aussi de réguler l’excès de

mucus sécrété par les cellules de l’intestin et ainsi de solidifier plus facilement

les selles. Ces tanins recèlent également des vertus antiseptique et antivirale,

utiles en cas de gastro-entérite ou de diarrhée infectieuse.

La plante contient des mucilages qui adoucissent la muqueuse intestinale et

retiennent l’eau, ce qui contribue à l’effet antidiarrhéique. Enfin, des flavonoïdes

et des anthocyanosides jouent un rôle anti-inflammatoire utile pour