Tamus communis / Spekwortel

De spekwortel groeit aan de randen van loofbossen, in heggen en struiken. Het is een liaan. De klimplant wordt maximaal 3 m hoog, heeft van mei tot juni gele bloemen. De bladeren zijn hartvormig. De plant heeft ronde, bij rijpheid rode, vruchten van ongeveer 1 cm doorsnede.

In een laboratoriumstudie (zie verder) is gebleken dat de wortel ontstekingsremmende eigenschappen heeft. [2]. In de volksgeneeskunde werd de plant vroeger gebruikt tegen reuma en kneuzingen; vandaar de naam in het Frans „herbe aux femmes battues“.

Onderzoek heeft aangetoond dat de saponinen uit de wortels verwijderd kunnen worden door de wortels te pletten en in stukken te snijden, deze vervolgens een aantal dagen in stromend water te laten weken. Meestal worden deze wortels in een net gedaan dat enkele dagen in een beek gehangen. Wanneer de wortels vervolgens geroosterd worden krijgen ze kastanjeachtige smaak.

De geplette wortel of de tinctuur kan als kompres gebruikt worden tegen kneuzingen, zoals Arnica montana. Bvb geplette wortel gemengd met klei, 15 tot 30 minuten op de gekneusde plek leggen.

Black bryony (Tamus communis) is a flowering, herbaceous vine in the yam family (Dioscoreaceae) that grows 2-4 meters tall and bears bright red berry fruit. Native to Europe, northwestern Africa, and western Asia, black bryony has twining stems and spirally arranged heart-shaped leaves that grow up to 10 centimeters long and 8 centimeters wide. The greenish-yellow flowers grow to be 3-6 millimeters in diameter, with six petals per bloom. The male flowers produce then 5-10 centimeters racemes; female flowers are arranged in shorter clusters.

There is currently insufficient available evidence in humans to support the use of black bryony for any indication.

Black bryony (Tamus communis) is not currently listed on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) "Everything Added to Food in the United States" (EAFUS) database, and its generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status is currently not available.

According to secondary sources, all components of the black bryony plant, including the tubers, are poisonous due to saponin content. Therefore, it is not typically used internally; however, it has been used as a poultice for bruises and inflamed joints. It has been suggested that black bryony be used topically with caution, due to a tendency for the plant to cause painful blisters.

  • Anti inflammatory agentsAnti inflammatory agents: Based on animal studies, rhizomes of Tamus communis may have anti-inflammatory effects comparable to hydrocortisone.

  • Antineoplastic agentsAntineoplastic agents: Based on laboratory studies, phenanthrenes derived from T conmmunis rhizomes may have antineoplastic activity against cervical cancer cells.

  • Antiviral agentsAntiviral agents: Phenanthrene derivatives from Tamus communis rhizomes have been studied for activity against vesicular stomatitis virus and human rhinovirus type 1B

Wetenschappelijk onderzoek / Referenties

The whole plant is poisonous due to its saponin content. Although toxic, saponins are very poorly absorbed by the body and so tend to pass through without causing harm. They are also broken down by thorough cooking. Saponins are found in many plants, including several that are often used for food, such as certain beans. It is advisable not to eat large quantities of food that contain saponins. Saponins are much more toxic to some creatures, such as fish, and hunting tribes have traditionally put large quantities of them in streams, lakes etc in order to stupefy or kill the fish. The toxic effect of this plant is not caused by saponins, but by calcium oxalate crystals which are found mainly in the fruit.

Contact Dermatitis. 1983 Sep;9(5):390-6. The dermatitic properties of black bryony (Tamus communis L.). Schmidt RJ, Moult SP.

The skin irritant properties of both the juice expressed from the ripe berries and the slimy mucilage present in the rhizomes of black bryony (Tamus communis L.) were investigated. The dermatitis produced on human skin after gently rubbing in either the berry juice or the rhizome mucilage was found in both cases to be a result of mechanical irritation, being produced by penetration of the skin by minute needle-like crystals of calcium oxalate. Scanning electron micrographs supporting this conclusion are presented. Chemical investigation of the rhizome mucilage confirmed the presence of histamine. The rôle of histamine in the production of skin irritation following contact with the rhizome mucilage is discussed.

J Chemother. 1991 Oct;3(5):305-9. Antiviral activity of constituents of Tamus communis. Aquino R, Conti C, De Simone F, Orsi N, Pizza C, Stein ML. Dipartimento di Chimica delle Sostanze Naturali, Università degli Studi di Napoli, Italy.

The antiviral activity of the phenanthrene derivatives 1-6, of the spyrostane triglycosides dioscin (7) and gracillin (8), of the furostanol tetraglycosides methylprotodioscin (9), its (25S) epimer methylprotoneodioscin (10), and methylprotogracillin 11, have been tested towards two RNA viruses: vesicular stomatitis virus and human rhinovirus type 1B. All these products were extracted from the rizomes of Tamus communis L; compound 11 was isolated also from Asparagus cochinchinesis, together with pseudoprotodioscin (12), a 20 (22)-unsaturated furostanoside, which was also investigated for antiviral activity. The results were of some interest mainly for the phenanthrene derivatives.

J Ethnopharmacol. 1987 Jan-Feb;19(1):81-4. Local anti-inflammatory activity of Tamus communis. Mascolo N, Autore G, Capasso F.

The effects of an ethanol root extract of Tamus communis were documented on cotton pellet granuloma in rats. The inhibitory effect of the solvent-free extract (5-20 mg/pellet) on granuloma formation was comparable to that of reference drugs benzydamine HCl (5-20 mg/pellet) and hydrocortisone (5 mg/pellet). The local anti-inflammatory activity of T. communis was not accompanied by a decrease in body weight.

Phytother Res. 2009 Feb;23(2):283-8. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2621. Antioxidant properties and xanthine oxidase inhibitory effects of Tamus communis L. root extracts. Boumerfeg S, Baghiani A, Messaoudi D, Khennouf S, Arrar L.

Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, University Ferhat Abbas of Setif 19000, Algeria.

This study was conducted to search for xanthine oxidase (XO) inhibitors from the root extracts of Tamus communis L. traditionally used in folk medicine in Algeria. Root extracts with different solvents were screened for purified milk xanthine oxidase inhibition. The root extracts (methanol, chloroform and ethyl acetate) and proteins, obtained in distilled water, inhibited bovine, sheep and human milk XO from three species in a concentration-dependent manner, with an additional superoxide scavenging capacity, which reached its highest level with ethyl acetate extract (IC(50) = 0.15, 0.04 and 0.09 g/L) for bovine XO, sheep XO and human XO, respectively. The antioxidant potential was confirmed with the non-enzymatic method, total radical-trapping antioxidant parameter (TRAP) assay, which showed that the Tamus communis L. extracts have a potential antioxidant activity in the same order obtained by using the reduction of cytochrome c, an enzymatic method, in which the antioxidant activity followed a decreasing order: ethyl acetate extract > chloroform extract > protein.

Cruijdeboeck Dodonaeus deel 3 capitel 49, bladzijde 424-425

Van wilde Bryonie. Cap. xlix.

Wilde Bryonie heet in Griecx Ampelos agria. In Latijn Vitis sylvestris/ dat es wilden Wijngaert/ maer en es dat gheslacht van wilden Wijngaert niet dat Labrusca gheheeten wordt/ dat van wesen ende van fatsoene den oprechten wijngaert ghelijck es/ maer es als voorseyt es een cruyt van den gheslachte van Bryonia/ die in Griecx oock Ampelos/ dat es Wijngaert ghenaempt wordt/ om dat zy als Wijngaert op die boomen ende haghen climt ende huer selven daer om wint. Dwelck wy hebben willen vermanen op dat niemant met Avicenna/ Serapio oft andere Arabeusche meesters in dolinghen comende meynen soude dat Labrusca ende Vitis sylvestris een dinck es. Van Plinius wordt die wilde Bryonie Salicastrum ende Uva Taminea ghenaempt. In die Apoteke tot sommighe plaetsen Sigillum beatae Mariae/ dat es onser Vrouwen seghel. In Duytsch hebben wy dit cruyt wilde Bryonie/ dat es in Franchois Coulevree sauvage gheheeten/ ende dat om dattet een gheslacht van Bryonia es ende tot ondersceet van den oprechten wilden Wijngaert.

Sommighe meynen dat dit cruyt die Cyclaminus altera es/ maer huer lieder meyninghe wordt lichtelijcken valsch verwonnen mits dat dit cruyt een seer groote wortel heeft want als Dioscorides scrijft Cyclaminus altera en heeft gheen wortel dan die onachtbaer es/ dat es/ die seer cleyn es.


Wilde Bryonie es werm ende drooghe/ van natueren suyverende/ afvaghende ende sceydende.

Cracht ende werckinghe

A Die wortel van dese wilde Bryonie in water ende wijn die met luttel zee waters ghemenght es/ ghesoden ende ghedroncken doet duer den camerganck waterachtighe vochticheyt lossen/ ende es den watersuchtighen seer goet inghenomen.

B Die vruchten van dese wilde Bryonie doen sceyden alle gheronnen bloet/ ende alle blauw gheslaghen oft ghestooten plecken/ sproet ende andere smetten des lichaems.

C Tselve doen die wortelen cleyn ghescrabt ende met een doecxken ghelijck een plaesterken daer op gheleyt ghelijck wy tselve ondervonden hebben.

D Die ionghe scuetkens ierst uut der aerden voortcomende sijn oock goet ghegheten ghelijck die scuetkens van die andere Bryonien.

Herbe aux femmes battues

Herbe aux femme battues, haut liseron, vigne sauvage ou noire, sceau de notre dame. Elle est aussi appelée « racine de feu » plantes grimpantes monocotylédones de la famille des ignames Dioscoreaceae.

Elle est commune en Europe, en Asie et dans le Nord de l'Afrique, régions dont elle est originaire.

Malgré ses propriétés rubéfiante et vésicante (provoquant des ampoules sur la peau), la racine était employée en médecine populaire pour soigner

les contusions et les meurtrissures, d'où son nom d' herbe aux femmes battues. La pulpe râpée était appliquée localement. La racine bouillie 2 à 3 heures, écrasée avec du saindoux, servait d'onguent pour les rhumatismes en haute Provence.


Parent des ignames tropicales et comme elles pourvu d'un énorme tubercule toxique à l'état cru, le tamier (Tamus communis L. dioscoréacées) doit son nom populaire d'« herbe aux femmes battues » à l'usage très ancien de cette souche sur les meurtrissures. Seule partie usitée, la racine, riche en amidon et en mucilage, est littéralement farcie de cristaux d'oxalate de calcium en aiguille, capables de produire sur l'épiderme une révulsion d'origine mécanique. Toute la plante est âcre et irritante. L'ingestion accidentelle des baies rouges cause des inflammations des voies digestives et urinaires, des vomissements, des coliques avec diarrhée, des troubles nerveux, cardiaques et respiratoires. Des séquelles rénales sont à craindre. Il y aurait eu des accidents mortels chez les enfants. Autant dire que l'emploi ancien du tamier « à l'intérieur », comme vomitif, purgatif, diurétique, expectorant, est à proscrire (les jeunes pousses, cuites et mangées à la façon des asperges, étaient conseillées dans l'hypertrophie de la rate par les guérisseurs du nord de la France). Dans l'usage externe, la racine, cuite et appliquée en cataplasme, est un antiecchymotique efficace, résolvant rapidement les contusions, les meurtrissures sans plaie. Sa décoction en compresses est particulièrement utile pour effacer l'« œil au beurre noir » (Artault de Vevey, 1915) ; mais il faut prendre garde de ne pas irriter l'œil lui-même. Râpée, lavée à plusieurs eaux et bouillie, la racine donnerait une fécule nourrissante analogue à celle des ignames. La forte teneur en oxalates, la présence possible d'acide oxalique commandent pour le moins la prudence.