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Did you know that Bindweed is found on Gozo and has many antibacterial and anti-fungal properties?
Author of, Weeds For Health On Gozo, Heléna Szöllősy shares everything you need to know about the wild plants that make up Gozo’s unique and diverse flora. Enjoy learning about the healing benefits and many usages of Bindweed which grows on Gozo from May to September.
Convulvulus arvensis – L
Botanical Name: Convulvulus arvensis – L. Synonyms: Convulvulus ambigens, Convulvulus Incanus, Convulvulus Minor Family Name: Convolvulaceae Maltese Name: Leblieb tar-raba Common Names: Creeping Jenny, Creeping jenny, Field Bindweed, Morning Glory, Possession Vine, Wild Morning Glory, Withy Wind Meaning of the Name: Convolvulus, from Latin, convolvere, ’to twine around’, ’a bindweed’ (Plinius), from convolvo, volvi, volutum, ere ’to droll together, roll up, intertwine’. arvensis, from Latin arvum, field, cultivated land, plowed land, of cultivated fields.
Bindweed is a perennial climber growing to 2 metres. The leaves are spiral, arranged linearly to arrowhead-shaped, around 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 1-2.5 cm in diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes.
On Gozo flowering occurs from May to September, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Flowers are approximately 1 -2.5 cm across and are subtended by small bracts. The flowers are hermaphrodites (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by bees, flies, and the self. The plant is self-fertile. The fruit is light brown, rounded and 0.3 cm wide. Each fruit contains two seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades.
- Habitats: Hedgerows, fields, waste places, fences etc, it can be a troublesome weed of agriculture.
- Range: Throughout the temperate regions of both Hemispheres, native to the Mediterranean.
- Status for Malta: Indigenous. Originating from Maltese islands. Very common in the wild.
- Parts Used: flower, leaves, root, resin.
- Herbal Actions: Antibacterial, Antidiabetic, Anti-depressive, Antifungal, Cholagogue, Diuretic, Laxative, Purgative.
- Main Active Constituents alkaloids (pseudo tropine, tropine, tropinone, meso-cuscohygrine), carbohydrates, proteins, 4.9% resin.
- The root, and also a resin made from the root, is cholagogue, diuretic, laxative and strongly purgative.
- A cold tea made from the flowers taken internally is a laxative and is used also to reduce excessive menstrual flow.
- The flowers are made into a tisane which is used internally for fevers, to promote sweating and so reduce the temperature.
- The juice of the root is also used for fevers, and the Arabs used the roots and leaves to stop haemorrhages. It was used primarily as a purgative, but it also helps reduce inflammation of mucous membranes. The root internally promotes the flow of bile.
- The extract of bindweed is believed to arrest the growth of tumours. Studies on Convolvulus arvensis extracts show profound promise as anticancer agents, largely through the ability to inhibit angiogenesis and the weed’s stimulatory effect on the immune system. Extracts of Convolvulus arvensis, ironically known as ’the cancer of weeds’ hold great promise as a tool in the fight against cancer.
- Bindweed, especially its flowers, is believed to exhibit antibacterial and antifungal properties against a broad spectrum of microbes, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella species and Candida albicans.
- Bindweed also finds its therapeutic use in treating the effects of stress in individuals. Bindweed can be used to soothe and calm the mind and nerves. However, similar to other tranquillizers or antipsychotic medications, bindweed should be used with caution for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and stress.
- Bindweed exhibits actions are similar to that of anti-diabetic medications as it is considered to inhibit the action of beta-glucosidase and alpha-galactosidase. This, in turn, aids in lesser absorption of carbohydrates into the intestine, thus checking the blood sugar levels.
Leaves: – used like spinach in parts of Turkey, where they are also used as a flavouring for some dishes. The plant has been used as a flavouring in a liqueur called ’Noyeau’.
The stem is used as twine for tying up plants etc. It is fairly flexible and strong but not long-lasting. A green dye is obtained from the whole plant
Make This! Bindweed Tincture
2-3 tsp of this mixture are consumed daily, mixed with syrup or honey to mask the bitter taste. One teaspoon is taken each morning on an empty stomach.
- 25g dried Bindweed
- 120ml Alcohol (40%)
- Sealed Bottle
- Put 25 g of dried Bindweed and add to 120 ml of alcohol of 40% proof.
- Leave to macerate for 12 days.
- Filter and store in a dark bottle.
Want to learn what else you can forage on Gozo? Click here.
Author : Heléna Szöllősy. Editor: GITH
Helena is an expert on the medicinal properties of plants having trained in Herbal Medicine and Naturopathy, specialising in Phytotherapy including Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Apitherapy and Bach Flower Therapy.
Information on the traditional uses and properties of herbs are provided in this book for educational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. This information is not intended to be used to diagnose, prescribe or replace professional medical care. If you have any serious health concerns, you should always check with your health care practitioner before self-administering herbs. Please also undertake your own research when foraging. Some wild plants are endangered and are protected by law.