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Buckbean or bog-bean (Menyantes trifoliata L.)

Updated on April 14, 2012
Bog-bean or buckbean is often found around bogs or swamps.
Bog-bean or buckbean is often found around bogs or swamps. | Source

The health benefits of this almost unknown to the west culture herb are quite a lot. The herbal infusion is good for:

  • Gastritis (especially low stomach acidity)
  • Indigestion
  • Gas
  • No appetite
  • Low bile secretion
  • High body temperature without infection
  • Peripheral low blood circulation (cold, sweaty feet and palms)

The herb is also fed to cattle for better milk secretion and added in the brewery for faster fermentation.


In Bulgarian herbal slang, this herb is also called:

  • Water clover (Водна детелина)
  • Godmother's spoon (Богородична лъжичка)
  • Water threeleaf (Воден трилистник)
  • Bittersweet (горчивче)
  • Bitter Clover
  • ... and many others.

Area of growth.

The bog-bean is growing around bogs, but it can also be found in areas with forest turf near riverbanks.

Can be found at big areas in Northern states of America, Canada, most European and Asian countries.

Mainly around bogs, because other areas are easily found for cattle, goats and sheep and they are grazing it - not leaving enough for gathering by a herbalist.

Except what it seen in the picture above, the herb is also having very strong crawling root, leaves are solid with 3-leaves like a clover, flowers are grouped always at the top of the stem often white but sometimes pink-to-white.

Blossoms are cup-like with 5 stamens around the germen. When germinated, the forming fruit has 6 to 8 small yellow egglike seeds.

Gathering the useful part.

Gather the clover-like leaves when the blooming starts between summer months May and July.

You can cut the leaves with small part of their handles with a herbal scissor.

Don't pull the leaves with hand, because you can root the whole plant.

Gather only well formed mature leaves.

Drying must be done quickly over a small shallow box or spread paper without direct sunlight. Dry herb needs to retain the green color. If the color turns black - it is ruined.

Another quick method, if you can do it, is freezing the gathered leaves in the fridge (at very low temperature). The fridge removes the liquid completely and you can keep the herb until winter days with ease.

You need to have a nearby fridge around you though. Not easy if you are gathering herbs in the wilderness.


Pour 1/2 pint (300 ml) boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the dried herb.

Leave the infusion for about 1 hour.

Drink half water glass (100 ml) before meals.

It will get your appetite up after 10-15 minutes and you will feed with pleasure.

You will feel the beneficial effect of the bog-bean immediately if you are gastritis or indigestion sufferer.

The infusion will also battle gas and bloated intestines, but it takes a while for the beneficial ingredients to build up in the body system (few days of use).

It is also very good for winter fever or cold palms and feet, but you need to gather enough at the summer.

Stay healthy.


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    • m0rd0r profile image

      Stoill Barzakov 6 years ago from Sofia, Bulgaria

      There are other Menyantes with the same blossoms, but it is not having triple leaflet (trifoliata) but a single leave.

      And a yellow blossomed, partially submerged in the bog Menyantes.

      Both subspecies are non-posionous, so you just need to distinguish the right ones from the look-alikes.

      Pink or white blossoms. Triple leaflet and growing in wet soil instead inside the bog.

    • Lee Tea profile image

      Lee Tea 6 years ago from Erie, PA

      Thanks for your info on this often overlooked herb. Does buckbean have any look-alikes to be aware of while gathering?