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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

BeggartickHairy BeggartickSwamp Beggartick

aka Beggar's tick, Cuckold, Spanish needle
(Bidens bipinnata)
[gui zhen cao]

A square-stemmed annual, growing from one to three feet tall in waste places and sandy soil from Massachusetts to Florida, Texas to Kansas. Leaves are strongly dissected (fernlike); flowers are yellow with no rays and appear August through October; the seeds are elongate ("needles") appearing in spreading clusters and each one topped with two to four barbs.

Bidens Bigelovii: Infusion of the flowering tops was used as a beverage in Texas.

< Expectorant, pectoral, emmenagogue.
Has been used in Chinese medicine for bug bites, diarrhea, snakebite.
Uses in Folk Medicine have included appendicitis, debility, diarrhea, dysuria, earache, furunculosis, gravel, hemorrhage, hypertension, jaundice, laryngitis, rheumatism, and tabes; has also been used as a female aphrodisiac and emmenagogue.
Leaf tea was used by the Cherokee to expel worms.
Leaves were chewed for sore throat.
The juice was once used as eardrops and as a styptic (Caution: May be an irritant).

Has been eaten as a potherb and used as a tea substitute.

(Bidens pilosa)
[jin zhan yin pan]

CONTAINS: Polyacetylenes.
Based on Zero Moisture per 100 g, the leaves contain: 24.5 g protein, 4.0 g fat, 56.4 g total carbohydrate, 12.1 g fiber, 15.1 g ash, 1721 mg calcium, 273 mg phosphorus, 11 mg sodium, 267 mg potassium, 12 mg beta-carotene equivalent.
The seeds contain 17.5% protein, 17.1% fat.


The whole plant is considered anti-rheumatic. Roots, leaves and flowers are strongly phototoxic; flowers are weakly antibiotic.
The decoction is consideredanti-inflammatory, alterative, and styptic; has been used for shock after an accident and for lung trouble.
Has been used in enemas for intestinal problems.
In Chinese medicine, the leaf has been used for wounds and ulcers.
In Hawaii it has been used for thrush; also shows candidicidal activity.
Phenylheptatrine, when isolated from the leaves, is bacteriacidal, fungicidal, and destroys fibroblast cells in human skin (only in the presence of light at concetrations as low as 10 ppm).

Young shoots have been eaten as a potherb.

aka Beggar's tick, Chereda (Russian), Cuckold, Devil's pitchfork, Harvest lice, Spanish needles
(Bidens connata)
Also: (B. frondosa) and (B. triparita)

This smooth-stemmed plant grows from one to three feet high as a common weed which is found in wet ground, fields, swamps and ditches from New England to Missouri. The leaves are lanceolate, opposite, serrate, acuminate, and decurrnt on the petiole; flowers are terminal, florets are yellow and appear in August; the fruit is a wedge-shaped achenium.

SOLVENT: Boiling water


Emmenagogue, expectorant, antispasmodic, diaphoretic.
Roots and seeds were used as an emmenagogue as well as an expectorant for throat irritations; also for croup (a strong infusion of the leaves was sweetened with honey and administered in tablespoon doses every 15 minutes until vomiting occurred, at which time, the cure was supposedly effected).
Leaves have been heated and used as a poultice on throat and chest for bronchitis and laryngitis resulting from exposure to cold.
The seeds in powder or tincture form have been used in cases of amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea and other uterine problems.
Has been used for palpitations of the heart.
B. triparita (the Russian variety), aka Chereda, has long been employed in Folk Medicine; decoctions were used for tension accompanying fear, to purify the blood, for liver trouble, colds, inflammation of the bladder, headache, eczema (taken internally as tea, decoction, or extract); used externally as a wash for skin irritations; was given to overwrought children to induce sleep; the tea was used for scrofula, rickets, diathesis, gout, and as a diuretic and diaphoretic; was also used to improve metabolism (1 tbsp to 1 cup boiling water, steeped 10 miutes, then strained; a dose was 1 tbsp eight times daily).
Russian clinical trials have been in the form of Nastoika, extracts, and decoctions in combinations of compounds for treatment of internal and external ailments.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
INFUSION, DECOCTION = 1 tsp root (cut small or granulated) to 1 cup boiling water; 1 cup taken cold during the day, a mouthful at a time.
TINCTURE = 5 to 20 minims.

Has been cultivated successfully in Russia by seeding 12 to 14 pounds per acre with a harvest of up to 2500 pounds of dry herb; harvest begins just before flowering using only the leaves and tops.

Produces cream shades of brown, orange and yellow; used to dye silk and wool.

©2002 by Ernestina Parziale, CH