Bittersweet – a vinelike perennial with trailing or climbing stems up to 10 feet long, bittersweet has alternate heart-shaped to oval leaves, which usually have two earlike segments at their bases. Its star-shaped flowers (April-September) are pinkish purple with bright yellow stamens; they are followed by green berries, which turn bright red.
Parts Used – Twigs, leaves, root bark.
Bittersweet has stimulant, expectorant, diuretic, and detoxifying properties. It appears to be most-effective taken internally to treat skin problems such as eczema, itchiness, psoriasis, and warts. A decoction of the twigs, applied as a wash, may also help to lessen the severity of these conditions. The herb may also be taken to relieve asthma, chronic bronchitis, and rheumatic conditions, including gout.
How much to take
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 teaspoonful of the dried herb and leave to infuse for 10 minutes. This should be drunk twice daily.
Tincture: take 1 – 2 ml of the tincture three times a day