Bog Bean

A single species of creeping, deciduous, aquatic or marginal aquatic perennial belongs to this genus, which is widely distributed in northern temperate regions. Menyanthes trifoliata is a decorative plant for bog gardens and pool margins, having distinctive leaves, resembling those of the fava (broad) bean, and delicately fringed flowers. Menyanthes is closely related to Gentiana species (See, Gentian) and contains similarly bitter glycosides. It is used as a substitute for Gentiana lutea (See, Yellow Gentian) but may irritate the digestive system in patients with gastric inflammation of infection. The name Menyanthes comes from the Greek menyanthos, a name used by Theophrastus for a water plant.

Bog Bean, a small aquatic plant with leaves similar to those seen on bean plants, grows well in a bog, a standing body of water that has no underground spring of fresh water to feed it. Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere, bog bean is used to treat appetite loss and indigestion because its strong, bitter taste stimulates the production of saliva and gastric juices.

Upright perennial with a thick, horizontal rhizome and long-stalked, trifoliate leaves, divided into elliptic to obovate leaflets, to 10cm (4in) long. White, fringed flowers, to 2.5cm (1in) across, flushed pink on the outside, are borne in long spikes from late spring to summer.

Common Name:
Bog Bean
Other Names:
Bog Myrtle, Buckbean, Marsh Clover, Marsh Trefoil, Water Shamrock
Botanical Name:
Menyanthes trifoliata
Native Location:
Europe, N Asia, NW India and N America
Shallow, acid water or wet soil in sun.
By seed sown in wet soil mix in winter; by sections of rhizomes, 23-30cm (9-12in) long, pegged horizontally in mud or in baskets or aquatic soil mix in spring.
Leaves are picked in summer and dried for use in infusions, liquid extracts, or tinctures.
20-30cm (8-12in)
Parts Used:
A very bitter herb that is diuretic and laxative, stimulates the digestion, and improves lymphatic drainage.
Medicinal Uses:
Internally for indigestion, anorexia, arthritis, rheumatism, muscular weakness in chronic fatique syndrome (CFS), and chronic infections with debility and exhaustion. Often combined with Apium graveolens (See, Wild Celery) or Actaea racemosa (See, Black Cohosh) to relieve joint and muscular pin.
To treat diseases of the digestive system, fever, insomnia, headache, and lack of menstruation. Germany's Commission E has approved the use of bog bean to treat loss of appetite and dyspeptic complaints such as heartburn, bloating and nausea.
Typical Dose:
A typical daily dose of bog bean may range from 1.5 to 3.0gm of the herb. Tea is prepared by pouring boiling water over 0.5 to 1.0gm of herb, steeping for five to ten minutes, then drinking before meals.
Drug Interactions:
Taking bog bean with these drugs may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising:
Abciximab, (ReoPro)
Acemetacin, (Acemetacin Heumann, Acemetacin Sandoz)
Antithrombin III, (Thrombate III)
Argatroban, (Argatroban)
Aspirin, (Buffering, Ecotrin)
Aspirin and Dipyridamole, (Aggrenox)
Bivalirudin, (Angiomax)
Celecoxib, (Celebrex)
Choline Magnesium Trisalicylate, (Trilisate)
Choline Salicylate, (Teejel)
Clopidogrel, (Plavix)
Dalteparin, (Fragmin)
Danaparoid, (Orgaran)
Diclofenac, (Cataflam, Voltaren)
Diflunisal, (Apo-Diflunisal, Dolobid)
Dipyridamole, (Novo-Dipiradol, Persantine)
Dipyrone, (Analgina, Dinador)
Enoxaparin, (Lovenox)
Eptifibatide, (Integrillin)
Etodolac, (Lodine, Ultradol)
Etoricoxib, (Arcoxia)
Fenoprofen, (Nalfon)
Flurbiprofen, (Ansaid, Ocufen)
Fondaparinux, (Arixtra)
Heparin, (Hepalean, Hep-Lock)
Ibuprofen, (Advil, Motrin)
Indobufen, (Ibustrin)
Indomethacin, (Indocin, Novo-Methacin)
Ketoprofen, (Orudis, Rhodis)
Ketorolac, (Acular, Toradol)
Lepirudin, (Refludan)
Magnesium Salicylate, (Doan's Mobidin)
Meclofenamate, (Meclomen)
Mefenamic Acid, (Ponstan, Ponstel)
Meloxicam, (MOBIC, Mobicox)
Nabumetone, (Apo-Nabumetone, Relafen)
Naproxen, (Aleve, Naprosyn)
Niflumic Acid, (Niflam, Nifluril)
Nimesulide, (Areuma, Aulin)
Oxaprozin, (Apo-Oxaprozin, Daypro)
Piroxicam, (Feldene, Nu-Pirox)
Rofecoxib, (Vioxx)
Salsalate, (Amgesic, Salflex)
Sulindac, (Clinoril, Nu-Sundac)
Tenoxicam, (Dolmen, Mobiflex)
Tiaprofenic Acid, (Dom Tiaprofenic, Surgam)
Ticlopidine, (Alti-Ticlopidine, Ticlid)
Tinzaparin, (Innohep)
Tirofiban, (Aggrastat)
Tolmetin, (Tolectin)
Valdecoxib, (Bextra)
Warfarin, (Coumadin, Jantoven)
Taking bog bean with these drugs may interfere with the action of the drug:
Cimetidine, (Nu-Cimet, Tagamet)
Famotidine, (Apo-Famotidine, Pepcid)
Famotidine, Calcium Carbonate, and Magnesium Hydroxide, (Pepcid Complete)
Lansoprazole, (Prevacid)
Omeprazole, (Losec, Prilosec)
Pantoprazole, (Pantoloc, Protonix)
Ranitidine, (Alti-Ranitidine, Zantac)
Sucralfate, (Carafate, Sulcrate)
Disease Effects:
May increase risk of bleeding in those with bleeding disorders.
Excess causes vomiting. Not give to patients with diarrhea, dysentery, or colitis
Culinary Uses:
Dried leaves are made into tea, and used as a substitute for hops in brewing beer (Sweden).
Encylopedia of Herbs by Deni Brown Copyright ©: 1995, 2001 Dorling Kindersley Limited pp 278-279
The Essential Herb-Drug-Vitamin Interaction Guide by Geo. T. Grossberg,MD and Barry Fox,PhD. Copyright©2007 Barry Fox,PhD. Pp.90-92