Aristolochia herb medicinal uses and health benefits (Birthwort)

Aristolochia spp. herb is herbaceous, deciduous, evergreen, woody vine has a smooth, erect, and twining stem. Here, we will talk about Aristolochia medicinal uses and health benefits.

Aristolochia herb medicinal uses and health benefits

Birthwort plant has simple, cordate, and alternate leaves. Flowers grow on leaf axils. The heart-shaped or kidney-shaped leaves are membranous and grow on leaf stalks that do not have any stipules.

The inflated flowers are dirty yellow with a globose base. It continues as a perianth tube and ends in a tongue-shaped bright lobe without any Corolla. It has united sepals and has six to forty stamens in one whorl. The fruit has many endospermic seeds.

Aristolochia common name

The common name of this plant is birthwort. Other names include Dutchman’s pipe, pipevine, and duck flower.

Botanical name and family of birthwort herb

The botanical name is Aristolochia. It belongs to the Aristolochiaceae family.

Geological places where Aristolochia grows

It grows natively in the Caucasus regions of Azerbaijan, Russia, Georgia, and Armenia. It also grows indigenously in the Mediterranean regions of France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Cyprus, and Greece. You also find it in Asia Minor region of Turkey.

Aristolochia medicinal uses and health benefits

Birthwort flower and fruit

The active compounds of birthwort plant are Aristolochic acids, tannins, and volatile oils. The value of birthwort is due to the many medicinal properties it has. It includes the following:

  1. Anti-inflammatory
  2. Antibiotic
  3. Analgesic
  4. Abortifacient
  5. Diaphoretic
  6. Induces Menstruation
  7. Nervine
  8. Tonic
  9. Wound Healer
  • Edema: The birthwort plant has astringent property. You can use it to remove the fluids in abscesses and wounds. It will help increase the speed of healing. It is best had in the form of decoctions and infusions.
  • Stimulate the activity of the white blood cells: The action of the white blood cells is to fight pathogens that infect us. By stimulating their activity, the Aristolochia plant helps us get better fast.
  •  Heal wounds fast: The infusion shows some antiseptic property. Apply it on the wounds and cuts to help the healing process. 
  • Induce labour: They give the decoction of the birthwort plant to help induce labour. It prevents infections and induces menstruation. So, you must take care as it might induce a miscarriage. Use only a mild decoction of the plant. 
  • Joint pain: The anti-inflammatory property of the birthwort is useful for controlling inflammation of the tissues in the bone joints. It reduces the pain and helps the patients get relief. 
  • Heal ulcers: The infusion of the Aristolochia spp. is useful for curing the ulcers. It soothes the stomach and helps the ulcers to heal fast. 
  • Helps relieve symptoms of asthma and bronchitis: You can use the extract of the plant to help open congested airways. It removes the blockages and helps to soothe the airways. 
  • Stomach ache: It helps make the functioning of the digestive system normal. It can make an upset stomach all right. Take the infusion of the leaves of the plant twice a day until you feel alright again.
  • Good for sores: If you have bed sores or any kind of sores, you can apply the paste of the Aristolochia leaves and roots of the plant on the skin where you have the sore. This will help to soothe the sore.
  • Helps rid of flatulence: Take the tea made from birthwort to get relief from flatulence. It will help improve the bowel movement and remove the gas from the intestine.
  • Used as an antidote for snake bites: Due to its potent nature, it finds use as an antidote for snake bites. Apply the paste on the site of the snake bite.
  • A cure for hangovers: You can find the birthwort branch in bottles in a bar. This is because of its repute as a cure for hangovers.
  • Malaria: Give the infusion of the birthwort to people with malaria. It will bring down the malaria fever and help the patient recover fast.
  • Use it for pain: Given that it has analgesic properties, the people having pain due to trauma or muscle sprain can get relief by having the infusion of the birthwort.
  • A cure for fluid retention: You can get relief from fluid retention by using the decoction of the Aristolochia plant. Apply the poultice made from the leaves of the plant and leave it on for one or two hours.
  • Remedy for an irregular heartbeat: It helps remedy the rhythm of the heart. It is toxic so you must make sure you have an expert to direct you on the matter.
  •  Rectify gynaecological disorders: The various gynaecological disorders can cause much pain for women. The use of birthwort infusion helps relieve the pain and make the disorder alright again.
  • Fever remedy: Use the infusion of Aristolochia to control various kinds of fevers. Have a glass of the birthwort tea twice a day until your fever subsides. 
  • A remedy for a late menstrual period: For women who have late periods, having birthwort decoction will help to speed up the menstrual cycle. Have a cup of birthwort tea, and this will make the woman menstruate.
  • Useful as a contraceptive: In some regions of the world, people use the Aristolochia as a contraceptive as it induces a miscarriage. Have the strong infusion of the Aristolochia to induce the menstruation.
  • Useful for ear-nose-throat treatments: The birthwort helps open the airways and clear any phlegm. It also augments the health of the ear, nose, and throat. If you have blocked sinuses, use the infusion of the birthwort both in the morning and the evening. It will give you good relief. 
  • Stimulate the immune system: The birthwort helps stimulate the action of the white blood cells. This is the primary defender against germs, bacteria, and viruses. By augmenting this action, our immune system gets activated, and we remain protected from foreign invasions. 
  • Cure for colic due to allergy: When colic forms in the gastrointestinal tract due to allergies, it can be overcome by the action of the birthwort. Colic can form in the GI tract and in the gallbladder.

Side effects of Aristolochia

People do not use this genus of the plant because it is highly toxic. It contains the lethal toxin Aristolochic acid. Even if taken in low doses, it can lead to the formation of tumours. It is a kidney toxin and carcinogenic. You should use it under expert medical supervision only.


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Anoop Sharma

About Anoop Sharma

Anoop Sharma is an IT professional, freelance health writer and creator of He is passionate about helping others learn about health issues and their natural remedies, yoga and healthy food.

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