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Botanical name

Buckwheat – Fagopyrum esculentum Moench


Knotweed family (Polygonaceae)

Useful information about the plant

Buckwheat arrived in the 14th century with the Mongols from its native country, Central Asia, to Central Europe and was originally referred to as "heath corn". Later it was known as "buckwheat" because it thrives on poor, sandy soils and therefore previously the preferred locations for farming were the heath areas of North West Germany, first in Lüneburg heath and later in the heaths of Mecklenburg. In a Lüneburg deed dated 1385 it was first documented under the name of "bokwete". After a strong decline in farming, it is being cultivated more today because it has earned itself a place as an integral part of healthy organic food. It also grows wild in wastelands and on the edges of fields.
With the name "buckwheat" one incorrectly associates it with a "grain". But it is an annual plant that grows very quickly up to 60cm high, with alternate, very distinctive, heart-arrow shaped leaves, whose stipules grow into collar shape with the growing point on the stem being the enveloping "Ochrea" (bag). The numerous white to pink, small flowers are joined together in compact, spike-like thyrsi. They are very rich in nectar, so the buckwheat plant represents an important attraction for bees. It flowers from July to October. The fruits are reddish-brown, 4 to 6mm long and a sharp triangular shape. They are reminiscent of beechnuts, the fruit of the Beech. This is expressed in the generic name Fagopyrum derived from the Latin word ‘fagus’ (= beech) and Greek ‘pyros’ (= a species of wheat), the German literally translates as "Buckwheat". The epithet esculentum means "edible, palatable" (Latin ‘esca’ = food). The fruits are processed as food for porridge, semolina or flour.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

The dried herb harvested when in bloom is used, consisting of leaves, flowers and stems. The commercial drug is from Hungary and Africa.

Ingredients of the drug

The buckwheat herb contains Rutin and other flavonoids and chlorogenic acid and phenol carboxylic acids; the flowers contain fagopyrin, a photosensitising naphthodianthrone.

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of the buckwheat herb (herba Fagopyri) is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur).

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

In chronic venous insufficiency stage I and II, as well as with microcirculatory dysfunction and arteriosclerosis (clinical trials). Commission E has not worked on the buckwheat herb due to time constraints.

Traditional use

Traditionally used alone or in combination with other materials for improving the condition of tired legs (traditional use according to § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

  • cut buckwheat herb as a tea
  • powdered drug in tablets


Prepared drugs: see package insert;
Tea infusion: drink 1 cup of buckwheat tea 3 times a day for several weeks.

Preparation of a tea infusion

Pour 150ml of boiling water over 2g of the buckwheat herb and strain after 10 min; it is better if it has been boiled for 2 to 3 minutes.


There is currently no experience on the harmlessness of the buckwheat herb during pregnancy and breast-feeding. The syndrome of chronic venous insufficiency is not relevant to children and adolescents.

Side effects

Very rare headaches.


None known


Drug monographs


Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 255
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 72
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 142
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Buckwheat herb, no. 2184)

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