Health Benefits of Purplestem beggarticks

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Purplestem beggarticks Quick Facts
Name: Purplestem beggarticks
Scientific Name: Bidens connata
Origin It is widespread across much of Eurasia, North Africa, and North America, and naturalized in Australia and on certain Pacific Islands.
This is a common weed, found in wet grounds, rich fields, swamps and ditches from New England to Missouri. Purplestem beggarticks is a summer annual measuring 1-4 ½ feet tall branching occasionally. Stems are light green to purple, more or less terete and glabrous. Usually leaves are opposite though some uppermost leaves are alternate. Leaf blades are 2 to 6 inches long and ½ to 1 ½ inches across. They are lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate and coarsely serrated along its margins. Lower leaves have 1 to 2 smaller basal lobes. Upper blade surface is glabrous and medium green and lower blade surface is glabrous and pale to medium green. Leaf blades are purplish green or purple. Petioles are 2 inches long and narrow. The terminal florets are yellow, and can be seen in August; the fruit is a wedge-formed achenium. The flowerheads are ½ to 1 ¼ inches across which consists of numerous disk florets and usually no ray florets. The corolla of disk florets is yellow to orange, narrowly tubular and about 3 mm long. Each corolla has 4 to 5 recurved to ascending lobes along its upper rim. Disk florets have 8 floral bracts which are yellowish brown or yellowish black and ovate as well as glabrous. The flower blooms from late summer to fall and lasts about 1 to 2 months.


Flower center is round about ¼ to ½ inch across, orange-yellow and made up of tiny disk flowers having 4 or 5 lobes. Ray flowers are uncommon. Inner bracts surrounds the disk which are equal in size, narrowly egg shaped, brownish green to yellow. Outer leafy bracts are unequal size, 2 to 3 times longer than head and narrow lance elliptic to spatula shaped.

Leaves and stem

Leaves are opposite, mostly unlobed, 1 ½ to 4 inches long, 1/3 to 1 ¼ inches wide, lance elliptic with serrated edges or irregularly toothed, sharp point at the tip, stalkless or tapering at the base to a short winged stalk, hairless or hairy to varying degrees especially around the edges.

Sometimes lower leaves have one to a few deep lobes towards the base. Stems are erect and can be green or tinged red but usually purple in color, hence the common name Purple-stem Beggarticks. Stems are typically smooth but fine hairs may be present.


Flower heads produce purplish black to brown seeds about ¼ to 1/3 inch long which are four angled and somewhat flattened. Usually the top are 2 to 4 barbed awns which helps to attach to anything that passes by.

Facts About Purplestem beggarticks

Name Purplestem beggarticks
Scientific Name Bidens connata
Native It is widespread across much of Eurasia, North Africa, and North America, and naturalized in Australia and on certain Pacific Islands.
Common/English Name Cockhold Herb, Spanish Needles, Beggar’s Tick, Devil’s Pitchfork, London bur-marigold
Name in Other Languages French: Bident soudé, Bident à feuilles connées, Bident cone;
English: London Bur-marigold, Purplestem beggarticks, Purple-stemmed beggarticks, Swamp beggars’ ticks, Connate beggarticks, Purple-stemmed swamp beggarticks, Purple-stemmed tickseed
Plant Size 200 cm (80 inches) tall
Stem Light green to purple, glabrous
Leaf Lanceolate, opposite, serrate, acuminate
Flower Yellow
Medicinal  part The herb


Dr. Brown (1857) “The root and seeds are emmenagogue and expectorant; the seeds, in powder or tincture have been used in amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, and some other uterine derangements, and an infusion of the root has proved beneficial in severe cough.” It has been used with great success for palpitation of the heart and for croup. For the latter affliction a strong infusion of the leaves sweetened with honey and administered in tablespoonful doses every 15 min. until vomiting is produced is regarded as a cure. The leaves, heated to the form of a poultice and laid upon the throat and chest in cases of bronchial and laryngeal attacks from exposure to cold, etc, are very beneficial.


1 teaspoonful of the root, cut small or granulated, to 1 cupful of boiling water. Drink cold 1 cupful during the day, a large mouthful at a time. Of the tincture, 5–20 drops. Either Bidens bipinnata (Spanish needles) or Bidens frondosa (Beggar’s tick) can be employed, both having the same medical properties.

Russian Experience

A variety of Bidens grow throughout Russia. Chereda (Bidens triparita) has the most attention medicinally and commercially. The well-dried leaves keep their natural colour, have specific aroma and astringent, slightly bitter taste.

Folk Medicine employed the silent qualities of Chereda long before words were expressed on paper. Decoctions were used for tension of fear, blood purifying, liver trouble, colds, inflammation of the bladder, headache, eczema (internally as tea, decoction, extracts), external bathing for skin irritations, nervous upset children to induce sleep (Bello-Russ. Academy of Science, Minsk, 1965). Tea used for scrofula, rickets, diathesis, gout and as a diuretic and diaphoretic. For improved metabolism, 1 tablespoonful to 1 cupful of boiling water, steeped 10 min. and strained. Dose, 1 tablespoonful eight times a day (Moscow University, Moscow, 1963).


In the form of Nastoika, extracts and decoctions in combinations of compounds for treatment of internal and external ailments. Pharmacopeia of late has given attention to Bidens triparita.


The wild collection of Bidens falls short of the demand. Cultivation is very successful: they seed 12–14 lb. per acre and harvest up to 2,500 lb. of dry herb. Cutting starts just before the buds flower and when the plant is about 50 cm. high, using only the leaves and tops.


Beautiful cream shades of brown, orange and yellow are used for dying wool and silk.

Medicinal uses

  • It is used for inflammation, bleeding, pain of urinary tract mucosa and used for benign prostatic hypertrophy and increasing excretion of uric acid and decreases the chances of gout attacks.
  • It is used in Chinese medicine for diarrhea, bug bites and snakebite.
  • Use it in folk medicine for debility, appendicitis, furunculosis, earache, dysuria, hemorrhage, gravel, jaundice, hypertension, tabes and rheumatism.
  • Cherokee use the leaf tea to expel worms.
  • Chew the leaves for sore throat.
  • Use the juice as eardrops.
  • Use the seeds in form of tincture or powder for amenorrhoea, dysmenorrhea.
  • Root infusion is helpful for severe cough.
  • Use it for heart palpitation and croup.
  • Heat the leaves to make a poultice and put it on throat and chest for bronchial and laryngeal attacks from exposure to cold.






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