Polygala plant for Herbal Naturopathy: properties, benefits, uses, side effects

Polygala is a medicinal plant with an emollient, expectorant and laxative action, useful for diuresis, against intestinal problems, cough, asthma and bronchitis. Let’s find out better.

Properties of the polygon

Polygala is a plant with a laxative, expettornate, emollient and stomachic action, useful for promoting diuresis, against rheumatism and as a tonic.

These important therapeutic properties are due to the presence of active ingredients such as: polygaline, gaulterin, polygalamarine, saponins, tannins, mucilage and heteroside gualterina.

The expectorant property of polygala makes it an excellent remedy in case of cough, whooping cough, cold, asthma, bronchitis, respiratory ailments. The polygala also stimulates diuresis and sweating and this helps in case of fever.

The polygala also has a laxative action and therefore useful in the presence of intestinal problems, thus favoring the elimination of waste harmful to the body.

How to use

The entire plant, including the root, is used from the polygala. The polygala plant can be used as an infusion for anti-inflammatory and laxative purposes, or as a powder or fluid extract against bronchitis and as an expectorant. 

Polygala can also be taken in the form of a decoction, useful as an expectorant against phlegm, simply making it with 30 g of root boiled in a liter of water. The liquid drunk should be filtered, allowed to cool and taken every two hours in the dose of a spoon.

Contraindications of the polygala

Avoid the use of polygala in case of gastritis, peptic ulcer or hypersensitivity to one or more components. At high doses, nausea and vomiting may occur. It is contraindicated to take this plant during pregnancy and lactation. 

Description of the plant

The Polygala (Polygala vulgaris) is a herbaceous, perennial plant that belongs to the Polygalaceae family.

The appearance of this plant is very characteristic, in fact it has a rough and unbranched stem bent to the ground and tends to go up again during the flowering period (ie between May and August).

The light green leaves are rounded and very soft. The small and pretty flowers are purple or, more rarely, pink or white.

The polygala can reach a maximum height of 15 centimeters. The taste is very bitter. The scent is imperceptible. A botanical peculiarity of this plant is that the seeds germinate only in the presence of light.

Habitat of the polygala

The polygala commonly grows in grassy and sunny places, in meadows, from the plains to the mountain belt. Widespread in northern Italy, especially in the Alps, in clayey and calcareous soils.


The polygala plant was already used in 700, in Virgina, by local populations, against poison and snake bites. In Europe, however, its use has always been intended for the treatment of phlegm.

The term polygala derives from the Greek and means “a lot of milk”. This name gave rise to the belief that the plant had the ability to promote milk production but this property has not yet been ascertained. 

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