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Discover Centinodia: Uses and Properties

Discover Centinodia: Uses and Properties

Published: 31 May, 2024 | 4'

Sheep's Sorrel is a plant that has traditionally been used for its numerous benefits in the body, including urinary well-being.

Discover the origin of this plant and the role it plays in different processes in our body.

What is Sheep's Sorrel?

It is a herbaceous plant that contains active compounds such as flavonoids (avicularin, kaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin) and primarily gallic acid, along with tannins and salicylic acid, among others.

Origin of the plant

Sheep's Sorrel, or Polygonum aviculare as it is known botanically, is a species of flowering plant in the family Polygonaceae. It is an annual herbaceous plant, meaning it completes its life cycle in one year, and has small lanceolate elliptical leaves.

It is native to Europe, although it grows worldwide in dry areas, roadside edges, and uncultivated areas. The species name aviculare is due to the fact that many bird species feed on its seeds.

Other names for Sheep's Sorrel

This plant is also known as sheepweed, birdgrass, knotgrass, and great yellow sorrel.

Properties of Sheep's Sorrel

Sheep's Sorrel is a very versatile plant used in traditional herbal medicine and has been studied ever since for its beneficial action in various areas. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) recognizes its property in maintaining urinary well-being.

  • EFSA on hold 4462, describes that Sheep's Sorrel can increase urine volume by facilitating diuresis in the urinary tract, which helps eliminate bacteria from the urinary system.
  • Additionally, its mechanism of action reduces the ability of bacteria to adhere to the walls of the urinary tract, facilitating their expulsion from the body through urine.

Traditional uses of Sheep's Sorrel

Traditionally, this plant has been used for digestive discomfort as a stomach tonic due to its tannin content, which justifies its astringent action, as well as its recognized diuretic properties that help with urinary discomfort.

In some cultures, the seeds are used as food, either eaten directly or used to make flour for cookies or mixed with wheat.

Sheep's Sorrel and its relation to the urinary tract

Sheep's Sorrel

Urinary discomfort is largely caused by bacterial adherence to the surface of the urinary tract. Specifically, the main bacteria responsible is Escherichia coli, which normally inhabits the digestive tract and then moves from the perianal area to the urethra.

Furthermore, it is more common for women to experience frequent and recurring urinary discomfort due to their shorter urethra.

In this regard, Sheep's Sorrel acts as an ally thanks to its ability to help reduce bacterial attachment in the urinary tract and facilitate their expulsion in the urine.

How to take Sheep's Sorrel

To take advantage of its benefits, Sheep's Sorrel can be found in various forms such as infusions or dietary supplements.


In its traditional use, Sheep's Sorrel is prepared as infusions, especially to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort:

  • 1.5-2 g in 150 ml of boiled water, 3-4 times a day.
  • 3 g in 200 ml of water, twice a day.

Dietary supplements

Sheep's Sorrel can be found in the form of dietary supplements accompanied by other beneficial ingredients for the urinary tract such as American cranberry or D-mannose.

Precautions and Considerations for Sheep's Sorrel

As indicated by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety, it is not recommended to consume Sheep's Sorrel, like other herbal extracts, for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for individuals under 18 years old. Any doubts regarding this should always be consulted with a healthcare professional.

Are there any side effects?

There are no reports of adverse effects or interactions with the use of Sheep's Sorrel. If any undesirable effects occur during its use in any form, discontinue consumption and consult a healthcare professional to determine the cause.

Other tips for using Sheep's Sorrel

As recommended by food authorities, Sheep's Sorrel can be used alongside other dietary supplements, although it is advisable to consult your general practitioner or trusted healthcare professional before starting to take any of them.

Curiosities about Sheep's Sorrel

Due to its extensive history in traditional herbal medicine, this plant is very popular in cultures such as the Oriental, despite its European origin. Here are some curiosities about this plant:

  • It is a plant that easily adapts to almost any climate, growing rapidly. Outside of its natural habitat, it can be considered an "invasive" species as it can displace native plants.
  • It appears in the Harry Potter film series.

Sheep's Sorrel in Popular Culture: its Appearance in Harry Potter

This plant appears in the Harry Potter movies as one of the ingredients in the Polyjuice Potion, which had the magical property of transforming the drinker into another person, possibly due to its name in English, knotgrass, which literally translates as "knot grass".

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Content reviewed by specialists from the MARNYS Scientific Information Area. This article is informative and does not substitute the consultation with a specialist.