The unfortunate name of this pretty little herb was chosen with reference to its habitat in the upland bogs and moors and the similarity of its leaves to those of broad beans. But one could easily have come up with something more imaginative, like 'starry eyes of Persephone', or something of the sort. Due to habitat destruction this beautiful plant has become quite rare, but in the remote bogs and marshes of the highlands it can still be found - sometimes abundantly. It is one of those plants that animals use for self-medication Sheep in particular seek it out when plagued by consumption (tuberculosis). Due to its bitter properties it was sometimes used instead of hops, for brewing beer and as an additive in herbal cigarettes.
The principal characteristic of Bog Bean is its bitter taste, which stimulates the flow of digestive juices. Traditionally it was used as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid in cases of indigestion, bloating, constipation and heartburn, and to support the liver and gallbladder. Older herbals mention its use as a febrifuge and as an external application to treat rheumatism and gout, rheumatoid arthritis and to dissolve glandular swellings. Bog Bean is a deobstruent,, whose gentle action helps to remove obstacles and to get things back into 'flow'.
Bog Bean's cleansing properties can also be used in a magical context to help clear obstacles and remove clutter and debris from the psychic sphere. The leaves can be used in herbal smoking mixes and incense blends.
Use in modest quantities, in teaspoonful doses, as large quantities can cause vomiting or diarrhoea. not recommended in cases of IBS, Crohn's disease or diarrhoea.