Duckweed was used in antiquity and recommended in compress form for the treatment of infections and gout by Dioscorides. He called it ‘pond seaweed’. The plant was also well known to Arab doctors during the Middle Ages. European herbalist writers of the same period called it ’sea lentil’. Lonicerus wrote, “Sea lentils, by their nature, have the ability to stop bloodflow caused by heat. Juice extracted from sea lentils is beneficial when applied to fistulae of the anus. They can cool man’s ardour if applied in the form of a compress. The juice of sea lentils can soothe inflamed swellings.” He also recommended it for the treatment of podagra (gout in the root of the big toe joint). Lemna is the Greek name for a water plant and probably comes from limne, meaning swamp or pond. The Latin word minor means small, tiny. The Latin name for the plant was Lens palustris or Lens aquatica.
This small plant, which swims on the surface of the water, comprises a plant body of round or oval leaves of 3mm to 5mm in length from which one root fibril extends down into the water. The unisexual flowers occur in threes on the edge of the stems. They are whitish in colour, rounded, slightly compressed and very delicate. This plant flowers very rarely. The seed vessel yields a seed which is ribbed lengthways. The numerous dagger-like raphides (needle-like crystals occurring in plant cells), which are present in the leaves, protect the plant from slug damage. The plant is a favourite however with ducks and geese. Duckweed reproduces incredibly in ponds and pools, covering the surface completely. In doing so, it prevents the water from stagnating. Duckweed flowers from April to May.
Duckweed can be found growing on freshwater ponds and pools all over the world – except in east Asia and South America – in countries with a cool, oceanic climate.
A.Vogel/Bioforce uses a homeopathic dilution produced from the fresh whole plants of Lemna minor L. in accordance with the current Homöopathisches Arzneibuch (HAB) (New Official Homoeopathic Pharmacopoeia).