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Table 1 Bryonia alba L.—categories of uses based on historical and ethnographic material

From: From medicinal plant to noxious weed: Bryonia alba L. (Cucurbitaceae) in northern and eastern Europe

Category of use Use [reference] Region and country
Folklorea Blessed in bouquets on Assumption Day [43, 54, 55] South-eastern Poland
Folklorea Blessed in wreaths during Corpus Christi [53, 56] Poland
Folklorea Sepulchral rituals—placed in a coffin, as a “pillow” for a dead person [57] Eastern Poland
Folklorea Apotropaic for people and domestic animals [56] Poland
Folklorea Used by witches to harm people and their cattle [54, 58, 59] Poland
Folklorea Bringing luck plant, endowed with transformative powers [54, 58] Poland
Folklorea Brings luck to the household [31] Southern Russia
Folklorea Digging the plant required putting some offering (bread, coins), in return a spirit who lived inside would not get irritated and seeking revenge [48, 60, 61] Poland, Ukraine
Folklorea Folklore of love and courtship [58] Poland
Folklorea Folklore of love and courtship [24] Lower Rhine, Germany
Folklorea Substitute for mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) [22] Germany, Poland
Folklorea Substitute for mandrake (Mandragora officinarum) [18] Denmark
Food (emergency) Starch-rich roots were recommended for baking emergency bread [62,63,64] Finland, Sweden
Food (poison) Berries can be highly toxic [65] Croatia
Medicinal (folk) Wounds, ulcers [9, 66,67,68]; fruits against sore throat and oedema [66,67,68] Lithuanian-Belarus borderland
Medicinal (folk) Wounds, mixed with fat against scabies, chest pains (the root, mixed with honey and brandy), fever, rheumatism [38, 69] Romania
Medicinal (folk) Folk illness: oberwanie (an effect of lifting something heavy); plica polonica [70] Poland
Medicinal (folk) Epilepsy [71] Denmark
Medicinal (folk) Leaves used in contusion, bruises, bone fracture [72] Lithuania
Medicinal (folk) Internal parasites, abortifacient [73] Ukraine
Medicinal (folk) Constipation [62] Sweden
Medicinal (folk) Viper bites [18] Denmark
Medicinal (folk) Snake bites [69] Romania
Medicinal (folk) Deters snakes [31] Southern Russia
Medicinal (folk current use) purgative, diuretic, mucolytic, against dropsy, gout, lung catarrh, diarrhoea, epilepsy, wounds, ulcers [51] Deliblato Sands, Serbia
Medicinal (folk current use) Anti-rheumatic [74, 75] Kosovo
Medicinal (historical) Oedema, intestinal worms, convulsion, headache, bruises, pneumonia [1] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Stitches on the side [4] Germany
Medicinal (historical) Stitches on the side [35, 36] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Epilepsy [35, 36] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Constipation; used to remove a dead foetus [36] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Internal parasitic worms, laxative, aches and sores [76] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Hysterical disorders, inflammation of the hands [77, 78] Sweden
Medicinal (historical) Pneumonia, gout [79] Germany
Medicinal (historical) Laxative and purgative medicine [80] Poland
Medicinal (historical) Dizziness, as heart tonic [81] Poland
Ornamental Good for covering wooden walls, portals and gazebos [1] Sweden
Ornamental Ornamental plant in crofters and peasant gardens during the nineteenth century [17, 76, 82,83,84] Sweden
Veterinary (folk) Used to enhance cow milking [53, 85] South-eastern Poland
Veterinary (folk) Blessed on St. George’s Day and used in rituals to increase fatness of the cow’s milk [86] Upper Pčinja, Leskovačka Morava in Serbia
Veterinary (folk) Blessed for Epiphany together with common juniper and used in cow fumigation, when a cow suffered from udder infection [53] Central-western Poland
Veterinary (folk) Given to pigs, cattle and sheep to prevent and cure several illnesses [38] Romania
Veterinary (folk) Given to domestic hogs for parasitic worms and anthrax; pigs’ prophylaxis [18] Denmark
Veterinary (folk) Goats’ treatment (unspecific) [87] Sweden
Veterinary (folk) Peasants often grew it close to henhouses as it could keep away birds of prey [4] Scandinavia
  1. aFolklore means here folk beliefs and ritual use