Other Name(s):

Alforfón, Blé Noir, Buchweizen, Fagopyrum esculentum, Fagopyrum sagittatum, Fagopyrum tataricum, Fagopyrum vulgare, Grano Turco, Polygonum tataricum, Sarrasin, Sarrasin Commun, Silverhull Buckwheat, Trigo Sarraceno.


Buckwheat is a plant. People make flour from the leaves and flowers. This flour can be used either as food (usually in bread, pancakes, and noodles) or as medicine.

As medicine, buckwheat is used to improve blood flow by strengthening veins and small blood vessels; to treat varicose veins and poor circulation in the legs; and to prevent “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).

Buckwheat is also used to treat diabetes.

How does it work?

Buckwheat might help people with diabetes by improving how well the body deals with blood sugar.

Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Varicose veins and other circulatory problems (chronic venous insufficiency). Early research shows that drinking buckwheat tea for 3 months might prevent the legs of people with chronic venous insufficiency from becoming more swollen.
  • Diabetes. Early research suggests that eating 70-100 grams of buckwheat flour or grain daily may improve long-term glucose tolerance in people with diabetes.
  • Vision problems in people with diabetes. Early research suggests that taking buckwheat by mouth for 3 months might improve vision in people with visions problems due to diabetes.
  • Improving blood flow.
  • Preventing “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis).
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of buckwheat for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).


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Side Effects

Buckwheat is POSSIBLY SAFE for adults when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. Some side effects, including increased risk of sunburn, do occur.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking buckwheat if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Buckwheat allergy: Some people who are exposed to buckwheat on the job develop buckwheat allergy. Other people can also become allergic to buckwheat. Re-exposure to buckwheat can lead to serious allergic reactions including skin rash; runny nose; asthma; and a potentially fatal drop in blood pressure, itching, swelling, and difficulty in breathing (anaphylactic shock).

Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity: Some researchers think that including buckwheat in a gluten-free diet might not be safe. However, buckwheat is considered an acceptable food by the Celiac Disease Foundation and the Gluten Intolerance Group. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can probably eat buckwheat safely.

Allergy to rice: Some people who are allergic to rice might also become allergic to buckwheat.

Diabetes: Buckwheat might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control in people with diabetes. The dose of diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Surgery: Buckwheat might lower blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using large amounts of buckwheat at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs)Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.Talk with your health provider.

Buckwheat might decrease blood sugar by decreasing the absorption of sugars from food. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking buckwheat with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to be too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.

Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.


The appropriate dose of buckwheat for use as treatment depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for buckwheat. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.


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