Potion charm

Health Tips

Phytotherapy is far from a modern fashion fad. The first herbalists were “witches” and “sorceresses” who brewed their “hellish potions” in “devil’s cauldrons”. Later, without any touch of mysticism, people purposefully harvested medicinal herbs for the future along with vegetables and fruits. Especially in rural areas, where the development of medicine has traditionally lagged behind. City dwellers have also always traveled and travel to the countryside for the summer. We were in the forest, in the meadows, in our own summer cottage. The future mistresses of palaces and villas in the most prestigious high-society boarding houses learned the rules for collecting and storing medicinal plants by heart. And the family secrets of drops from fainting, elixirs from freckles and miraculous balms from spiritual wounds passed from generation to generation.

True, then high-quality raw materials for herbal medicine were more accessible, as they say, underfoot. Now, for the treasured weed, you have to wave a single kilometer. After all not everywhere you can collect medicinal plants.In addition to the general environmental situation, the discharge of various toxic waste, radiation and other adverse factors, motor vehicles mainly harm the quality of plant raw materials. Lead, which is part of the exhaust gases, penetrates the plant and, unlike other chemical compounds, is no longer washed out or excreted. Therefore, if earlier it was recommended to collect herbs no closer than half a kilometer from the nearest highway, today this “dead zone” must be doubled. Needless to say about the dangers of plants collected within the city or in a suburban dacha.

And yet, not everyone today manages to visit a rather “deaf” corner of nature. In the city and not far from it, you can still collect linden flowers, birch buds, dandelion leaves and flowers. But such raw materials can only be used for baths, lotions, compresses, masks – purely external products.

The presence and predominance of specific properties in a particular plant is influenced by many factors: the timing of collection, the correct conditions for drying and storage. First of all, you need to know some rules for the competent preparation of medicinal plants. The basic rule is to use the power of youth of plants. We collect the kidneys swollen, but not bursting; the leaves are still quite small, tender; flowers just opened; bark from young trees; roots of one-two-year-old plants; fruits and berries are fully ripe.

Besides, the bark is harvested in the spring – during the period of maximum sap flow, and the roots are dug in late autumn, when the nutrient reserves for the winter are maximum in them. Collection is carried out in dry time. Neither dawn dew, nor rainwater, nor the high humidity of fog should be present. We will not even wash the fruits, leaves and roots. Therefore, the plants must be chosen clean, dust-free, and the roots thoroughly cleaned from the ground.

Harvested plants must be dried quickly.so that the withering process does not violate biologically active properties. Fast doesn’t mean in the oven. And although juicy fruits, berries and large rhizomes cannot be dried without heat, this is wrong. Spread buds, leaves, herbs on white (not newsprint!) Paper, but rather canvas, and keep in the shade in a draft, turning over at least once every two days. Direct sunlight destroys most of the active ingredients, trace elements and vitamins, and poor air circulation can lead to mold.

If you need inflorescences, fruits or upper leaves in a plant, they can be hung in bunches. But this is unacceptable if you are going to use the whole plant, such as various herbs. Indeed, in the place where the beam is intercepted by a twine, compression is obtained, leading to a violation of the internal integrity. In addition, due to the difficulty of drying, mold and other pathogenic bacteria develop here. Therefore, it is better to dry the herbs spread out.

Grind large leaves, bark, roots, inflorescences needed only after drying. The optimal particle size is 3-5 millimeters. The leaves are simply broken by hand, the tough stems are crushed with scissors, and the roots with a knife.

The signal for the end of drying is the ease of breaking. Dried plants are laid out in linen bags, glass jars tied with paper, and best of all – in Kraft paper bags. Due to the multi-layering, they have the properties of a thermostat, which increases the safety of plant properties.

Prepackaged and signed bags with medicinal plants must be stored in a dry place, preferably at room temperature.. Freezing, in principle, does not destroy the beneficial properties. In order to protect against pests, it is sometimes even useful to freeze dry preparations. But with a temperature difference, dampness should not happen, and with our problems with the notorious public utilities, you never know what to expect from it this time. So it’s better not to risk it.

And during the summer, do not forget to use “live” plants. The content of vitamins and microelements in them is maximum. So use the moment to its fullest. And if you need their medicinal properties, use them according to the recipes of herbalists, not forgetting to take into account that “raw” plants need to be taken one and a half to two times more than dry ones.

In addition, it is necessary to know the parts of the plant richest in useful properties, in which active substances accumulate. Nettle has leaves, birch has leaves and buds, dandelion and bergenia have roots, burdock has roots and seeds, celandine, horsetail and chamomile have grass and flowers, tansy and elderberry have flowers, oak has bark, and mountain ash and wild rose – fruits.

And finally signature recipe of the real “elixir of youth”. Pass fresh plantain leaves through a meat grinder or grind in any other way and squeeze the juice out of them. During the entire spring-summer season, you can drink 50 grams of freshly squeezed juice 3-4 times a day. This will increase the body’s immunity, create the necessary supply for the whole autumn, improve well-being, and increase metabolism. After all, it is not for nothing that folk rumor endows sorceresses with rare beauty. So they knew how to achieve it!

Nadezhda SUBCHEVA, pharmacist

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