It was not named the lizard by chance - its flowers contain a lot of nectar and it is one of the first honey plants that appear in spring and bloom in April - May. The plant is extraordinarily beautiful and very early flowering. When trees and shrubs have not yet blossomed in the garden, the lungwort pleases with its delicate flowers. In addition, the interest of flower growers in her did not pass without a trace. Several dozen varieties of lungwort have been bred, among them variegated and pink flowers. However, they have not lost their wonderful properties.
Types and distribution
In Russia, the folk names of this plant speak eloquently about its medicinal properties: living forest grass, blue root, cutting grass, paired grass. In ancient times, this plant was not used, but since the Middle Ages, not a single European herbalist can do without describing it. She was the first to call this plant "pulmonary root" and began to use the 11th century herbalist Hildegard of Bingent for appropriate diseases. Latin name Pulmonaria also reminds that it is used for lung diseases and it is believed that Paracelsus (1493-1541) called it so. Moreover, he recommended this application in accordance with his theory of signatures (signs), when plants were used according to the principle - which organ of the human body resemble its parts, then they are treated with it. The leaves of the lungwort reminded him of his lungs. But this turned out to be the case when the application was really effective.
But under the name Medunitsa, several types are used. In the domestic literature, Medunitsa is unclear or Dark lungwort(PulmonariaobscuresDumort.) often mistakenly called Medunitsa medicinal (PulmonariaofficinalisL.). The latter is common in Central and Western Europe, but does not occur in Russia. The two species are fairly close and contain the same beneficial compounds. They differ in that white spots on the leaves are clearly visible in Medunitsa officinalis, which makes it more decorative.
In Siberia, there are Lungwort soft or the softest lungwort (Pulmonariamollis, Pulmonariamollissima)... Medunitsa unclear is found practically throughout the entire territory of the European part of Russia (except for the northern regions). Grows in forests, among shrubs, mainly on sandy soil.
The species listed above are perennial herbaceous plants from the Burachnikov family(Boraginaceae), with a thick brown rhizome. Stems slightly ribbed, up to 30 cm in height. Leaves alternate, rough with hairs; upper stem - oblong-ovate, narrowed towards the base, sessile; the lower stems are ovate, narrowed into a short wide-winged petiole. Basal leaves, developing only after flowering, are broadly ovate, pointed at the top, cordate at the base, immediately narrowed into a narrow-winged long petiole. Flowers funnel-shaped with a tube length and five-lobed limb, pink at the beginning of flowering, then blue, collected at the top of the stems in few-flowered loose curls. This color change during flowering is due to the special properties of the coloring matter contained in the petals. It is called anthocyanin. Its color depends on the acidity of the cell sap. At the beginning of flowering, the sap has an acidic reaction, and the petals are therefore pink. Later, the reaction of the juice changes to alkaline, and the petals turn blue. Fruit dry, fractional, disintegrating into 4 dark nuts.
For medicinal purposes, the aerial part (grass) collected during flowering is used. It is cut with scissors or pruning shears at a height of 4-6 cm from the soil surface. Do not tear it off, while the points of growth may suffer and the plant will grow poorly or completely die.Raw materials are dried in a dry, well-ventilated room, spread out in a thin layer, periodically turning it over, or in a dryer at temperatures up to + 45 ° C. You need to store the finished raw materials in a dry, frost-free room.
The herb contains a wide variety of biologically active compounds: first of all, arabinogalactans, polygalacturonans, rhamnogalacturonans, tannins (4% catechins and about 2% tannins), flavonoids (0.3-0.5%, quercetin and kaempferol derivatives), minerals ( 13-15%), including 2.5% soluble silicic acid compounds, vitamins (ascorbic acid, carotene), allantoin (1-2%), a small amount of saponins, chlorogenic and rosmarinic acids, mucus, manganese. Unlike other plants from the Borage family, lungwort contains almost no alkaloids, which can have adverse side effects.
Plants are now very widely used in many countries for respiratory diseases as an expectorant and coating agent. The lungwort is quite effective even for whooping cough and bronchial asthma. In addition, due to the content of silicon compounds, it is used for pulmonary tuberculosis. It is similarly used in homeopathy.
Studies have shown that the aerial part of the medicinal plant has virucidal properties, and is capable of suppressing the development of herpes and influenza viruses. Medicines based on lungwort regulate the activity of the endocrine glands, and many herbalists recommend them for thyroid diseases. Due to the presence of trace elements, the plant has a beneficial effect on hematopoiesis, and also promotes the elimination of radionuclides from the body. In addition, the plant has a mild diuretic and astringent effect. The herb of Medunitsa, which is soft and mildest, has an anticoagulant effect, that is, it reduces blood clotting and prevents the formation of blood clots. An infusion of lungwort herb in folk medicine is recommended to be taken for prostate adenoma, kidney and bladder diseases, including urolithiasis, as well as hematuria (the presence of erythrocytes in the urine). According to some reports, the herb of lungwort is a good stimulant of male sexual function.
Young stems and leaves of lungwort can be used to make salads and soups.
Infusion of herbs it is very simple to prepare: you need to take 10 g of crushed raw materials, pour 1 glass of boiling water, leave for 20 minutes and strain. Take 1/3 cup 3 times a day. Some authors, mostly German, recommend sweetening with a spoonful of honey (according to Winnie the Pooh: "Even a little, a teaspoon, that's already good.").
For acute laryngitis, take a tablespoon of lungwort leaves, quince seeds and anise fruits, pour 0.5 liters of water, add a tablespoon of honey and simmer for 10 minutes. Drink in several portions warm throughout the day.
In combination with other plants, it is used for pancreatitis. For an upset stomach, a similar infusion is prepared, but without honey.
For pulmonary tuberculosis, it is preferable to cook decoction, then silicon compounds become more accessible to the body. That is, the raw materials are poured with boiling water in the same proportions and boiled over low heat under a lid in an enamel bowl for half an hour. It is taken in the same way as an infusion. Usually the broth is prepared in combination with horsetail and plants that have a hemostatic effect.
Outwardly, fresh juice from the aerial part was rubbed into the scalp to strengthen the hair. The crushed leaves are applied to purulent wounds.
It is quite simple to grow lungwort, but it should be remembered that seeds germinate for a long time and poorly. They need light to germinate. In the dark, seeds do not germinate. Therefore, it is better to give preference to vegetative reproduction.
Plants are planted in a shady and humid corner in fertile loose soil. When planting lungwort on acidic soils, liming is necessary.This plant is demanding on the presence of calcium in the soil. In one place, lungwort grows for a long time. Gradually, self-seeding forms around the plantings and a whole clearing of these beautiful and early flowering plants is formed.
Lungwort is a fairly popular plant among landscape designers. In addition to the decorative forms of the types listed above, they also use Red Medunitsa. (Pulmonariarubra), Long-leaved lungwort (Pulmonarialongifolia), Sugar lump (Pulmonariasaccharata)... Varieties and decorative forms are easily re-pollinated, therefore it is better to propagate them only vegetatively to preserve decorative qualities.