Genus cocoa (Cacalia L.) of the family Asteraceae (Asteraceae), which includes about 50 species, has now split into several genera. In Russia and the CIS countries, it is represented by six species, of which recently spear-shaped cocoa has attracted the most attention.
Spear-shaped kakaliya (Cacaliahastata), and in Russian it is rather dissonant - underripe spear-shaped - a plant widespread in Russia, primarily in Western and Eastern Siberia, in the Far East. Abroad, it is found in the north of Mongolia, northeastern China, Korea, Japan, North America.
It grows in sparse coniferous or small-leaved forests, occasionally in pine forests; along the edges of mixed forests, in birch forests and thickets of alder and dwarf cedar; in the Far East - in oak forests, along river valleys, in shrub thickets, in forest and riverine meadows, in the mountains along river valleys in the forest belt, in some places it rises to the lower part of the alpine belt. In nature, it is widespread and the problem of procurement of raw materials does not arise.
It is a perennial rhizome herb with a straight stem from 50 to 150 cm in height. The leaves are petiolate, broad-spear (hence the name), with triangular toothed lobes. The upper leaves are broadly lanceolate, short-petiolate. The flowers are bisexual, yellowish-white, collected in rather large inflorescences. So, among other things, the plant is also decorative. Seeds, as befits a Compositae, with long beetles. Cocoa blooms in July-August, the seeds ripen in August-September.
In folk medicine, the plant has long been used in the treatment of arthritis, radiculitis, colds, purulent wounds. In the practice of Tibetan medicine in Transbaikalia, for purulent wounds, ulcers, only leaves were used as a wound healing, antiexudative, hemostatic agent, as well as for bronchitis,known as "yu-gu-shing". In Mongolian medicine, various parts of the plant were used for liver diseases. The gruel from the leaves was used as an improvised remedy for bruises, ulcers, abscesses, and even inside for stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Leaves are collected as raw materials during the summer, and the roots are dug up in the fall. The plant contains, as a rule, at least 8% organic acids in terms of malic acid, phenolic acids in terms of chlorogenic acid - not less than 1.5%. The roots, rhizomes, leaves contain the alkaloid hastacin, which has an antispasmodic effect, superior in strength to the drug Platifilin, which is well known to physicians. In addition, tannins of the pyrocatechol group were found. The roots and rhizomes contain inulin, and the leaves contain a lot of vitamin C.
By the way, in recent years, pharmacologists have been actively investigating it. It was shown that in animals that were treated with cocoa ointment, the rumen strength was up to 41% higher than in the control group rats.
It has been experimentally established that the ointment from this plant has a pronounced anti-inflammatory effect. At the stage of alteration, the area of necrosis on the 7th day is 42.1% less than in the control, 34.7% less than when using methyluracil. On the 14th day - 21.2% less compared to the control, 32.5% less than when using methyluracil; on day 21 - 38% less compared to the control, 24% less than when using methyluracil. At the stage of exudation, the degree of development of edema is 3.78% less than in the control, 2.6% less than when using methyluracil. At the stage of proliferation, the anti-inflammatory effect of the drug is 30.51% higher than in the control, 10% higher than when using methyluracil.
It is noted that the alcoholic extract of the leaves has an antioxidant and stress-protective effect, the aqueous extract of the leaves has a wound-healing effect.Quite interesting results were found in the study of hypoglycemic action, that is, the ability to lower blood sugar.
Water-soluble polysaccharides and pectin substances were studied to determine the hypoglycemic effect. But then, it turns out, there is a difference, depending on how to prepare the infusion. It was found that water-soluble polysaccharides extracted with hot water are more effective and exceed the analogous effect of the reference drug by 14% at a dose of 50 mg / kg. Along with this, water-soluble polysaccharides, soluble in cold water, also have hypoglycemic activity - at a dose of 50 mg / kg, 31% higher than in the control group. In the study of pectin substances for the presence of hypoglycemic action, a decrease in blood glucose levels up to 39% was found. This fact suggests that this is another possible herb for diabetics.
Many groups of biologically active substances contained in the plant showed a very high antioxidant activity, especially polysaccharides and phenolic compounds "distinguished themselves". In addition, the extract of the roots inhibited the hemolysis of erythrocytes and prolonged their life. It was found that the extract of underripe roots at a dose of 300 mg / kg completely eliminates the spasm caused by carbacholine, as well as the reaction of the muscles to norepinephrine (naturally, while in rats).
Another interesting feature was found in the extract of the roots - they stimulated plant growth - a kind of environmentally friendly growth regulator of natural origin!
This plant grows well in partial shade, unpretentious to soil conditions and care. The easiest way is to divide the old bush into several parts, but you can also sow it with seeds. The main thing is that you need to choose a site for it that is sufficiently moist, then the plants will be powerful and effective.
In the Far East, there are several more types of underripe, in particular underripe eared(Cacalia auriculata) and a close view - underripe Kamchatka (Cacalia kamtschatica (Maxim.) Kudo) or Cacalia auriculata DC subsp. kamtschatica (Maxim.) Hult.), Which contain triterpenes, sterols and some other biologically active substances.
Another view - heart-leaved cocoa (Cacalia cordifolia) grows in East Asia, North America, Mexico, where it is used as an aphrodisiac and a remedy for female infertility.