Sandy immortelle used to be very widespread in the wild on sandy soils in pine forests, along the edges, along the sunny slopes of the mountains in the southern regions of the European part of Russia. But given that this is a fairly popular medicinal plant, it was harvested in large quantities, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to meet it.
Sandy immortelle, or sandy cmin (Helichrysumarenarium(L.) Moench) from the Aster family is a perennial herb 30-60 cm high with tomentose-woolly-pubescent shoots and a woody dark-brown taproot. Flowering shoots, and there are usually 5-10 of them, ascending or erect. The internodes of vegetative shoots are shortened, which makes them look like rosettes. The internodes of the generative shoots are longer and therefore clearly visible. The lower leaves are petiolate, the middle and upper ones are sessile, lanceolate, up to 6 cm long. Flower baskets are small, yellow, collected in an apical corymbose inflorescence. The leaves of the wrapper (what we mainly take for the inflorescence) are lemon yellow, dry. Tubular flowers are yellow or orange, with a tuft. Fruits are small tetrahedral achenes. Blooms in June-August. In the wild, it can be found in dry lichen forests of the forest zone and in the steppe zone of the European part and Siberia. It is picky about light and therefore can be found in young forests. When the crowns of the pines close together, the immortelle becomes dark, and it gradually falls out.
Ornamental properties and cultivation
This rather ornamental plant can be very appropriate as a ground cover, especially given the modern love of dried flowers. And on the site it is not difficult to grow it. It will decorate any alpine slide, rabatka, border. Despite the fact that it blooms for a relatively short time, the leaves remain decorative throughout the season. And if you collect the inflorescences and dry them carefully, this is a very bright and durable dried flower for a winter bouquet. His little yellow baskets like chickens will revive the gray winter days.
The immortelle prefers sandy soils, poor in organic matter, poor in potassium and phosphorus. On heavy soils, prone to swimming and crust formation, the immortelle feels uncomfortable. When planting, it will be necessary to add several (1-3) buckets of peat and sand per 1 m2. The reaction of the medium is desirable medium and weakly acidic. The place must be sunny. Propagated vegetatively or by seeds. The seeds are very small, so it is best to sow them by mixing with two parts of sand in early May. This allows them to be more evenly distributed in the grooves. The distance between the rows is 25-40 cm. The planting depth is minimal, about 0.5 cm. You can cover the crops before sprouting with film or agril. But as soon as the first seedlings appear, the shelter must be removed.
During vegetative propagation, leaf rosettes with rather weak roots are separated from the plant and planted in moist soil, slightly deepening. This operation is best done in the spring and, if necessary, take care of watering in the first time after transplanting. Once every 3-4 years, this "planting" of plants will have to be repeated. If this is not done, then the plants gradually become smaller and fall out after winter.
You can feed the plants a couple of times during the growing season with complex fertilizers, preferably in early spring and at the very beginning of budding.
In Crimea, Italian immortelle is grown on plantations, which is used in medicine in the same way as sandy, and is an essential oil plant. Only in the northern regions, it practically does not winter.
Sandy immortelle inflorescences are also a medicinal raw material, only they need to be collected when they have not completely blossomed, otherwise, when dried, they will begin to crumble.It is better not to pick the inflorescences, but to cut them off with scissors (in other dried flowers, by the way, too), because the rosettes are easily pulled out of the sandy soil. Raw materials are dried in the shade and stored in paper bags or linen bags. The shelf life of immortelle flowers is 3 years.
Inflorescences contain flavonoid glycosides, flavonoids arenarin and naringenin (it has a very bitter taste and is found, for example, in grapefruit skins), tannins, triterpene saponins, essential oil (about 0.05%), resins (more than 3%), organic acids , polysaccharides, vitamin K, ascorbic acid. The micro- and macroelement composition of inflorescences is quite interesting. Macronutrients were found in the following amounts (in mg / g): potassium - 16.3, calcium 7.0, magnesium - 1.2, iron - 0.13. Trace elements are also represented by an extensive list of cmin: manganese, copper, nickel, chromium, aluminum, and it is one of the few medicinal plants that concentrates selenium.
The immortelle has a choleretic, hepatoprotective, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antispasmodic effect, regulates the composition of bile and prevents the formation of stones. Helichrysum preparations are active against streptococcus, staphylococcus and lamblia. It even has the ability to regulate lipid metabolism, lower blood lipids and promote the excretion of cholesterol and its precursors from the body. Basically, it is known as a choleretic agent for cholelithiasis, cholecystitis, hepatitis, biliary tract dysfunction. In these cases, a preparation from it is also used - flamin, which is the sum of flavonoids. Helichrysum preparations enhance the drainage function of the liver, providing metabolic products and toxins from bile. Arenarin ointment (the sum of extractives) is used for thermal burns of the eyes, erosions, corneal ulcers.
It is often used in conjunction with other plants for obesity, sclerosis, coronary heart disease, pancreatitis, lamblia. Due to its very bitter taste, immortelle has an antihelminthic effect (mainly from roundworms).
This plant has a diuretic and hemostatic effect and is used in folk medicine, among other things, for pulmonary and uterine bleeding.
In folk medicine, its use is even wider - it is cystitis, nephritis, dyspepsia, eczema, impotence, dermatoses. In Crimea and Belarus, it is used for tuberculosis, and in Lithuania - even for liver cancer.
And all these wonderful properties - against the background of harmlessness and the absence of side effects. But most authors are inclined to believe that long-term use of the immortelle is undesirable. This is due to its antispasmodic effect, due to which stagnation of bile can be observed.
And finally, the immortelle has insecticidal properties. It is recommended to put it in a closet in a linen bag from moths, and a concentrated broth (just not hot!) Can be used to treat seeds before sowing instead of dressing.