Ogirok-pirskach spring – crazy cucumber

An annual herbaceous plant of the gourd family. The stem is slender, 25-70 cm long, rough-haired, without tendrils. The leaves are alternate, heart-shaped, indistinctly lobed, notched-toothed, 8-20 cm long, gray downy, wrinkled underneath. Flowers are unisexual (monoecious plants), regular, pale yellow; stamens – with a five-parted calyx and a five-parted corolla, up to 2 cm long, collected in lateral small-flowered tassels; pistillate – with a tubular, five-parted calyx and a five-parted corolla, 1.5-2 cm long, single, on long peduncles in the axils of the leaves. The fruit is berry-like, oblong, 5-10 cm long, greenish, rough-bristled; upon ripening, the fruit is separated from the stem under the great pressure of the liquid contained in it, and through the formed hole, the seed is forcefully ejected at a distance of 1-2 m from the plant. Blooms in July – September. Fruits ripen in September – October.

Distribution . The spring cucumber grows on littered places in the coastal strip. Procurement and storage. Unripe fruits of plants (Fructus Ecballii elaterii) are used for medicinal purposes. They are consumed fresh (in the form of juice) or dried in the sun or in a warm room. Artificial drying is carried out at a temperature of up to 45°. 8-9% of dry fruits are obtained. They are stored separately from other raw materials (they are poisonous).

The plant is unofficial .

Chemical composition . The fruits of the plant contain a- and B-elaterin, elatericin A and B, elaterase, organic acids, protein substances, traces of alkaloids.

Фармакологічні властивості і ви­користання. В невеликих, строго визначених дозах огірок-пирскач пружний призначають як сильний проносний засіб при набряках різ­ного походження, зокрема при во­дянці. Поряд з цим застосування цієї рослини показане і дає добрий терапевтичний ефект при жовтя­ниці й вірусному гепатиті. У про­цесі експериментальних дослід­жень встановлено антибластичну властивість рослини. Протипух­линну активність виявили елатерицин А і В, а- і 3-елатерени, кислота С24Н44О5. Настойку плодів вживають для натирання при рев­матизмі, ішіасі та невралгії. В го­меопатії огірок-пирскач застосо­вують при проносі й дитячій хореї.

Medicinal forms and applications . Externally , fruit tincture (made with strong vodka in a ratio of 1:20) is used for rubbing.

Spring cucumber is a very poisonous plant . Ingested 0.6 g of fresh fruit juice can cause fatal poisoning. It is allowed to use cucumber-sprinkler inside only by appointment and under the supervision of a doctor. External use of the plant also requires caution (skin irritation, blisters and even ulcers are possible).

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