Even if we don’t feel a single breath of wind, the leaves of this tree tremble barely perceptibly because they catch the slightest movement of air.
This is a deciduous tree of the genus Poplar. The trunk of an aspen is columnar, its maximum height is 35 m, and the diameter is up to 1 m. In young trees, the bark is smooth, greenish-gray, closer to the base of old trees, it is dark gray, fissured. The leaves of the plant are rounded, with large blunt teeth on the edges. The petioles are long, flattened in the middle, which is why the leaves tremble with weak air movement (hence one of the names). The leaves of coppice shoots are much larger, triangular-ovate. Like other poplars, aspen is a dioecious tree. Sometimes entire sections of tree stands are formed by either female or male individuals. Men’s earrings are dark purple, up to 10 cm long, women’s are thinner, gray-green. Aspen blooms before the leaves bloom, at the end of April – May. The fruit is a box, ripens in June – early July. Aspen is well restored by root shoots (rarely by seeds), especially after felling or damage to the root system. One of the most important forest-forming species of Russia. Grows in the European part, Siberia and the Far East. It reaches the Arctic Circle in the north, and the steppe zone in the south. Aspen in Ukraine
grows as an admixture in coniferous and broad-leaved forests, in floodplains, on peatlands throughout the country. Fast-growing (reaches a height of 20 m at the age of 40), but a short-lived breed. Usually lives 80-90 (sometimes up to 150) years. There are different forms of trees, which differ in the color of the bark, the time of blooming of the leaves, the structure of the crown and other features.
People have been familiar with the healing effect of aspen bark, buds and leaves since the time of ancient Russia. Witch doctors and herbalists treated Russian princes with aspen products. Since then, these means have been used in folk medicine. For the preparation of medicinal products, tree bark is harvested in the spring, during sap flow. It is stripped from young branches or ring-shaped incisions are made on young trunks, after about 30 cm, which are then connected longitudinally, after which the bark is easily separated from the trunk. Dry the collected raw materials in the air under shelter or in a room with good ventilation. Buds are collected at the very beginning of flowering, breaking them off from the branches. Dry in the shade in a draft or in a warm, ventilated room, spread out in a thin layer on paper or cloth. Young, fully developed leaves are used fresh or dried.
All parts of the plant include glycosides (salicin, poplin, and others), organic acids (formic, tartaric, citric, malic, oxalic, fumaric, and others), essential oil, tannins, and bitterness. Fresh leaves contain ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (up to 470 mg%) and carotene (provitamin A) (up to 43 mg%). In addition, there are aromatic acids in the buds, and phenolglycosides and fatty acids in the bark.
Aspen preparations have antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, diaphoretic, emollient, astringent and diuretic properties. Infusions and decoctions of buds are prescribed internally for various arthritis, gout, hemorrhoids, acute and chronic inflammation of the urinary bladder, for involuntary and painful urination (especially after major operations and during pregnancy), hypertrophy of the prostate gland, and as an antipyretic in febrile conditions. Tincture of buds on vodka is recommended for gastritis, cystitis, dysentery and hemorrhoids. This product is also prescribed as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent. Externally ground aspen buds in the form of an ointment and tincture are effective for the treatment of clogged areas, wound healing, softening of hemorrhoids, rubs for arthritis and gout. Bark decoction is prescribed for gastritis, diarrhoea, and as a means that improves appetite and the work of the digestive tract. Fresh crushed leaves are used for poultices (rheumatism, gout, hemorrhoids). Fresh juice squeezed from the leaves destroys warts and treats ringworm. Aspen is rich in healing properties!
Other wonderful qualities of this tree are also known. Aspen is an excellent source of bee forage. On warm spring days, bees often visit men’s earrings and collect a lot of dry, dark gray pollen from them.
The wood of the aspen is white, without a core, it is easy to split and cut. It is strong and resistant to decay. No wonder our ancestors made well logs from aspen! Tree logs are used in the pulp and paper and match industries. In ancient times, Russian architects used aspen wood to make the so-called plowshare, a special form of wood chips used to cover the baths of temples. Over time, the wood chips acquired a silver-gray color, and the glow of the domes could be seen for many kilometers.
Bud infusion. Pour 2 teaspoons of crushed buds with 2 cups of boiling water, infuse for 15 minutes, strain. The entire amount of infusion is drunk during the day.
Decoction of buds or bark. Boil 45 g of crushed raw materials in 0.5 l of water, evaporating to half the volume. Then the decoction is filtered, honey or sugar is added to taste. Take 1/4 cup 3 times a day.
Bud tincture. Buds are infused for 3-4 days in 40% alcohol or vodka in a ratio of 1:10. Take 10-20 drops 3 times a day.
Ointment from buds (external). 1 part of the raw material, ground into a fine powder, to 4 parts of butter or petroleum jelly. They rub the joints with gout and rheumatism. At the same time, you can use a 40% tincture for the same purpose (the ratio of buds or bark and alcohol is 1:5).
Compresses from leaves. 2-3 spoons of chopped fresh leaves are steamed in boiling water and wrapped in cheesecloth. Apply to affected areas of the body.