White step – white step (preparation and storage)

Name: White step – white step (preparation and storage)

White step – Brionia alba L. Ukrainian name – white step, popular names – nechipay-zіllya, adamіv kopin.


Cucurbitaceae family – Cacurbitaceae.

For therapeutic purposes, fresh or dry root is used.

It occurs almost throughout Ukraine, but in Polissya, in the Steppe, Crimea, Carpathians, not often. It grows as a weed on rich fresh soils, near fences, building walls, on the outskirts of gardens, parks, cemeteries, sometimes in forests and bushes near villages. Usually grows in small groups or even single specimens.

Stocks of raw materials are quite large, but scattered. Preparations are possible in the old villages of Ternopil, Khmelnitsky, Vinnitsa, Cherkasy, Kyiv, Poltava, Kharkov, Donetsk regions.

White stepping stone is a perennial herbaceous plant. The root is large, turnip-shaped, up to 50-70 cm long and up to 30-40 mm in diameter, yellowish outside, white inside. The stems are traditionally numerous, up to 5-7 m long, clinging to the supports with spirally rounded tendrils. The leaves are alternate, 5-7-lobed, with a heart-shaped base, large-toothed, petiolate. The flowers are greenish-white or yellowish in axillary inflorescences – staminate – on long peduncles in racemes, pistillate – in corymbs. The fruits are juicy spherical black berries 8-10 mm in diameter with 4-6 black ovoid oblate wrinkled seeds, poisonous. Flowering in June-August. The fruits ripen in July-September.

Harvest roots with forethought – poisonous! before flowering (April-May). They dig them up with shovels, shake off the ground, cut off the aerial parts with knives and wash them in cold water, then cut them into thin slices with knives.

Dry in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, laying out a thin layer (2-3 cm) on paper or cloth and systematically mixing. Sometimes, to speed up drying, the slices are strung on threads or twine and hung in the shade.

When used fresh, raw materials are sent to the factory in bulk on a tarpaulin or in 0.5 kg boxes with holes in the walls every day of collection.

According to FS 42-143-72, fresh raw materials consist of fleshy turnip-like roots within 5 cm of thickness with ringed thickenings, often bifid, with thin few lateral roots. The color is yellowish on the outside, white on the inside. Taste is not determined – poisonous! The smell is specific, unpleasant. Humidity is not lower than 60%. Not more than 0.5% organic and 1% mineral impurities are allowed in raw materials. The ash content must not exceed 5%.

The roots contain the poisonous glycosides brionin and brionidine. Used as an analgesic, hemostatic, wound healing and antirheumatic agent. Widely used in homeopathy.

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