Sphagnum – sphagnum

Name: Sphagnum – sphagnum

Sphagnum (Sphagnum); sphagnum moss, white moss, peat moss; sphagnum


A genus of perennial herbaceous plants of the Sphagnum family. Whitish-green, brown to reddish mosses that grow in more or less dense tufts. The stem is thin, flabby, up to 10-20 cm, sometimes longer, with unlimited growth at the top, gradually dying at the bottom (as a result of the constant dying of the stem, peat is formed from below), covered with short twigs, which are densely gathered in the head in the upper part of the stem. Leaves without veins, sessile; stem leaves are single, branched – arranged like tiles. Sphagnum multiplies with the help of sprouts and spores. Spores are formed in July – August.

Spread. Sphagnum grows mainly in the forest zone in wet and swampy, more or less acidic places.

Procurement and storage. Essentially, all types of sphagnum are suitable for medical purposes (there are 30 of them in the flora of Ukraine), but the best (in the dry state, they are not so fragile, the stems are at least 7 cm long) are magellanic sphagnum, brown sphagnum, central sphagnum, swamp sphagnum , sharp-leaved sphagnum, sharp-tipped sphagnum and some others. Raw materials are harvested from May to September in dry weather, pulling out all the living, green part of the turf. The obtained sphagnum is squeezed, the lower brown parts are removed, it is cleaned of foreign impurities and immediately dried in the sun, in the wind, spreading it in a thin layer on a cloth. Drying is considered complete when the green parts of sphagnum turn white. 9-11% of dry raw material is obtained. The optimal moisture content of dried sphagnum should be 25-30%. When overdried, it becomes brittle and unusable. The validity period is 1 year.

Chemical composition . The plant contains sphagnol, a phenolic substance, fiber, proteins and mineral salts.

Pharmacological properties and use . Due to the presence of sphagnol, the plant acts as an active antiseptic, accelerates the healing of wounds. The positive qualities of sphagnum include its ability to absorb moisture well. Its absorbent properties are much better than those of hygroscopic cotton wool. The simultaneous presence of antimicrobial properties and high moisture content makes sphagnum a valuable dressing material in the treatment of gunshot, radiation and purulent wounds. It is not possible to put sphagnum directly on the wound, it must first be covered with one layer of gauze and sterilized.

Medicinal forms and applications.

Externally – sterile sphagnum-gauze bandages (moisten with saline solution before use). In the case of expeditions, tourist trips and other unusual situations, the use of unsterilized sphagnum is also allowed.

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