European spruce – ordinary ale

spruce, spruce; Pine family (Rinaceae); ordinary ale


Even very young children (of course, those who live in a temperate zone) know what a spruce is. How much joy the New Year’s prickly beauty brings to the house! The unique resinous aroma of wood warmed up in a warm room after the winter cold is remembered for a long time.

Spruce is a coniferous evergreen monoecious tree of the Holosimyany division. In monoecious trees, the male and female reproductive organs are located on the same individual. The spruce crown is pyramidal, the branching is ring-shaped, with inter-ring shoots. The height of the trunk reaches 30-50 m, and the diameter is 1-2 m. The buds are pointed, not resinous, the shoots are elongated, grooved. The needles (leaves) are rough, pointed, four-sided, in the lower part of the crown – flat, so-called shadow. It changes once every 5-7 years. Male cones, called microstrobils, consist of spirally arranged stamens. Immature female cones (megastrobils) are egg-shaped, then spindle-shaped. In the sinuses of their covering scales, there are seeds – winged nuts. Pollen is formed from 25-30, and in sparse tree stands – from 10-15 years, in May. Flowers are pollinated by the wind. The seeds ripen in the year of “flowering”, in October-November. In nature, spruce is propagated by seeds or cuttings, in culture – usually by seeds, less often by cuttings and cuttings. The plant lives for 250-300 years, but some trees reach the age of 500-600 years.

European spruce is one of the main forest-forming species, especially in the northern regions of the European part of Russia. The southern border of its range almost completely coincides with the northern border of the Black Earth. In the non-chernozem zone of Russia, the European spruce forms hybrids with Siberian spruce (R. obovata), which is similar in properties and is common in Siberia. In Ukraine, it grows in the Carpathians, less often in the Carpathians, there are separate places of growth in Polissia, in the western forest-steppe zone; cultivated throughout the country. A shade-tolerant and frost-resistant tree with a superficial root system. It grows well on drained loamy and sandy soils.

What is the use of spruce? It turns out that this is not only the Christmas tree that gives us joy at the New Year, but also a valuable medicinal and vitamin plant. In addition, the tree has many wonderful properties, which we will talk about a little later. For now, let’s consider its healing effect.

Buds, young immature female cones, needles, resin and its processing products are used to prepare medicines. Buds are harvested before they bloom, usually during pruning care. After harvesting, they are spread in a thin layer on paper or cloth in sunny weather and dried in the open air. Dried raw materials are stored in well-closed jars. Cones are collected in June-July, needles – best in winter

time. Cones and needles are used fresh. Spruce buds, turpentine, which is obtained from the resin of a tree by sap, are used in scientific and folk medicine.

Buds, needles and immature cones contain essential oil, tannins, resin, carotene (provitamin A), ascorbic acid (vitamin C) (up to 0.2%), iron, manganese, chromium, copper and aluminum salts. Resin is a solution of resin in essential oil (turpentine). The composition of tar obtained from wood includes various phenols.

Scientific medicine uses turpentine, turpentine liniment, products terpinhydrate and pinabine. Terpin hydrate is prescribed for coughs and as an antipyretic, and pinabin (a 50% solution of pine essential oil in peach oil) is used to relieve attacks of renal colic in urolithiasis – take 5-20 drops on a piece of sugar three times a day for 15 -20 min. before eating The course of treatment is 4-5 weeks. Pinabin is contraindicated in nephritis and nephrosis.

In traditional medicine, products obtained from the buds, cones and needles of spruce are used much more widely. A decoction of buds promotes better separation of sputum, disinfects, and also has diuretic, choleretic, and analgesic properties. It helps with various inflammatory diseases of the upper respiratory tract and lungs, rheumatism, gout, urolithiasis, dropsy and some skin diseases. Bud syrup is prescribed for microinfarcts, myocarditis and rheumatic carditis. As a means for external use for inflammatory phenomena in the upper respiratory tract, a decoction of buds is recommended for inhalation, and for rheumatism, gout, skin diseases and nervous excitement, extract of buds is used for baths. An infusion of needles is taken internally for the prevention and treatment of scurvy. A decoction of cones is prescribed externally for angina, chronic tonsillitis, in laryngitis, tracheitis and sinusitis, as well as in vasomotor rhinitis (runny nose) – for rinsing the oral cavity and in the form of drops in the nose. For purulent wounds and skin ulcers, resin ointment is used (resin, beeswax and sunflower oil in equal quantities).

Spruce wood is not only a strong building material for various structures, but also a raw material for the production of pulp and paper pulp, and artisans make wood shavings and wicker boxes from it. Resonant soundboards for musical instruments are made from specially selected wood with the same distance between annual rings (the so-called resonance spruce). Finally, substances contained in wood are used in the chemical industry.

During the pollination of a spruce, bees collect its pollen, although not very willingly, as it has a low nutritional value. The seeds of the tree are fed by strange birds – pine cones, whose beaks are arranged in such a way as to exfoliate the seeds. Spruce trees and squirrels do not neglect hospitality – you can often come across their “dining rooms” in the forest.

Decoction of buds. 1 tablespoon of buds per 200 ml of boiling water. Heat in a water bath for 15-20 minutes, filter. Take 1/2-1/3 cup 2-3 times a day after meals, sweeten with sugar or honey.

Syrup from buds . Put the buds in thin layers in a glass vessel, sprinkle each layer with sugar. Insist for 3-4 weeks. Take 1 teaspoon 3 times a day.

Decoction of needles. 30 g of fresh needles are washed with cold boiled water, pour 200 ml of boiling water and boil for 20 minutes, cool, filter, add sugar or honey to taste. They drink the entire amount of decoction per day.

Decoction of cones (external). 40 g of green unripe cones per 200 ml of boiling water. Warm, instill 4-5 drops into the nose 5-6 times a day.

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