Perennials with two tubers (young growing and old dying), palmate or round. Stem single, erect, unbranched. The leaves are alternate, entire, linear or lanceolate, with parallel veins. The flowers are irregular, brightly colored (purple, violet-red, etc.), in apical racemose inflorescences with bracts. Perianth simple, corolla-shaped, of six leaves in 2 circles. The outer leaflets are almost the same, of the inner ones the lower one is larger, forms a lip with a spur at the base. The fruits are capsules that open with six longitudinal slits. Seeds numerous, very small. Blooms in May-June. The fruits ripen in July-August.

Orchis male – with purple flowers in a dense cylindrical inflorescence up to 15 cm long.

Orchis spotted – with pink-purple spotted flowers, with a dense ovoid-cylindrical brush 3-9 cm long.

Orchis broadleaf – with lilac-pink flowers in a dense ovate-cylindrical inflorescence (grows in swamps and damp places).

Orchis dremlik – with dark purple flowers in a small infrequent inflorescence.

Medicinal raw materials are tubers, which, when dried, are called salep.

The collection of tubers is carried out at the end of flowering or soon after the flowering of the plant, when the flower arrow has not yet fallen off. Two types of salep are distinguished by shape: round – 1-1.5 cm thick, which is considered the best, and finger-like, characterized by a smaller thickness (0.5-1 cm). The dug roots are cleaned from the ground, quickly washed in cold water and dipped in boiling water for 1-2 minutes to prevent the germination of tubers during drying and speed it up. Dry raw materials in the shade or in dryers at a temperature of 50°C. Ready-made raw materials – well-dried tubers – are dense, heavy, slightly translucent; have no taste and smell, yellowish-white or whitish-gray color.

The tubers contain within 50% mucus, 27% starch, 5% proteins, sugars, calcium oxalate and mineral salts.

Since ancient times, orchis has been used as a general tonic, for paralysis in the recovery period, for long-term non-healing ulcers, and as an obstacle to the spread of herpes, an infectious disease of the lips.

In modern medicine, young tubers are used for diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, acute and chronic diseases of the respiratory tract, chronic and acute bronchitis, gastroenteritis, enteritis, diarrhea, dysentery, especially in babies, diarrhea, inflammation of the bladder, poisoning with certain poisons.

Young tubers are used as a means of restoring strength after serious illnesses, experiences, with senile exhaustion, with tuberculosis and those who have suffered severe bleeding.

Salep is very useful, especially for babies suffering from intestinal catarrh. An aqueous orchid emulsion is successfully used in enemas for diarrhea, including dysentery. With all this, a decoction of flaxseed is added to the emulsion (1 teaspoon of flax seeds, per 1 cup of boiling water).

In the states of the East, salep tubers are used in case of severe weakness, to restore health.

Some believe that orchid tubers help with impotence.

In folk medicine, tuber powder is recognized as very useful as an aphrodisiac for sexual weakness, tuberculosis, to maintain strength in old age and for those who have suffered heavy bleeding, mental trauma; with diseases of the stomach, diarrhea, dysentery, gastric and duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, dystrophy, catarrhs ​​of the upper respiratory tract, inflammatory diseases of the mouth and throat, and with food and other poisonings, when an enveloping agent is required to treat inflammation of the tissues of the gastrointestinal tract slime.

For diarrhea, for a greater effect, enemas are made from a solution of salep with the addition of 1/10 of flaxseed.

If salep is not available in pharmacies, you can cook it yourself: dug out tubers of orchis are cleaned of small roots and upper skin, strung on a thread, immersed for several minutes (1-3) in boiling water to destroy an unpleasant odor and remove bitterness, also in order to tubers could not germinate.

After removing from boiling water, dry in the fresh air (in the shade) or in a warm room. Dried tubers should have a yellowish color and some glassiness or transparency.

Note. To check the good quality of salep powder, you need to take the first part in 100 parts of water and boil; should get a thick and almost colorless mucus; if, after cooling, a few drops of iodine are added to this mucus for control, the mucus must acquire a blue color.

Before use, the tubers are ground into powder, diluted first in cold boiled water, in 10 parts, and then 90 parts of boiled water (or hot milk) are added, shaken until a thick liquid is obtained, like liquid sour cream.

For malnourished people, the daily dose is 40 g in water or milk with honey.


In folk practice, salep is used in the form of mucus, which is prepared as follows: the tubers are crushed, poured with hot water (temperature 50-60 ° C) in a ratio of 2 g of dried roots per glass of water, then shaken for 10-15 minutes. Mucus is stored in a cool place for no more than 2-3 days, but it is better to cook and immediately take 1 tbsp. spoon before meals for diseases of the stomach and intestines 4-5 times every day.

For bronchitis, take 1 teaspoon per meal before and after meals. You can use the resulting gelatinous mass for all diseases along with cereals, broths, milk and other products. The mass has no taste or smell. For children, the dose will need to be reduced according to age.

Infusion: 1 teaspoon of chopped tubers is poured with a glass of boiling water and left for 15 minutes, shaking occasionally, in a warm place; the infusion should be drunk hot. With diarrhea, children are given a cold infusion.

Decoction: 3-10 g per 200 ml; 1-2 tbsp. spoons 3-4 times every day.

Enema: 2 teaspoons of salep in 2 cups of boiling water (wet the powder with cold water beforehand), add a quarter of a teaspoon of crushed flaxseed.

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