Orchids – Orchidaceae.
Popular names: Ivanov’s hands, orchid.
Parts used: daughter tubers.
Pharmacy name: orchid tubers – Salep tuber (formerly: Tubera Salep).
Botanical description. When it comes to several species even of the same genus, which serve as a source of a medicinal product, it is difficult to give a single description. Nevertheless, I will try to characterize our local species of orchis. These are perennial herbs of medium size, which have a tuber in the ground – from round to ovoid and even jointed. Bare stem with succulent elongated-lanceolate leaves. The flowers are placed at the top of the stems in erect spike-shaped inflorescences. Sometimes they are equipped with large colored covering leaves. Blooms from April to June, depending on the species. They are found in meadows, along slopes, in forests – depending on the species.
Collection and preparation. In Germany, the orchis has become so rare that all its species are protected. (In Russia, this is also a protected plant. – Ed.) Previously, the tubers were collected during flowering. From 2 tubers, an elastic daughter was taken, washed, cleaned of corked places and put in water, which was then brought to a boil. After 3-5 minutes, they were decanted and quickly cooled with cold water. Cooked tubers were dried in dryers with artificial heating (50-60°C). At present, Germany receives ready-made orchid tubers from Asia Minor, Greece, Iran, the former Yugoslavia and Romania.
active substances. The most important active ingredients of the orchid tuber are mucus, for which this product is used; there are up to 55%. Starch, protein, sugar, some fat and various minerals can only be considered as accompanying.
Healing action and application. The healing principle of all mucous preparations is the softening of irritations with mucus. Therefore, orchid tubers are suitable for combating diarrhea and irritation of the stomach and intestines, especially in small babies. In addition, they are used as an additive to drugs whose active ingredients either have a bad taste or cause irritation of the mucous membranes.
- Orchid mucus: 2 g of a tuber crushed into a medium-fine powder is well mixed in a bottle with 2 g of pure alcohol. Then add 20 ml of boiling water and shake vigorously until there are no lumps. After that, the contents of the bottle are added with boiling water up to 200 g. The mucus is intended for immediate use, since it is not stored for a long time. With diarrhea, give 3-5 times every day, 1 teaspoon, with irritation of the stomach, 3 times is enough.
Application in folk medicine. Orchid tubers, especially resilient daughter tubers, have been in folk medicine since the time of Pliny, Dioscorides and Theophrastus – authorities for the authors of medieval herbalists – because of their scrotum-like shape, and according to the doctrine of signatures, according to which each thing notifies by appearance or color, for which it is intended, are considered a means of enhancing sexual feeling. It is believed that the consumption of fresh tubers increases potency. However, this is nothing more than good intentions. The use of orchid mucus for coughing, inflammation of the mouth and throat, as well as external use in the form of compresses for the treatment of abscesses and swelling is fully justified.
Side effects. Orchid mucus does not have any side effects; not dangerous and the consumption of fresh tubers. And the aerial parts should not be consumed: this can lead to gastric disorders.