Marsh wild rosemary – bagno zvichayne (harvesting and storage)

Name: Marsh wild rosemary – bagno zvichayne (harvesting and storage)

Marsh rosemary – Ledum palustre L. The Ukrainian name is bagno zvichayne , popular names are bagun, bagon, pigsty, fragrant bagun, bagula, marsh madness, bogunchik. 

The heather family is Ericaceae.

For therapeutic purposes, leafy shoots with flowers are used.

It occurs in large numbers in the western and right-bank Polissya, not often in the left-bank Polissya, occasionally in Rostochie-Opole and very rarely on the northern slopes of the Carpathians (Gorgany ridge). Grows in wet pine, rarely mixed forests, peat bogs, sometimes forms thickets on tens and hundreds of hectares (mainly in Volyn, Rivne, Zhytomyr and Kyiv regions).

The reserves of raw materials are very large (many tens of tons can be harvested annually), but there is a tendency to rapidly decrease them due to the drainage of swamps and the replacement of natural forests by artificial plantations.

Marsh rosemary is an evergreen shrub up to 1.5 m tall with a strong, stupefying smell. Leaves are alternate, leathery, linear, with edges turned down, short-reddish-felt below, 25-35 mm long, 3-5 mm wide. The flowers are white, regular, on long pubescent pedicels, collected in corymbs at the tops of the stem and branches. Calyx five-toothed. Corolla five-petalled, stamens 10. Pistil with upper five-celled ovary, style filiform. The fruit is a drooping, short-reddish-felt, multi-seeded box. Blooms in the second half of May and June. The fruits ripen in September. The plant is poisonous. For precautionary measures when working with ledum, see pages 34-35.

Harvest annual shoots up to 10 cm long during flowering and before the formation of fruits (June-August), cutting them with knives, secateurs, sickles.

Dry raw materials in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a thin layer (5-7 cm) on cloth or paper and systematically mixing. Can be dried in dryers at a temperature not exceeding 30 °. After drying, coarse leafless branches are removed. The yield of dry raw materials is 32–35%.

According to FS 42-413-72, raw materials should consist of shoot tips or a mixture of leaves, flowers and a small number of immature fruits 3-8 mm long. The leaves are leathery, light or dark green above, brown below, 15-45 mm long and 1-5 mm wide. Stems are not woody, longitudinally wrinkled, slightly bent, brown or yellowish-brown, with rusty-felt pubescence. The smell is sharp, resinous. Taste is not determined (poisonous!). Humidity is not higher than 14%. In raw materials, no more than (percent) is allowed: woody stems without pubescence – 10, organic impurities – 1, mineral – 0.5. The total ash content should not exceed 4%, and the content of ash insoluble in 10% hydrochloric acid should not exceed 1%.

Raw materials are packed in double bags (inner – paper, outer – fabric) of 20-25 kg or in bales of 50 kg. They are stored in a group of toxic potent raw materials on shelves, separately from other plants, in dry, cool rooms. Storage period 2 years.

Shoots contain arbutin, essential oils, tannins. Used in infusion as an expectorant for whooping cough, also for rheumatism, skin diseases; in homeopathy – with bruises, wounds and bleeding. In everyday life, rosemary leaves are used as an insecticidal agent, fumigating rooms with them to kill flies and other insects. Sprigs or leaves of wild rosemary shift clothes to protect against moths.

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