Field birch (Convolvulus arvensis); field bindweed
A malicious weed that litters gardens and crops of winter, spring cereals and technical crops. But weeds are different. There are those that are easy to remove from the soil, but field birch is not one of them. Shortly after germination, its roots quickly sink into the soil and after 2-3 months reach a depth of 130-150 cm, and if the soil is loose, then at the end of the vegetative season, the roots can be found at a depth of 3-5 m. It is especially “furious” on sandy soils . In the same way as wheatgrass, birch reproduces extremely quickly vegetatively – by cuttings and shoots of rhizomes. The aerial part (stem) of the plant is usually twisted around any support, most often around the stems of cereals. Therefore, collecting loaves clogged with birch trees is a time-consuming task. In Ukraine, an evil weed grows in the fields and gardens on littered places, along the roads.
The stem of the plant is long and thin, up to 75 cm long. The petioles of the leaves are longer than the leaf plate itself, which has an elongated-ovate or lanceolate shape. At the base of the stem, the leaves are arrow-shaped, spear-shaped or lanceolate, entire. The calyx of the flower is five-parted, the funnel-shaped corolla (in the people, the birch tree is called gramophones – the flowers really resemble miniature gramophone trumpets), pale pink. The plant blooms from June to September. Field birch seeds retain their germination for up to 22 years.
What useful properties can this villain have? It turns out that the plant has long been used in folk medicine for various purposes. Moreover, in domestic and Bulgarian folk medicine, only fresh plants and their juice are used, while in other countries medicinal raw materials are dried in well-ventilated rooms, where they are stored. In Russia, traditional healers believe that the plant loses some of its active substances when dried.
The aerial part of the birch is usually used, which contains the glycoside convolvulin, ascorbic acid (vitamin C), carotene (provitamin A), tocopherol (vitamin E), flavonoids, saponins, resinous and bitter substances, proteolytic enzymes. The seeds contain alkaloids.
Preparations from field birch have diaphoretic (seeds), laxative (leaves), hemostatic effect. Recently, the hypotensive properties of birch galena products have been established. In Russia and abroad, birch sap is used for diseases of the upper respiratory tract (laryngitis, bronchitis), bronchial asthma, pulmonary tuberculosis, gastritis, liver diseases, rashes (including syphilitic) and colds. Preparations of rhizomes are sometimes prescribed for insomnia; flowers (separately) — for inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and dizziness. Fresh grass and plant juice are used as a means of pain relief and wound healing. The powder of the dried herb used to be sprinkled on wounds and bruised places. A decoction of leaves and roots was prescribed for pustular skin diseases, ringworm and scabies. Chopped leaves, according to legend, helped with snake bites.
Birch is successfully used in homeopathy and veterinary medicine.
Bees do not bypass a flowering plant, collecting nectar and pollen from it. The nectar released by one flower per day contains 1.1-3.2 mg of sugar. Birch provides the so-called supporting honey collection.
Tincture of fresh grass or flowers. 1 part of grass or flowers to 5 parts of 70% alcohol. Take 1/2-1 teaspoon per day as a laxative and diuretic.
Infusion of fresh grass. 1 tablespoon of raw material per 200 ml of boiling water. 1/2 cup per day in several doses.
Infusion of dried grass. 1 tablespoon of raw material per 400 ml of boiling water. Insist for 1 hour, filter. Take 1/4 cup three times a day.
Tincture of fresh grass (external). 2 parts of grass to 4 parts of 70% alcohol. Insist for 15 days. Dilute half with boiled water. For compresses and washes.