Girchak amphibian – highlander amphibian

Amphibian bitter gourd (Polygonum amphibium, synonym — Persicaria amphibia); pike grass; Buckwheat family (Rolugonaceae); earthworm 

This plant is one of the few that can grow in water and on land. The days of its form are known: water and “land”. Hence the apt species epithet — amphibian.

This herbaceous perennial has a strong branched rhizome. “Terrestrial” form with an upright, thickly covered with leaves stem, 15-50 cm tall, pubescent with pressed bristly hairs. In the aquatic form, the stems are long, branched, and the leaves are long-petioled, glabrous, alternate, from oblong-elliptical to linear-lanceolate. The flowers are pink, bisexual, regular or, as scientists call them, actinomorphic. Collected in leafless dense cylindrical spike-like inflorescences, reminiscent of the inflorescences of snake mustard. They bloom in May-June. The fruit is a nut.

Amphibian mustard grows in lakes, ponds and ponds, usually in calm water, as well as in swamps, marshy meadows and silty banks of canals throughout the middle strip of Russia, in Siberia and the Far East. Outside of Russia, it grows in Belarus and Ukraine (all over the territory, except for the Polynya Steppe and the Crimea).

The aerial part and rhizomes are harvested for medicinal purposes. The grass is harvested during flowering. The above-water part of the floating plant is first dried with a soft cloth to remove moisture, then dried in the sun, and then dried under shelter in the open air. Sometimes the plant is tied in small bundles and dried in ventilated attics. The rhizomes are harvested in autumn by pulling them out of the muddy soil, freeing them from the grassy parts, washing them with cold water, cutting them into pieces and drying them in the sun, then drying them in the wind. Plant products are used only in folk medicine.

The rhizomes contain tannins (about 20%), organic acids, mucus, pectin and other compounds. The herb contains flavonoids, organic acids and tannins (5-10%), carotene (provitamin A) (16.5%), vitamin C (30.8 mg%) and essential oil.

Amphibian mustard preparations show strong astringent, diuretic and hemostatic properties. A decoction of the rhizomes is recommended for the treatment of urolithiasis and hemorrhoids (in this case, the decoction acts as a mild laxative at the same time). In smaller doses, it is taken as a diaphoretic, fixing (binding), tonic and stimulating sexual activity agent. This product is prescribed for the treatment of cholecystitis, rheumatism, gout and nervous disorders.

Infusions and decoctions of the herb are used for gastrointestinal diseases, as well as as a diuretic for urolithiasis. In the Far East, the plant has long been known to the local population, it was used as an antidote for poisoning with opium and its products. Dersu Uzal’s detective was treated by V.K. Arseyev with this means after opium poisoning.

Fresh crushed grass was applied to the back of the head in case of headache (probably due to increased blood pressure). In Central Asia, rhizome infusion is taken internally for gout, rheumatism, urolithiasis and syphilis.

As a honey bearer, the amphibian mustard is no worse than its friend, the snake mustard – bees collect at least 50 kg of honey from 1 hectare of thickets.

Decoction of rhizomes. 1 teaspoon of crushed rhizomes per 300 ml of boiling water. Boil for 10 minutes, infuse for 2 hours, filter. Take 1/2 cup three times a day.

Infusion of leaves. 2 teaspoons of dry leaves per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 1 hour, filter. Take 1/2 cup 3-4 times a day.

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