Golovaten zvichayny – ordinary muzzle

Echinops ritro , synonym — Echinops ruthenicus); family of Asteraceae, or Compositae; ordinary mordovnik


In the steppes of the southern part of Russia, in the chernozem strip along ravines, slopes, riverbanks and weedy places, you can often come across a plant with an original appearance. It looks very beautiful in the grass, but it is not so easy to pluck it – it is too prickly. This is a common gorse, a medicinal plant and one of the best honey plants, a herbaceous perennial up to 50 cm tall (usually less).

The stem of the plant is whitish-felt. The leaves are green on top, usually bare or with thin felt pubescence, and whitish-felt on the bottom; pinnate or doubly pinnate, with lanceolate, linear-lanceolate, toothed, sometimes serrate lobes, prickly at the apex and from the edges. The flowers are blue, collected in a spherical inflorescence, which somewhat resembles a hedgehog curled up in a ball, hence the Latin name of the plant Echinops, which in translation from ancient Greek means “hedgehog”. The plant blooms in June-August. The fruit is an achene. In Ukraine, it grows on steppe and rocky slopes in the south of the forest-steppe zone, in the Steppe and the Crimea.

To obtain medicinal products, the seeds of the gorse are used. It is collected after the browning of inflorescences, at the end of August — at the beginning of September. The heads (inflorescences) are dried, then threshed, and the seeds are winnowed. The term of storage of raw materials is 1 year.

The seeds contain the alkaloid echinopsin (1.5-2%) and fatty oil (26-28%).

The alkaloid extracted from the seeds stimulates the nervous system, tones the heart, increases blood pressure and the tone of blood vessels. It also reduces headache, has a tonic effect, normalizes sleep and appetite.

The drug “Echinopsin”, obtained from the seeds, was previously used for the treatment of various neurological disorders and other diseases of the nervous system (atrophy of the optic nerve, peripheral paralysis and muscle atrophy, radiculitis, myopathy and muscle hypotonia). In modern scientific medicine, the product is no longer used, but new, more effective ones are being developed, also based on the seeds of this plant.

Headworm is a real find for bees. It blooms for more than a month, the nectar released by 100 flowers (and there are many of them in the inflorescence) contains up to 10 mg of sugar. The honey productivity of the plant reaches 340 kg from 1 hectare.

A close relative of the common sphaerocephalus is the round-headed sphaerocephalus (E. sphaerocephalus), a taller representative (up to 200 cm), grows in approximately the same places. Its medicinal properties are similar to those of common gorse. The plant releases even more nectar, and its honey productivity is higher — up to 700 kg per hectare. The honey collected by bees from the bees has a delicate aroma, a light amber color and a pleasant taste.

With an overdose of cephalopod products, a decrease in blood pressure and convulsions are possible.

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