Highlander pepper – water pepper (harvesting and storage)

Highlander pepper (water pepper) – Polygonum hydropiper L. The Ukrainian name is water pepper, pepper hirchak, the popular name is dog pepper.


The buckwheat family is Polygonaceae.

The herb is used for medicinal purposes.

It occurs almost throughout Ukraine (in the Crimea, very rarely). It grows in damp and wet places – the banks of rivers, oxbow lakes, lakes, ponds, in alder and other moist forests, among shrubs, in reed, rarely sedge bogs, sometimes as a weed in vegetable gardens, roadsides. It forms thickets more often in a mixture with other marsh plants, the area of ​​\u200b\u200bwhich can reach several hectares. In Polissya, in the northern Forest-steppe, Ciscarpathia and Transcarpathia, where this plant is more common, industrial harvesting of raw materials is carried out.

Its reserves are very large. Hundreds of tons of grass can be harvested annually.

Highlander pepper is an annual plant with a poorly developed, slightly branched taproot. Stem 20-70 cm high, slightly branched at the top. The leaves are alternate, with wavy entire edges. The flowers are small, with a whitish or pink glandular flower within, collected on the tops of the stem and branches in long inflorescences. The fruits are trihedral, dark brown, matte nuts within the flower bed. Blooms in June – August. The fruits ripen in August – September. All parts of the plant have a pungent, peppery flavor when fresh (hence the name of the plant).

Harvesting of other species of the genus Highlander, often growing together with water pepper and outwardly similar to it, is not allowed.

Grass is harvested during flowering until the stems turn red (plants with strongly reddened stems should not be collected), cutting it with knives or sickles without coarse ground parts at a height of 10-20 cm from the soil plane. On large arrays, it is possible to mow with scythes after preliminary weeding out of foreign plants.

Dry raw materials in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a thin layer (3-5 cm) on paper or cloth and stirring frequently. In the sun, the grass turns black, and with prolonged drying it turns yellow and even rots. The yield of dry raw materials is 20-22%.

According to GF-X Art. 326 raw material consists of stems up to 30-45 cm long with leaves and inflorescences. Stems are green, often reddish, knotty, branched. The leaves are green, 3-6 cm long, 0.7-1.5 cm wide. The flowers are white or greenish-pink, collected in intermittent, drooping inflorescences 5-7 cm long. There is no smell. The taste is slightly bitter. Humidity is not higher than 14%. In raw materials, no more than (percent) is allowed: browned, blackened parts – 2, crushed parts, including crumbled leaves, flowers and fruits, -10, organic impurities – 3, mineral – 0.5. Extractive substances should be at least 17%.

The ash content must not exceed 8%.

Dry grass is packed, pressed, in bales of 75 kg. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas on pallets or racks. With long storage, the stems become brittle, the storage period is up to 2 years. Raw materials are not subject to re-control.

The herb contains up to 2.5% flavonol derivatives: rutin, quercitron, quercetin, hyperoside, also tannins, vitamin K, organic acids, glucose, fructose, dyes. It is used as a hemostatic agent, especially for uterine bleeding, in the form of an aqueous infusion and liquid extract. The extract is part of the Anestezol antihemorrhoid suppositories.

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