River gravel – river gravel

Geum rivale (Geum rivale); the Rose family (Rosaceae); river gravel


River gravilat is a herbaceous perennial 25-80 cm tall. Its stem is reddish, the leaves are three-parted, somewhat reminiscent of the leaves of some members of the Zhovtets family. The flowers are cream, with dark red veins, bell-shaped, drooping, inconspicuous. Blooms in May-June. The fruit is collective, with nut-like achenes. The plant is widespread in the middle zone of Russia. In Ukraine, it grows scattered over almost the entire territory. It occurs in wet places – in damp forests, alder thickets, swampy places, floodplain meadows, along the shores of lakes, rivers and streams. It often grows in gardens as a weed. It grows quickly thanks to the branched rhizome. A modest, inconspicuous plant, however, has many useful properties.

Herbs and rhizomes with roots are used to prepare medicines. The aerial part is collected during flowering, the tops of plants 30 cm long are cut. Raw materials are first dried in the sun, dried under cover in the air, in attics or in well-ventilated rooms. The roots are collected in autumn after the fruits have ripened. They are washed and dried in the sun or in warm rooms.

The roots of the river gravilat contain tannins, essential oil, and the leaves contain vitamins: carotene (vitamin A) (37 mg%) and vitamin C (up to 117 mg%).

In folk medicine, the hemostatic, tonic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving and soothing properties of river gravilate are used. Infusion of rhizomes with roots helps with diarrhea, uterine and hemorrhoidal bleeding, scurvy, headache, insomnia, allergic phenomena. It is also prescribed as a tonic for exhaustion and after serious illnesses.

Externally, the infusion is used to gargle with sore throats, and in the form of baths, it has a beneficial effect on sore joints with rheumatism, arthritis, and gout.

Gravilat is popularly known as a food plant. Young leaves are added to vitamin salads, used as a dressing for vegetable soups. Washed in cold water and dried rhizomes of gravilat are a substitute for cloves in cooking. They are added to dishes and drinks (added to homemade kvass and beer), to which they give a spicy “clove” smell and resistance to souring. It should be noted that the roots retain their spicy taste and aroma for a short time.

The gravilat blooms for a long time (up to 40 days), so it serves as a constant source of nectar for bees. Nectar, which is released by one flower per day, contains almost 5 mg of sugar. On certain days, the hive becomes 1.5 kg heavier if the bees collect honey from the gravilat. According to the terminology of beekeepers, the plant provides early summer supporting honey collection.

Infusion of rhizomes with roots. 2 teaspoons of raw materials per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 1 hour, filter. Take 1 tablespoon three times a day before meals.

Infusion of rhizomes with roots (external). 2 tablespoons of raw material per 400 ml of boiling water. Insist for 1 hour, filter. For local washes, rinses, baths and compresses.

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