Melilot officinalis – burkun zhovtii (harvesting and storage)

Ukrainian name is burkun zhovtiy, popular names are burkovina, borkon, vargun, sticky; komonnitsa, salaryman, etc. 

The legume family is Fabaceae (Leguminosae).

The herb is used for medicinal purposes.

It occurs throughout Ukraine, but more often in the steppe and in the south of the forest-steppe regions. It grows on roadsides, in forest belts, on the edges of forests and among shrubs, on dry slopes of gullies and river valleys, on fallows, in young forest plantings. Sometimes, especially on young deposits, it forms thickets with an area of ​​tens and even hundreds of hectares.

Stocks of raw materials are large, hundreds of tons of grass can be harvested annually, however, in some years there are relatively few plants (lean years), so the collection fluctuates significantly.

Sweet clover is a biennial. Taproot, with numerous lateral branches. Stem single, branched, up to 2 m high, glabrous, shortly pubescent above, slightly woody below. The leaves are alternate, trifoliate, the middle leaflet is on a longer petiole. The leaflets of the lower leaves are obovate, the rest are lanceolate or oblong-lanceolate, serrate-finely toothed. Flowers in multiflorous racemes 5-15 cm long in leaf axils. Corolla yellow, moth-like, 5-7 mm long, 10 stamens, 9 of them fused into a tube covering the ovary. The fruit is a 1-2 seeded bean. Seeds are oval, yellow, smooth or small tuberculate. Blossoms in June-August, with early mowing and humid second half of summer in August-September aftermath blooms. The fruits ripen in August-September.

In addition to medicinal sweet clover, harvesting and use of tall sweet clover is allowed (GOST 14101-69). Raw materials of other species of the sweet clover genus should not be harvested. They differ in morphological structure, habitat and other features.

Grass is harvested in the flowering phase, cutting off the tops and side shoots with knives or sickles.

Dry it in attics under an iron roof or under sheds with good ventilation, spreading a layer of 5-7 cm on paper or cloth. In good weather, you can dry in the sun. The raw material dries out in 2-3 days, the end of drying is determined by the fragility of the stems. In dry grass, thick stems are separated. The yield of dry raw materials is 25-28%.

According to GOST 14101-69, the raw material consists of whole leafy stem tops up to 30 cm long and up to 3 mm thick, with flowers and young immature fruits. Leaves, stems and fruits are green, corollas of flowers are yellow. The smell is strong, fragrant, coumarin. The taste is bitter. Humidity is not higher than 14%. In raw materials, crushed parts are allowed (passing through a sieve with a hole diameter

0.5 mm) no more than 5%, parts that have changed color, sweet clover stems thicker than 3 mm – 2, organic impurities – 1, mineral – 0.5%. The standard also provides for cut and threshed raw materials with particles up to 8 mm in size. Up to 10% larger parts and stems up to 1 mm thick are allowed.

The total ash content must not exceed 10%.

Whole raw materials are packed in 50 kg bales, chopped and threshed – in 20 kg bags. Store in dry, well-ventilated areas on pallets. Storage period up to 2 years.

The herb contains coumarin, dicoumarol, melilotin. It is used for the manufacture of melilot blister patch, also for flavoring tobacco, in the alcoholic beverage and perfume industries.

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