Medicinal periwinkle – kopnik officinalis

Comfrey (Symphytum officinale); Boraginaceae family; kopnik officinalis


Some plants often catch our eye, but few people know what they are called and what they are interesting for. It is to such common plants that the medicinal comfrey belongs.

It is a herbaceous perennial up to 1 m tall. The rhizome is short, thick, with a fleshy black-brown root. The stem of the plant is densely covered with rough hairs. Leaves alternate, lanceolate or heart-shaped; the lower ones are on petioles, the upper ones are sessile. The flowers are purple or dirty purple, tubular-bell-shaped, in few-flowered drooping curls, which form a panicled inflorescence. They bloom in June-July. Zyvokist occurs almost everywhere in the forest and forest-steppe zones of the European part of Russia and in Siberia, more often in wet places. In Ukraine, it grows throughout the territory on wet meadows, in alder thickets, along the banks of rivers.

For medicinal use, comfrey roots are collected in autumn, cleaned from the ground, cut into pieces 15-20 cm long and washed in cold water. After that, the roots are split lengthwise, washed again and dried under shelter in the open air, in well-ventilated rooms or in a dryer at a temperature of 30-40 °C. The roots need to be dried quickly – with slow drying, they turn brown and lose their medicinal properties.

The chemical composition of medicinal raw materials of the plant was studied. The root contains alkaloids, organic acids, tannins and mucous substances, aspartic acid, starch, sugars, essential oils and other compounds.

Decoctions and infusions of comfrey roots have an anti-inflammatory and enveloping effect, accelerate the healing of wounds, trophic ulcers, help with various skin lesions. There are data on the antitumor effect of the plant. In the past, scientific medicine used comfrey products for gastrointestinal disorders and as a cough suppressant. Folk healers use decoctions, infusions and fresh root juice in the treatment of bone fractures, wounds, inflammatory processes of the gastrointestinal tract, peptic ulcer disease of the stomach and duodenum; they also help with diseases of the respiratory organs.

In Siberia, the roots of the plant are added to salads and vegetable soups — it turns out quite tasty!

Beekeepers highly value comfrey as a source of nectar and pollen. Depending on the place of growth, the honey productivity of the plant ranges from 180 to 400 kg per hectare. Other types of comfrey (rough, Caucasian,

Don) also often occur in the European part of Russia. Caucasian (5. caucasicum — in Crimea and Kyiv parks), rough (S. asperum — in Kyiv and Poltava regions) grow as listed plants in Ukraine. They have the same healing properties and are also good honey bearers.

Infusion of roots. 2 teaspoons of raw material per 300 mt of cold boiled water. Insist for 8 hours, filter. The resulting infusion is poured into a separate vessel, the raw materials are poured a second time with 200 ml of boiling water, infused for 10 minutes, filtered. Both portions of the infusion are mixed. They take 0.5 l per day in small sips.

Decoction of roots. 10 g of crushed roots per 200 ml of boiling water. Boil in a water bath for 15 minutes, filter, wring out, bring to the original volume with boiled water. Take 1 dessert spoon after 2 hours.

Decoction of roots (external). 10 g of crushed roots per 200 ml of boiling water. Boil in a water bath for 15 minutes, filter, wring out, bring to the original volume with boiled water. Used for lotions, rinses, washes and baths.

There are conflicting data on the toxicity of the plant’s roots, so their use requires caution

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