Perennial herbaceous plant. Adventitious roots, with two tubers, ovate-fusiform, light brown. Stems erect, herbaceous, up to 30-60 cm tall. The leaves are alternate, basal, amplexicaul, membranous, stem – 2 large, obovate, narrowed into a petiole, upper stem – linear, sessile. Flowers are irregular, white, in loose racemes. Perianth – from six leaves of various shapes. The fruit is a multi-seeded capsule. Blooms in May-June.
Lyubka bifolia is very common in the non-chernozem regions of Russia. It grows in deciduous forests, coniferous terrestrial mosses, in broad-leaved and mixed forests, in thickets of shrubs, in pine-birch thickets, on hills, forest glades.
Medicinal raw materials are young root tubers. They are harvested after flowering (July-August), and only those from which flowering stems have not yet grown. The collected tubers are peeled, dipped in boiling water for several minutes, and then dried in dark, ventilated rooms or in dryers. Dried root tubers – salep – ovoid or cylindrical, gray-yellow in color, hard. Storage period 6 years. Finished raw materials should not contain blackened tubers and impurities, and darkened tubers – more than 3%.
Salep tubers contain within 50% mucus, consisting of mannan, 27% starch, 5% proteins, 1% sugar, a small amount of calcium oxalate and other mineral salts.
Root tubers due to the high content of mucus and starch act enveloping and antiseptic.
When taken orally, salep mucus, covering the mucous membranes of the digestive canal, protects sensitive nerve endings from irritating influences, as a result of which pain decreases, motility normalizes, and the absorption of toxins from the stomach and intestines is difficult.
Salep tubers are used orally or in the form of enemas as an enveloping agent in inflammatory processes of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as in case of poisoning with poisons, mainly of a cauterizing effect.
Salep tubers, due to their high calorie content, are also recommended to be used as a nutritional remedy that restores strength to malnourished patients after serious illnesses. According to some reports, 40 g of tubers crushed into powder and prepared as a decoction are enough to feed an adult every day.
In folk medicine, salep tubers have long been known as a means of maintaining strength in sick people (tuberculosis, heavy and prolonged bleeding, etc.).
See also Orchis.
Tubers are consumed in the form of a powder, from which mucous decoctions are prepared (1:20-1:60).
Slime is prepared by shaking the tuber powder with 10 parts of cold water, followed by the addition of 90 parts of boiling water and shaking until a homogeneous, colorless and somewhat transparent mucus is obtained. Mucus can be cooked in milk, broth or wine to increase its nutritional value.
Tincture: 30 tubers per 0.5 liter of wine, taken according to Art. spoon 3 times every day.