Materinka zvichayna – common oregano

John’s wort, Oregano; Lamiaceae (Labiatae) family; common oregano


Motherwort occupies a special place among useful representatives of the flora. It has numerous medicinal and spicy-tasting properties. But that’s not all: motherwort is a wonderful honey plant, an exceptional plant in terms of useful qualities.

This herbaceous perennial of the Gubotsvite family reaches a height of 90 cm. The stem of the plant is upright, four-sided (as, after all, in other representatives of the family). The leaves are opposite, oblong, entire. The flowers are lilac-pink, less often whitish, small, irregular, located in the axils of the apical leaves, forming shield-like inflorescences. They bloom in July-August. Motherwort grows in the European part of Russia, the southern part of Siberia, in the Caucasus. Typical places of growth are dry steppes, meadows, thickets of shrubs. In Ukraine, it occurs throughout the territory on steppe and rocky slopes, among shrubs, in sparse birch and coniferous forests, on the edges of forests, it is grown as a medicinal and spicy plant.

The motherwort is prepared at the beginning of flowering, cutting off the tops of stems 20-30 cm long, covered with leaves, together with the inflorescences.

The collected parts of the plants are tied into bundles and dried by hanging in a ventilated, darkened room. After drying, the grass is threshed and the flowers and leaves are separated from the stems. For the preparation of medicines, the raw material is suitable for no more than one year, and it retains its spicy-tasting properties for two years. Briquettes of motherwort grass are sold in specialized pharmacies.

The composition of the aerial part of the plant includes essential oil, tannins, vitamin C (up to 500 mg%). The main component of essential oil is thymol.

Motherwort calms the nervous system, increases the secretion of digestive and sweat glands, and has an expectorant effect. Plant products are also used as pain relievers, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agents. The infusion of the herb stimulates intestinal peristalsis and bile secretion, promotes contraction of the smooth muscles of the uterus, increases urine output, and regulates the menstrual cycle. It is prescribed for diseases of the respiratory organs (whooping cough, bronchitis), poor digestion, especially for colitis and enterocolitis accompanied by constipation and flatulence. This tool also helps with increased excitability, insomnia and depressed mood.

Externally, herbal infusions are used for compresses and lotions for furunculosis, edema, rashes on the skin, gargle with inflammation. They are also used for washing wounds, washing the head with migraines and baldness. Baths with infusion of the herb help with itchy eczema and children’s diathesis (jaundice). In folk medicine, in cases of dizziness and fainting, dry grass of the plant, ground into powder, is sniffed.

The use of motherwort products internally is contraindicated during pregnancy and increased secretory activity of the stomach.

The upper part of the plant with leaves and flowers is used as a spice. Grinding into a powder, it is added to vegetable and meat broths, soups, sauces (on the tip of a knife), sprinkled on fried, stewed and baked meat. Motherwort gives these dishes a unique aroma. This is where its popular name comes from. In Russia, the plant was added to kvass and beer, which acquired an aroma and piquant taste and at the same time were preserved from sourness (the thymol contained in the herb plays a significant role in this, it suppresses unwanted microbiological processes).

Motherwort is also known as a spice abroad, however, there it is called oregano. It is irreplaceable in Spanish, Italian and Mexican cuisines, it is necessarily part of various spicy mixtures. You can’t make a real pizza without sour cream! In France, grass is added to mushroom dishes, especially it emphasizes the taste of mushrooms.

The honey productivity of the thickets of the mother plant is 70-150 kg from 1 hectare. Bee colonies increase the weight of hives by an average of 2 kg per day when they work on plant plantations. Honey from the queen is amber, with a greenish tint, aromatic, very tasty, crystallizes into a white, fine-grained mass.

The perfumery industry also cannot do without this wonderful plant: the well-known Lorigan toilet water and soap are flavored with essential oils extracted from the mother plant. Soap, in addition, has bactericidal properties.

Herbal infusion. 2 tablespoons of raw material per 200 ml of boiling water. Insist for 15-20 minutes, filter. Take 1/2 cup warm twice a day for 15 minutes. before eating This infusion is also used for lotions, compresses and rinses. For baths, it is prepared at the rate of 10 tablespoons of raw materials per 10 liters of water.

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