Three-leaf watch

Popular names: trifol, water trefoil, febrile, bean.

THREE-LEAF WATCH (Menyanthes trifoliata L.)Perennial herbaceous plant of the shift family (Menyanthaceae). The rhizome is thick, long, loose, creeping, rooting at the nodes, with sharp scars in places of fallen leaves. Three to five stems with rosettes of leaves grow from each top of the rhizome shoot. Leaves on long petioles, with sheaths, large, trifoliate. The flower stem is leafless, up to 30 (60) cm in height. The flowers are pale pink, collected in an oblong raceme at the top of the flowering stem: petals fused, fringed-ciliate on the inside. The fruit is an almost spherical, bivalve box with large seeds. Seeds are elliptical, compressed from 2 sides, shiny. Blossoms in May – first half of June, fruits ripen in July – August. Propagated by seeds and rhizomes, but mostly vegetatively. Distributed almost throughout the European part of the CIS, in Western and Eastern Siberia, in the Far East. Grows on peat soils of transitional and low-lying swamps, along low swampy banks of rivers, lakes, in ditches, where it rarely forms dense thickets. It participates in the peating of reservoirs along with other coarse rhizomatous plants (marsh cinquefoil, marsh calla) and with some types of sedges. There is a sad legend associated with the origin of this plant. This story happened on the banks of the Velikaya River in the domain of the water queen Volkhva. The evil stepmother disliked her little stepdaughter named Vakhka and killed her. Only the girl did not die, but turned into a little mermaid. She missed her friends very much, the kind forest gnomes, to whom, while living on earth, she often ran away to listen to fairy tales. And then one day, going out to the river bank with her mermaid friends to dance, she decided to run away to visit the gnomes, forgetting the Magus’ strict order not to leave her friends. For disobedience, the queen forbade her to appear in the underwater kingdom and forced her to constantly stand on “watch” at its gates. The little mermaid bitterly mourned her fate, cried day and night and gradually turned into a beautiful plant: her legs turned into roots, her hands into leaves, and her head into white and pink flowers. The plant itself became very bitter from the burning tears of the little mermaid. Since then, it has been named after the unfortunate girl. And there is also a story that says that two girls lived on the edge of a huge swamp – inseparable girlfriends. They did everything together. And then one day they went to the swamp to collect cranberries. Collected all day, scored full boxes, got tired and decided to return home. And suddenly one of the girls saw very large and red berries on a distant hummock. She reached for them, stumbled and fell into the quagmire. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t help her. The girl died, but since then a beautiful fluffy flower has grown in that place every spring, and the people called it a watch for warning: “Beware, the swamp!”.


For medicinal purposes, mainly the leaves of the three-leaf watch are used. The growth of leaves is most intense after the flowering of the plant, so they should be collected after flowering, in July – August. Only fully developed leaves are harvested, cutting them off with a short (not longer than 3 cm) remnant of the petiole. Young and apical leaves are not subject to harvesting, as they turn black when dried. It is not necessary to pull out a watch with a rhizome, as this leads to the destruction of its thickets. Repeated harvesting in the same places is possible no more often than after 2-3 years. To keep the leaves green, they are air-dried in the shade, and brought to condition in a dryer (at a temperature of 45-50 ° C) or in well-ventilated areas. The leaves are periodically turned over during drying, especially at the beginning. They are considered dry if their main veins and remnants of the petioles break when bent, and do not bend. The shelf life of raw materials is 2 years. The main harvesting areas are located in Ukraine, Belarus, Western Siberia.


The main biologically active compounds of the plant are bitters, belonging to the group of so-called purely bitter substances. By irritating the taste buds of the mucous membranes of the oral cavity and tongue, they cause a reflex increase in the secretion of gastric juice, an increase in appetite, and an improvement in digestion. In addition, the watch enhances the secretion of all glands of the gastrointestinal tract, improves the peristalsis of the stomach and intestines, stimulates the secretion of bile and has an anti-inflammatory and laxative effect. There is evidence that fresh and dry crushed leaves of the watch have wound healing properties. Watch also has an antiseptic and antipyretic effect.


Rhizomes. In Tibetan medicine – for chronic gastroenteritis. The Nanais have it for colds and pulmonary tuberculosis. In the Caucasus – with hyposecretion of the stomach. Leaves. Infusion – as an appetite stimulant; with hyposecretion of the stomach, hypacid gastritis, constipation, flatulence. They are part of choleretic tea, bitter tincture, to increase appetite, laxative, diuretic and sedative fees. In the form of tea, it is used to improve digestion and as an antipyretic; decoction externally – as an antiseptic for washing trophic ulcers, long-term non-healing wounds; baths – for diseases of the skin and mucous membranes. In homeopathy, the essence is used for headaches, trigeminal neuralgia, rheumatism. In dentistry – with periodontal disease, gingivostomatitis, toothache. In folk medicine – for diseases of the liver and gallbladder, hypocidic gastritis, dysentery, malaria, pulmonary tuberculosis, scurvy, fever, dyspepsia, migraine, helminthiasis; externally – for acne.


Infusion of water shamrock leaf (Infusum folii Menyanthidis): 10 g of raw materials are poured into 200 ml of hot boiled water and heated in boiling water (in a water bath) for 15 minutes, cooled at room temperature for 45 minutes, filtered, the remaining raw material is squeezed out. The volume of the resulting infusion is adjusted with boiled water to 200 ml. Take 1/3 – 1/2 cup 3 times every day 30 minutes before meals as bitterness to stimulate appetite with reduced function of the gastrointestinal tract. For chronic constipation, it is used at night, 60 ml per microclyster, diluted with boiled water in a ratio of 1: 2. Bitter tincture (Tinctura amara) – see Centaury umbrella.Leaf of water shamrock (Folium Menyanthidis) is produced in packs of 100 g. Stored in a cool, dry place. min, insist 1-2 hours, then filter. Take 1 tablespoon 3 times every day for 5-10 minutes before meals.


In veterinary medicine, fresh leaves and infusion – antiseptic, for the treatment of wounds, ulcers. Give green coloring to fabrics. Feed (leaves, rhizomes) for moose, beavers, muskrats. The food industry uses the leaves in brewing to give beer a pleasant, velvety taste. A fine powder from the leaves of the three-leaf watch is used as a spice, similar to pepper, sprinkling food with it for medicinal purposes (up to 2 g / day). Honey plant.

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