Ledum marsh

Diseases and effects: influenza, acute respiratory infections, high blood pressure, damage to the epithelium of the cornea, rheumatism, stomach diseases.

Active substances: tannins, arbutin glycoside, sesquiterpene alcohols ledol and palustrol, eleopten.

Collection time:  July – September

Heather family – Ericaceae \ r

Four species of Ledum grow on the territory of the Soviet Far East, but only one of them – Marsh Ledum – is officially recognized as a medicinal plant. This is an evergreen shrub, sometimes reaching a height of 120-125 cm. Numerous old branches are dark gray; young shoots are covered with reddish-brown omission. The leaves are alternate with a slightly turned down whole edge. Their shape varies from linear to oblong-elliptical. Above the leaves are dark green, shiny, with small yellowish glands, below – brown-felt. White flowers are collected in multi-flowered umbellate inflorescences. Blossoms in May – June, fruits ripen in July – August.\r

Distributed in Primorye, the Amur region, on the coast of Okhotsk, Chukotka, Kamchatka, the Commander and Kuril Islands and Sakhalin. Marsh rosemary grows mainly in moss swamps, traditionally forming thickets. Marsh rosemary is to a certain extent a “combined” species. T.P. Berezovskaya (1961), referring to the works of taxonomists, writes about the existence of three morphological forms of wild rosemary: L. Palustre L. var. vulgare (common), L. palustre L. var. angustum (narrow-leaved) and L. palustre L. var. dilatatum (broad-leaved). V.N. Voroshilov (1966) indicates that a typical wild rosemary grows on the Upper Amur. Several evasive varieties grow on the coast of Okhotsk, Kamchatka and the Commander Islands. In the same areas, also in Primorye and Sakhalin, the narrow-leaved form is also common.\r

The issues of taxonomy within the species of wild rosemary are of no small importance for medicine, since different forms of the plant may have different pharmacological effects. In medical and pharmaceutical literature, it is traditionally indicated that in addition to tannins and a small amount of arbutin glycoside, marsh rosemary contains up to 2% of essential oil, the main components of which are sesquiterpene alcohols ledol and palustrol.\r

Meanwhile, according to T.P. Berezovskaya (1961, 1962), in the narrow-leaved form of wild rosemary, there is no ice dol. This is important to consider, since such significant effects of wild rosemary as expectorant and antispasmodic are attributed to ledol.\r

Young shoots and leaves of rosemary, harvested in August – September, can be used as an infusion for bronchitis and whooping cough as an expectorant and antispasmodic. Outwardly, for some skin diseases, an oily decoction of the shoots and leaves of this plant is used.\r

The infusion is prepared at the rate of 10 g of dried aerial parts per glass of water. After straining, it is taken in a tablespoon 3 times every day. For chronic diseases, such treatment can last two to three weeks or longer.\r

From the essential oil of wild rosemary (after the removal of the crystallizing ledum camphor), a liquid part was isolated, called eleopten. A 10% solution of eleopten in flaxseed oil is used for influenza and acute respiratory (so-called colds) diseases: 1-2 drops of this solution 2 times every day in each nostril. Eleoptene also has an expectorant effect.\r

The ability of wild rosemary to moderately lower blood pressure (Trotsenko, 1955, 1961), have a diuretic effect, and accelerate the healing of damaged epithelium of the cornea of ​​the eye (Poluektova, 1962) has been revealed. Apparently, the data of traditional medicine on the therapeutic effect of wild rosemary in gout, chronic rheumatism, weeping eczema, and also on its antihelminthic and diaphoretic effects have not yet been verified. Testing the effectiveness of rosemary in rheumatism may be of particular interest, since E.Yu. Chass (1952), referring to literary materials, indicates that this plant is used most often for rheumatism (about 8 times more often than for cough).\r

V.P. Makhlaiuk (1967) writes that in Western Ukraine, wild rosemary infusion is drunk during outbreaks of epidemic diseases as a prophylactic. In addition, it is used externally for bites and stings by insects, for bruises and frostbite. According to A.P. Nechaev (1960), in Nanai folk medicine wild rosemary is used for diseases of the stomach.\r

Wild rosemary leaves are a widely used pesticide.\r

Marsh rosemary is a rather poisonous plant. There are known cases of poisoning of people with wild rosemary honey (“drunk” honey). An infusion of the herb of this plant, even at recommended doses, sometimes causes increased drowsiness. Therefore, it should not be taken by people who, by the nature of their work, need intense attention and a quick reaction to changes in the environment (for example, transport drivers).\r

From mid-July to the end of September, young leafy non-lignified shoots of the plant can be harvested. Usually their length does not exceed 10 cm. In wet weather, the shoots are dried in heated rooms or in dryers at a temperature not exceeding 30 °. In dry weather, they can be dried in the attic. Well-dried shoots of wild rosemary break easily.\r

When drying, it must be borne in mind that the volatile essential oil of wild rosemary is poisonous and can cause a headache even in a person who, in windless hot weather, finds himself among the thickets of this shrub, therefore, in order to avoid poisoning, one should not stay in the room for a long time in which the harvested shoots of the plant dry.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *