Bergenia crassifolia L.


Perennial evergreen plant, 10-50 cm tall and higher. It has a thick and fleshy, creeping rhizome, strongly branched. Stem without leaves, glabrous. Leaves on long stems, large, naked, whole, slightly fleshy, dark green-pinkish in autumn, form a thick rosette of root leaves, live for 2-3 years. Leaf blade (3-35cm in length, 2-30cm in width) broadly elliptic or slightly inverted oval, rounded or heart-shaped at the base, bluntly large-toothed along the edge.

Bergenia is considered an evergreen plant, but its leaves only live for one year. The leaves appear in the spring after flowering, grow in the summer, remain green over the winter, supply the plant with the necessary substances in the spring and die, giving way to the new leaves. When the new leaves appear, the leaves of the previous year start to turn pink, turn brown, often turn black and dry.

The flowers are small (<0.8 mm in diameter), regular (actinomorphic), violet-pink in color, arranged in dense broom-shield-shaped inflorescences. Inflorescences are formed at the ends of leafless stems.

Fruit - elliptical dry box. The plant blooms in May-June until the new leaves appear. The seeds are many, small, ripen in July-early August.

The drug is collected throughout the summer (until the end of the vegetation period). Rhizomes and roots are cleaned from the soil, cut into 10-15 cm long pieces and wrapped in the sun, then dried in a shady and well-ventilated place, or in forced dryers at a temperature not exceeding 45C.

In the spring, also collect leaves that have overwintered for at least one year, they will naturally ferment under the snow and acquire a pleasant aroma. You need leaves that are already blackened and dried. The drug is stored for up to 5 years.

Bergenia has <23% tannins in leaves, <27% in roots. Tannins 25-27%, phenolic compounds, phenolcarbonic acid, coumarin derivative - beregnin, as well as isocoumarins, catechins, starch, sugars, mineral salts are also found in the roots. The leaves contain gallic acid, coumarins, flavonoids, vitamin C, carotene and arbutin, as well as 2-4% of free hydroquinone.

Medicinal significance

Bactericidal, astringent, anti-bleeding and anti-inflammatory properties of bergenia preparations are provided by tannins present in the plant. Bergenia root extract is used for the treatment of colitis, enterocolitis, cervical erosion and stomatitis, gingivitis. In addition, the bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties are based on the presence of arbutin in the root, astringent - with tannins. Bergenia also has adaptogenic, anti-stress, anti-hypoxic, capillary-strengthening, immunomodulating, temperature-reducing and anti-tumor properties.

Bergenia is most widely used for medicinal purposes in Russian, Tibetan and Chinese medicine. Bergenia leaves are used to treat tuberculosis, lung inflammation, rheumatism, diseases of the digestive tract, diseases of the urinary tract and teeth. Aqueous extracts of bergenia roots and leaves are used orally for the treatment of non-infectious colitis and enterocolitis, they will also help with painful menstruation, which is formed on the basis of inflammation, uterine fibroids and bleeding after childbirth, as well as pregnancy termination. In folk medicine, bergenia is also used to treat respiratory infections, flu, whooping cough, headaches, hemorrhoids, fever, gastritis, etc.

Bergenia compresses are used to heal wounds, ulcers and bruises. Dried root powder is also used for this purpose, it is used to cover non-healing wounds and wet rashes.

Not recommended for use

Bergenia preparations should not be used by people who are prone to thrombosis, constipation, thick blood, hypotonia, tachycardia, as well as if there is an allergy to its components. Bergenia leaves should not be used while they are still green (both fresh and dried) - in this way the plant is highly poisonous!

Importance of food

Bergenia contains a lot of tannins, so it is impossible to eat it fresh. Therefore, it should be kept in running water for a long time or, as a minimum, in water that you will change from time to time. After a thorough soaking, the plant can be fried, boiled, as well as prepared into flour, which can be added when baking bread.

When harvesting the roots of the plant, expect to practically kill the plant, as the root is very slow-growing. The leaves are harvested mainly for tea. They are practically not used in food.