Cow Parsley is a biennial plant that belongs to the group of sedges. Grows up to 1.5m in height. The root is vertical, thick. The stem is erect, deeply furrowed, hollow, branched at the top. The leaves are large, sessile at the top, growing on long stems at the bottom. Inflorescences whorled with 8-15 rays. Flowers white, seeds 6-7cm long and 2mm wide, smooth, shiny - 4-8 fertile flowers in one inflorescence. Seeds elongated ovoid, flattened at the edges, dark brown. The plant blooms in June and July, the seeds ripen in August and September. In the spring, large leaves grow from the rhizome, which, when crushed between the hands, emit a pleasant aroma.
Both the root and the surface part of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. The leaves of the plant are harvested before the plant begins to bloom - in the first half of summer, in dry weather. Dry in a shady, well-ventilated place or in forced dryers at a temperature not exceeding 70C. Roots are dug in autumn, rinsed in running water, cut into pieces and dried on sieves or in forced dryers. Store the drug in closed containers for no longer than two years.
When collecting this plant, one must be careful not to confuse it with its poisonous counterpart: wild hemlock (Conium maculatum) or Fool's Parsley (Aethusa cynapium), which is less common in Latvia.
One of the distinguishing features: the cow Parsley has a thick, pale green grooved and lightly hairy stem. Parsley has thin, smooth, ribbed and hollow stems. Cow Parsley has a thick, smooth stem that is often (not always!) covered in dark red spots.
There are other similar plants that can be confused with: Heracleum mantegazzianum, Myrrhis odorata,Dacus carota, Achillea nobilis, horsetail and valerian.
Cow Parsley contains a lot of essential oil, carotene, glycosides, minerals, ascorbic acid. The roots of the plant contain glucose, fiber, organic acids, coumarin and vitamin C.
The leaves of the plant contain <0.14% (often up to 0.44%) ascorbic acid, starch, carotene (<0.015%), sugar (up to 4%), proteins (<3%); in fruits and stems - essential oils (<0.05%). Essential oil is characterized by a yellowish color with a slightly brown tint and an unpleasant, pungent smell. The seeds contain more than 18% vegetable fat, starch (>20%), glucose (<6%), disaccharides (>3%), fiber (<10%).
Cow Parsley contains a lot of ascorbic acid, which speeds up a person's recovery from various serious infectious diseases. Vitamin C strengthens the body's natural defenses and is considered a good antioxidant. The rutin in the plant strengthens blood vessel walls and makes blood vessels flexible. This plant can also be used fresh, especially in the case of a diet - it has no calories and stimulates digestive processes.
In folk medicine, cow Parsley is used to treat kidney, respiratory and bladder diseases. Decoctions of the plant are used for intestinal infections and diarrhea.
Externally, this plant is used to improve well-being in dermatosis and itching. Folk scientists recommend, in such cases, to use a decoction of the plant, both internally and externally, to enhance the effect. Fresh plant juice can also be used externally to heal wounds, boils and lacerations.
This herb is recommended for gout. Cow Parsley reduces arterial blood pressure, and its anticonvulsant properties help improve the quality of life of epilepsy patients.
This plant in folk medicine is also one that is used in mixtures that are used during the climactic period. The plant also has a mild sedative effect.