A perennial plant with a strong and long root system. Roots horizontal, creeping. Ground-elder produces large clumps that connect to a single root. The stem is bare or sparsely hairy, hollow, weakly branched up to 1 m tall. The length of the leaves reaches from 10-30 cm, width from 15-35 cm. Grows on long petioles 30-40cm.
Small, white flowers are collected in complex inflorescences. The central inflorescence is larger in size than the side inflorescences. Lateral inflorescences are barren. The inflorescence has a complex structure, shield-shaped, consisting of 20-30 rays, at the end of each ray a smaller shield, on average 1.5 cm in diameter. Each small shield is formed from separate, average 15 rays with small, snow-white flowers at their ends. Only the upper, central inflorescence, which also produces seeds, is fertile.
Ground-elder flower blooms for an average of one month, usually in the first half of summer, but there are cases when it blooms in August as well. Ground-elder seeds ripen in August. Ground-elder propagates vegetatively and by seeds.
The leaves and young shoots of the plant are used for medicinal purposes. Ground-elder root is used much less often in folk medicine.
The plant is harvested until the first inflorescences appear in late April and early May. By periodically mowing the Ground-elder bushes, as they grow back, the plant can be harvested throughout the summer period. The plant is dried spread out in a thin layer or tied in bundles and hung. The place should be well ventilated and shaded. The end of drying can be organized in forced dryers, not exceeding a temperature of 40C. Ready drug is stored in paper bags. The plant is valid as a medicinal drug for 1 year.
When collecting Ground-elder , it is important not to mix it with similar and even poisonous plants: poisonous hellebore, common dog parsley, dogwood. Poisonous plants have thicker stems and taller plants than Ground-elder , purple and violet tones can be seen in their color, shorter leaves like gourd.
A lot of valuable substances are found in Ground-elder flavor, among which are proteins, carbohydrates: umbelliferose, glucose, fructose; cyclitols: scylitol, glucinol; lectins; coumarins: umbelliferone, bergapten, xanthotoxin; steroids: sitosterone; the nitrogen-containing compound choline. The surface part of the plant contains vitamins and organic acids: malic acid, citric acid, ascorbic acid; amino acids: arginine, histidine, leucine, lysine, threonine, baline, methionine, carotene; bioflavonoids: quercetin, kaempferol, as well as their glycosides.
65-100mg of vitamin C can be found in 100 grams of Ground-elder leaves, as autumn approaches, the vitamin C content increases.
The plant also contains phytoncides, falcarinol, falcarindol, enzymes, saponins, coumarins, alkalis, resins, essential substances in small quantities. The amount of essential substances is directly related to the place where the plant grows, on average, the surface part contains 0.02-0.04% of essential oil.
In 100 grams, fresh
leaves contain 16.6mg of iron, 2mg of copper, 2.1mg of manganese, 1.7mg of titanium and 4mg of boron.
The substances present in Ground-elder are tonic, have diuretic and choleretic properties, as well as vasoprotective, detoxifying, antispasmodic and sedative properties. Ground-elder herb reduces inflammatory processes, relieves joint pain, acts against allergies, has antibacterial and antimycotic properties, prevents the formation of blood clots.
The surface part of the plant contains a lot of valuable carotene, which has strong antioxidant properties, has a beneficial effect on the human immune system and nervous system.
Ground-elder is also a valuable source of ascorbic acid, which the body is not able to synthesize by itself, but can only take in with food.
Since ancient times, Ground-elder has been used to treat podagra. Compresses of the plant, from the above-ground part of the plant, are used for this disease. In folk medicine, Ground-elder herb is also used to treat joint inflammations, such as rheumatism, arthritis and polyarthritis, arthrosis. Anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving effect of Ground-elder reduces the symptoms of these diseases, and it is often used to treat skeletal muscle inflammations.
Ground-elder improves the functioning of the stomach, intestines and liver, and also stimulates the functioning of the kidneys.
Ground-elder has a calming effect and is used to treat neurosis and disturbed sleep, it also stabilizes the nervous system. For this purpose, folk healers recommend using the root of this plant in baths.
Ground-elder decoctions and ointments are used for the treatment of various fungal diseases.
Thanks to the trace element iron in the air, it can be used to treat iron deficiency anemia. For this purpose, Ground-elder is added to food, in the form of a salad, but can also be used in the form of a decoction.
The plant is useful in cases of hypovitaminosis and avitaminosis, as the plant is rich in vitamins and minerals. In folk medicine, the young shoots are used as an anti-scurvy remedy to treat scurvy, the plant is slowly chewed for 1-2 hours.
Thanks to the detoxifying properties of Ground-elder , it is used in folk medicine to cleanse the body of toxins and poisons, and it also perfectly helps against edema.