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Sow thistle (Sonchus) is an annual or perennial herbaceous plant, which is referred to as Asteraceae. It is considered one of the strongest and indestructible weeds. In addition to seed, in some species there is also a vegetative method of reproduction. During one vegetative period, one plant forms more than six thousand seeds, and its dense, highly branched roots are buried in the ground to two, and in the second year of growth up to four meters. When trying to destroy sow thistles, they break off, and the part that remains in the ground begins to give rise to many processes, forming new plants.
Botanical description and range of sow thistle
Depending on the type of sow thistle, it can reach a height of 50 to 170 centimeters. It has a straight, smooth or prickly pubescent stem. The dense, juicy foliage of bright green color is located only in the lower part of the stem and gathers in a kind of bunch with a common petiole. It can have a whole, cirrus-lobed or cirrus-dissected shape and prickly teeth along the edges. Not too large flowers of sow thistle are similar to baskets in which soft, thin, sharp petals are collected. They gather up to 8 pieces in inflorescence. In some varieties of this plant in the evening and on cloudy days, they remain closed. In mature seeds, sow thistle forms a fluffy crest, with the help of which they fly apart over long distances.
Sow thistle is a plant that can adapt and grow in a wide variety of conditions. It can be found throughout the Eurasian continent. It can easily grow in severe drought, on saline soils., but most of all prefers soil with a large amount of black soil. Therefore, he often settles in the fields and garden plots, where it is very difficult to get rid of him.
Appearance and useful properties of sow thistle
Today, more than a hundred species of sow thistle are known. The most common of them include the following.
Garden sow thistle
Sonchus oleraceus is an annual, with bright green, almost spineless foliage, unlike other species. It is popularly known as the "milkman" or "rabbit salad". Its height can reach 1 meter. The flowers are characterized by a pale yellow color. Flowering lasts from June to September. There is no vegetative propagation method for this species. Although many consider garden sow thistle to be a common harmful weed, It is characterized by a sufficient number of useful and healing properties:
- used as a valuable fodder plant for livestock;
- it can be used before flowering to make compost;
- considered a good honey plant;
- shoots with young foliage are used as a vitamin supplement in the preparation of soups, salads and snacks. Since they contain bitter milky juice, they are pre-soaked for half an hour in cold water. Boiled roots are added to food;
- in folk medicine it is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, bronchitis, inflammatory processes of the stomach and intestines, gout, hemorrhoids, wounds and boils. With its help, you can get rid of some parasites.
What does throat look like in spring
Field sow thistle (yellow)
Sonchus arvensis is a large perennial plant, reaching 1.5 meters in height. In appearance, it looks like garden sow thistle, but its grayish-green foliage is very rough and prickly, and it has the ability to reproduce using root shoots. This species is practically not used to feed livestock, as animals refuse to eat it because of the presence of thorns. Basically, he goes to compost. Its useful property can be called the ability to collect aphids from vegetable crops and fruit trees. This species is used in traditional medicine in the same way as other varieties.
Sow thistle rough (prickly)
Sonchus asper is an annual plant growing up to 80 centimeters tall. Its green foliage has a large number of very sharp teeth, and the inflorescences are golden yellow in color. With the onset of low temperatures, its veins, like the stems, acquire a reddish-purple color. Due to the rapid ripening of seeds and prolonged flowering, one plant can produce several generations per season. In addition, this species is easily propagated by root offspring. Therefore, if you do not fight the plant, it will quickly populate the garden plot, inhibiting the development of many cultivated plants.
Rough sow thistle has a high wound healing effect, therefore it is widely used to treat cuts, burns and some skin diseases. Also, with its help, cough and bronchitis are eliminated, inflammatory processes in the stomach and intestines are removed.
The use of sow thistle in traditional medicine
In folk medicine and cooking, they use various recipes based on sow thistle.
To prepare the infusion, you need 1 tbsp. l fresh chopped sow thistle, steam 200 ml of hot water, let it brew for half an hour. Consume 1 tbsp. l up to 5 times a day before meals. With the help of this tool, inflammatory processes in the stomach, intestines, kidneys and liver are eliminated. Also It will be useful for constipation and hemorrhoids.
Brew 50 g of dry sow thistle with 1 liter of water and simmer on a warm stove for about 10 minutes. Cool the broth, filter and drink 1 tbsp with each meal for diseases of the lungs, liver and as a tonic.
Freshly squeezed sap juice is used to heal wounds and burns, as well as to remove boils and warts. As a laxative and diuretic, it is drunk 1 tsp. while eating.
The healing properties of sow thistle
In order to enrich your body with useful substances in the spring, You can make a salad according to the following recipe:
- collect 200 g of young leaves of sow thistle (garden) and place them for 40 minutes in salted water to remove bitterness;
- boil 2 eggs, peel and cut into large cubes;
- chop two fresh cucumbers into small strips;
- cut 100 g of radish into half rings;
- cut the foliage of sow thistle into strips, finely chop a bunch of green onions and greens;
- mix all the ingredients, salt and season with vegetable oil, to which add a little mustard.
Procurement of medicinal raw materials
Harvesting sow thistle lead during flowering. To do this, cut off the upper part of shoots up to 25 centimeters long, bind them into small bundles and hang them in shaded rooms with good air circulation. You can also simply lay out blanks on pieces of cloth or on sheets of paper. When using special drying cabinets, the temperature in them should not exceed 40 degrees.
Finished raw materials should be grated, packaged in glass containers and closed with lids. Paper bags can be used for storage. Prepackaged sow thistle should be sent to a dark and dry place. Its healing properties are maintained throughout the year.
The healing properties of honey from sow thistle
Honey obtained from sow thistle belongs to the high-quality varieties. It is characterized by a white, light yellow or slightly greenish color, pleasant taste and a weak, light aroma. It contains a sufficient number of healing properties. It helps to strengthen the immune system, increase blood circulation, improve the performance of the gastrointestinal tract, increase the general tone of the body. Most useful for those who have had surgery and serious illnesses, older people and children. From 1 hectare of sow thistle thickets you can get up to 150 kilograms of honey.
Contraindications sow thistle
When using various types of sow thistle for food and for treatment, you should know that it has contraindications and is not recommended for use with:
- individual intolerance;
- an allergic reaction.
How to deal with sow thistle in the garden
In order to get rid of various types of sow thistle in the garden, comprehensive measures should be taken:
- In the autumn period, you need to dig out the available specimens. It is enough to remove their rhizomes from the soil by 15 centimeters, it is at this depth that the root offspring are located, which give new shoots;
- The soil must be leveled and mulched with peat or sawdust with a layer of 10 centimeters;
- If it is planned to collect raw materials sow thistle, then in spring you need to leave the required number of plants, and weed the rest;
- If for some reason it was not possible to remove the sow thistle in time, then you need to cut its buds and flowers before the seeds ripen. You can cut it to the root, it depletes its root system and eventually it dies.
How to destroy weeds in the country
Of course, sow thistle is a harmful weed, with great power and vitality, which makes it difficult to remove it from the garden plot. But at the same time he is endowed with an extensive range of useful and healing properties.