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Medicinal and alkaloid plants

Medicinal and alkaloid plants include:

  • geranium (Geranium);
  • fenugreek (Trigonella);
  • motherwort heart (Leonurus cardiaca);
  • five-lobed motherwort (Leonurus quinquelobatus);
  • golden root (Rhodiola rosea);
  • yarrow (Achillea millefolium);
  • Jacob’s-ladder (Polemonium caeruleum);
  • coneflowers (Echinacea);
  • clary sage (Salvia sclarea);
  • common sage (Salvia officinalis);
  • elecampane (Inula helenium);
  • common nettle (Urtica dioica);
  • common thyme (Thymus vulgaris);
  • greater celandine (Chelidonium majus);
  • belladonna (Atropa belladonna);
  • fireweed (Epilobium);
  • goat’s rue (Galega officinalis);
  • greater burdock (Arctium lappa);
  • great burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis);
  • tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum);
  • strong tobacco (Nicotiana rustica);
  • peppermint (Mentha piperitя) ;
  • Valerian officinalis (Valeriana officinalis);
  • Tangut rhubarb (Rheum palmatum);
  • chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla);
  • marigold (Calendula);
  • winter rye spores.

In Russia, medicinal plants are cultivated in specialized farms in the south, in the non-chernozem and forest-steppe zones, in some regions of Siberia and the Far East.

In total, more than 50 species of medicinal plants have been introduced into the culture.

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History

The ancestors of modern man used wild plants for not only nutrition, but also for treatment. After the advent of agriculture, people learned to grow some of them.

The first written evidence of the use of medicinal plants refers to the state of the Sumerians, which existed on the territory of modern Iraq in 6000 BC.

Treatment with the help of plants – phytotherapy – still exists today, despite the widespread use of artificially synthesized pharmaceuticals. Many medicinal plants are collected and harvested in natural phytocenoses (forests, swamps, meadows, steppes, mountains, etc.). However, since the second half of the XX century. more purposeful introduction and selection of the most valuable medicinal plants began.

In the State Register for 2006, several dozen varieties of medicinal plants were included. Thus, at the end of the 20th century, a new group of industrial crops appeared in crop production – medicinal and alkaloid plants.

A clear distinction between medicinal plants and other field crops cannot be called clear. So some essential oil crops (coriander, anise, peppermint, clary sage, etc.) can be included in a separate group of medicinal plants. Often, tobacco and shag are isolated separately.

Alkaloid plants (cocoa, tea, coffee, poppy, etc.) are widely used, which contain various alkaloids (ephedrine, caffeine, quinine, nicotine, etc.) and have a strong physiological effect on the nervous system of humans and animals. Due to the content of alkaloids in these plants, they are widely used in medicine and veterinary medicine.

Despite the fact that tobacco and shag smoking, due to the negative impact on human health, has become catastrophic in our country and throughout the world, the nicotine alkaloid (a strong poison!) Obtained from these plants is used to produce pharmaceuticals and insecticides.

It should be noted that some cereals, legumes, technical and fodder crops, in addition to their main purpose, can also be used as medicinal plants. So, in some textbooks, amaranth is classified as a rare fodder plant, but in the ancient American states (Aztecs and Incas), this culture was used as a medicinal and food crop. Also, leuzea safflower-like (maral root) and Jerusalem artichoke can be simultaneously attributed to fodder and medicinal plants.

Medicinal crop rotations

Medicinal cultures are subject to high requirements for product purity. Therefore, they are cultivated in environmentally friendly conditions. Growing technology eliminates their contamination with residual agrochemicals, therefore, great importance is attached to the use of organic fertilizers, agrotechnical and biological methods of protecting plants from diseases, pests and weeds, and primarily crop rotation.

In most cases, medicinal crops are introduced into regular field, special and sometimes fodder crop rotations. They are placed according to the best predecessors – bare and seeded fallows, layer and turnover of the layer of perennial grasses, legumes, after winter crops, following the best predecessors, row crops.

Perennial medicinal crops can be introduced into hatching fields, where they are cultivated continuously for several years.

Cultivation features

Taking into account the peculiarities of the implementation of many medicinal plants, the Kabardino-Balkarian Agricultural Academy (Fisun M.N.) proposed a technology for the multilateral use of plants that simultaneously have medicinal, fodder, decorative and other properties.

Under production conditions, a comprehensive experiment was carried out, in which single-species tape crops of goat’s rue, high elecampane, woolly comfrey and dioica nettle are used depending on the market situation. If it is possible to sell medicinal raw materials, cleaning is carried out along the tapes. If there is no opportunity to sell medicinal raw materials, the plants are used to harvest high-quality silage or haylage, for which the green mass is mowing across the tapes. Such permanent multi-purpose plantations showed high and stable productivity: 2.5-4 t/ha of medicinal raw materials or 45-60 t/ha of green mass.

Sources

V.V. Kolomeichenko. Crop production / Textbook. — M.: Agrobusinesscenter, 2007. — 600 p. ISBN 978-5-902792-11-6.