The milkweed is an herb belonging to the family of milkweed, which covers about 1600-1700 species, distributed mainly in the intertropical countries. They are usually shrubby or herbaceous, sometimes climbers and sometimes are edible. In many rubber is extracted. The plant in question is usually dry in winter, being reborn again in spring, when he puts some stems up to 1 m. High. From the axils of the leaves sprout tops with white flowers. The fruit is an elongated capsule containing winged seeds. It is native to the eastern regions of the Mediterranean, from where it has spread both east and west.
The plant flowers in spring and summer. For its medicinal value underground rhizomes are collected along with a small portion of its closest roots, they also have interesting active substances. The time of collection of these rhizomes is in autumn. Are thoroughly cleaned and put to dry quickly, preferably in dryer at temperatures not exceeding 50 grados CelsiusC.
The strain of this herb, that is, the rhizome with roots closer, contains a glucoside called vincetoxina, which comes in two distinct varieties: one in powder form easily soluble in water and other insoluble in aqueous liquids. Some authors defend the idea that a species vincetoxina not chemically defined, but it is a mixture of several glycosides chemically very similar. The whole plant is saturated with a white latex and is highly poisonous, although its generic name means the opposite. Indeed, the word "Vincetoxicum" etymologically means "he who overcomes the poison", this definition is that the plant has emetic properties, ie, that causes vomiting, so it frees the body of poisons ingested by any means oral.
In animal experiments have shown that the plant exerts a cardiotonic action, similar to the effect of the digital, but these results can not be extrapolated to humans. What is known is that the herb has sudorific and diuretic properties, which could be due to its cardiotonic action. In any case, is a plant that has to be handled with caution. In high doses it causes violent vomiting and purging.
Anecdotally, we can comment that the name "hirundinaria" comes from the Latin word "hirundo" which means swallow. This is explained by the structure of the seed, bearing a pappus, go through the air like swallows.
Tisane. With marked diuretic. It is sufficient to crush 1 gr. Rhizome and root and put in 1 quart of boiling water, let it rest until cool and is taken in small cups.
Decoction for external use. Prepared from a small amount of rhizome, leaving it boil for a while. Then applied as compresses. It is very effective against bumps and bruises.
It is important not never exceed the dose determined by the doctor in order to avoid undesirable effects such as vomiting and violent diarrhea.
HABITAT: Northern Peninsula
FLOWERING: Spring and summer
PART USED: Rhizome
CATALAN: Herba del verí, maseres
BASQUE: Sarandoi, piper-bedarr
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