The mecéreon is a small shrub that grows no more than a meter tall. Its branches are gray and features flexible, leaving the pink flowers that give off a faint scent, the leaves are long and only appear after flowering. Its fruits are red berries.
It is a plant that grows wild in much of Asia and Europe and is a protected species in many countries where it is increasingly scarce.
In the peninsula is easy to find in the forests of the Pyrenees, usually with abundant beech and fir-between 1000 and 2000 meters.
The plant flowers in spring in most places, but can be brought forward to February in warm places. The fruits usually ripen by July. The part that matters is the cortex which must be uprooted from the strongest branches, early spring, once collected, is prepared in bundles that are hung up to dry total.
The mecéreon is an extremely poisonous plant, in fact, its name derives from the word "mazeriym" meaning to kill. The appetizing color of the berries has led to many poisonings, particularly in children. The toxic effects of these fruits begin after ingestion, causing burning in the throat, vomiting and bleeding. If not treated early, it can trigger breathing problems and death by collapse. Animals are also sensitive to this plant is estimated that 30 gr. Mecereon dried leaf is enough to kill a large animal like a horse. And in many areas these fruits have been used to exterminate vermin such as foxes and wolves.
The active part of this plant is a resinous material, very inflammatory, located mainly in the inner bark, but also appears to a lesser extent in leaves and fruits. All these parts contain a glucoside, the daphnin-not considered toxic, and a coloring matter very used in the textile industry to dye wool yellow.
Internal use of this plant is not at all recommended.
For human consumption this plant is only recommended in external forms such as creams and ointments, and of course always under strict medical supervision. In veterinary medicine used in some cases, but usually prefers to use other plants easier to handle and less toxic.
HABITAT: Forests in the Pyrenees
PART USED: Resin from the bark
CASTILIAN: Mecéreon, lauréola hembra
CATALAN: Herba dels fics, tintorell
BASQUE: Ario, erenoski
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