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Slipperwort - Decoration And Medicine In The Flowerbed

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Flowers accompany us everywhere. A lovely bouquet of daisies on the dinner table, a lush multi-colored flowerbed at the entrance to the school or office, a bright garden bed at the cottage, a solitaire planting on the mowed lawn in the park. But not only bright colors, unusual shape and wonderful aromas of flowers attract us. They, in addition to beauty, give health. Almost all flowering plants are medicinal plants. One of them is Scutellaria baicalensis. © Nick Eberle

The origin of skullcap

The first mention of skullcap as a medicinal plant was in Tibetan treatises 2500 years ago. From ancient times, it was used as a styptic and later was used for a large number of diseases in the folk and official pharmacopoeia.

The family of Lamiaceae forms a separate genus Schlemnik (Scutellaria37>), with another species represented by General helmet (Scutellaria galericulata37>). The same species is also found under the names Cockerel and Copacarpal helmet for the peculiar shape of the upper petal of the zygomorphic flower. In translation from Latin, the word schlemnik means "animal skin cap," while the latter is commonly referred to as winterberry, field or blue hellebore, babka, pickle, heart herb, blue flower, and others.

Ancient origin has resulted in the flexible adaptability of schlemnik to the conditions of life. Therefore, the genus schlemniks occupies almost all continents except Antarctica. The species distribution covers narrower ranges. Thus, Schlemnicum baikalii (the only species used as a medicinal plant in official medicine) is found in natural thickets in Central Asia, Transbaikalia, Mongolia, China, and the Far East. The plant belongs to mesophilic species and grows in places with increased moisture: next to wet meadows, in river floodplains, along the banks of various reservoirs, on the edges of damp forests and shrub thickets. As a beautiful flowering slipperwort is often found in homesteads and cottage plots.

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Slipperwort Common, or spurge slipperwort, or cocklewort (Scutellaria galericulata). Meet the Scutellaria pinnipeds

Schlemniks are perennial plants; there are over 400 species distributed in nature. The root system is rod-shaped and branched. It goes deep into the soil up to 50 cm. Closer to the soil surface gradually transforms into a storing organ - a multi-headed rhizome, vertical or creeping. The rhizome is yellow at the break, its surface is brown or yellow-brown.

The ground part of the skullcap is herbaceous or in the form of shrubs and semi-shrubs, up to 60 cm in height. Stems are straight, tetrahedral, covered with sparse, tough hairs, green or, less frequently, violet in color. Leaves have several forms, from simple ones with round-cordate bases to elongate ones with obtuse apex. The color of the leaves of the hellebore, which varies from dark to light green, is very interesting. Sometimes the upper and lower sides of the leaf blade, its marginal shape and arrangement of hairs pubescence are colored differently. Leaves are 2-7 cm long and arranged in opposite directions. Leaves are sessile or rest on short pubescent stalks. The flowers of the hellebore have bractal leaves.

The flowers of the hellebore are zygomorphic, arranged one by one in the axils of the apical and median leaves. Flowers are arranged in pairs in false whorls and aggregated in loose cyst-shaped inflorescences. Plants bloom from June to August. The corolla petals vary in color from white and pale pink to purplish-blue, burgundy, red-blue, purple and bluish-purple. The flower corolla is tubular, bipartite. The upper lip of the zygomorph flower has an original outgrowth or curve, characteristic of the entire genus. It resembles an ancient helmet, hence the name - schlemnik. According to legend, the hellebore is such a strong styptic that it curdles blood and stops bleeding even when used through a helmet or clothing.

The fruit is called cenobium and is represented by 4 angular-ovate, nut-shaped fruits covered with small tubercles, naked or pubescent in the hollows with glandular hairs. Fruits ripen between July and September. The mature cenobium shoots out nuts at the slightest touch, which promotes plant spreading.

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Scutellaria alpina 'Arcobaleno' (Scutellaria alpina 'Arcobaleno'). © Joseph Tychonievich
Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnicum orientalis (Scutellaria orientalis). © mustafa ulukan
Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnika cordifrons (Scutellaria cordifrons). © CABCN

Schlemniches species for garden design

Schlemniches are mostly in the dye plant group. They do not have a refined fragrance, but they look great as decorative flowering and ornamental foliage in flowerbeds, in squares, mixborders and alpinaries. Scallops are effective in solitaire plantings of mowed lawns and monoclubs of different color composition. They are unusually ornate in combination with lilies, large orange poppies, evening primrose, elecampane, Gypsophila and other large flowering species of flowering plants.

For multicolored monoclubs and in combinations with other flowering plant species, use Schlemnik alpina (Scutellaria alpina) with white and white-pink flowers, Schlemnik heart-leaved (Scutellaria cordifrons) with pink and Schlemnik orientalis (Scutellaria orientalis) with yellow flowers. Ornamental Schlemnicum lanceolate (Scutellaria hastifolia) with light blue flowers and lance-like dark green leaves. Very unusual are Schlemnika tuberous (Scutellaria tuberosa) and Schlemnika costaricana (Scutellaria costaricana) with bright blue and bright red flowers, respectively.

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnika spinyolenta. © Svetlana Nesterova
Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnicum tuberous (Scutellaria tuberosa). © fractalv
Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnik costaricana (Scutellaria costaricana). © mpshadow2003

Helpful properties of Scutellaria

Two species are commonly used for medicinal purposes: Schlemnik Baikal (Scutellaria baicalensis) and Schlemnik ordinary (Scutellaria galericulata). The medicinal properties are due to their chemical composition and high content of chemical substances with a positive effect on the cure of more than 40 diseases. The rhizomes, which contain the following macro- and microelements in large quantities: potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, copper, zinc, manganese, cobalt, molybdenum, iodine and others, are the raw material for the medicinal collection. Rhizomes are rich in saponins, organic resins, flavonoids (baicalin, scutellarein, vogonin), coumarins, tannins.

Combinations of rhizome ingredients have high therapeutic effect in cancer (slow down the growth of tumors, inhibit the formation of metastases), leukemia, support cardiac activity, normalize BP, beneficial effects on the peripheral and CNS, regulate the liver and gall bladder, have a strong hemostatic in gynecological and external wound bleeding, anti-inflammatory and other diseases. At home, skullcap can be used for a long time as an herbal tea, rich in trace elements and vitamins.

Skullcap refers to allergic plants and plants with toxic properties. Therefore, when taking home decoctions and tinctures, be sure to use the advice of a doctor.

In pharmacies you can buy bagged dry root with rhizome, dry extract, alcoholic tinctures. Scutellaria baicalensis is a component of many herbal gatherings and preparations.

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnik Baikal (Scutellaria baicalensis).

Growing Scutellaria baicalensis and Scutellaria berries can be planted in your own medicinal bed at home or used as ornamental plants in the backyard.

When growing Scutellaria berries for medicinal purposes, it is better to put them in open sunny places, but without burning sun rays. Semi-shade has almost no effect on the development of plants, but causes a noticeable crushing of flowers, which reduces the ornamental value of plants.

Schlemniks are not demanding to the soil and care. They are winter-hardy and drought-resistant. They do not have a depressing effect when grown together with other flowering crops.

Soil preparation and sowing

Autumn soil preparation for dolomite or quicklime, 0,5-1,0 bucket of humus (on heavy soils) and 30-40 gr/ m² of nitrophoska/nitroammophoska should be applied before digging the bed.

Sow or plant hellebores together with other plants when frosts pass and the soil warms up to +10...+12 °С. On average, it turns out in April-May depending on climatic conditions of the region.

Wetting and feeding Chemnik

Wetting plants after sprouts, when the top soil crust dries out, and over time, watering is carried out only during prolonged dry weather.

During the growing season, slam berries are fed twice when growing for medicinal raw materials. The first fertilization is nitrogen fertilizer 25-45 g / sq m or working solution of any organics, and the second - the budding phosphorus-potassium fertilizer, respectively, 30 g superphosphate and 20 grams of potassium salt per square meter. When growing in the flower bed, fertilization is carried out simultaneously with other plants, but do not overfeed with nitrogen. A nitrogen abundance in the hellebore and other flowering plants develops biomass to the detriment of flowering.

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Shellebore Baikal (Scutellaria baicalensis).

Schlemniks propagate best of all by seeds. They bloom on the 2nd year. As an ornamental crop, they can be propagated by dividing the rhizomes in the 3rd year to preserve their maternal characteristics. For vegetative propagation by rhizome parts, there must be 1-2 buds of regeneration on each part. Taking into consideration that schlemniks have a taproot, they do not take root well when seedlings are transplanted. In the northern regions, for flower beds, slam berries are propagated by seedlings. When multiplying with seedlings, seedlings are pipped directly into the soil or into peat-moist pots, and then planted in the soil together with the pots, at the age of 2 - 4 leaves. Plants transplanted at a later date will die. Planting and caring for seedlings is the same as for other plants.

The above-ground mass is not cut off for the winter in northern areas. In their natural state, hellebore plants are better able to overwinter. Their pruning is carried out in the spring. In southern areas in the fall cut stems at 7-10 cm of hemp.

Harvesting drugs

When growing skullcap on medicinal bed harvesting is carried out on the 3rd - 4th year. Some plants are left for natural reproduction and the next harvesting is not earlier than the 5th year

Slipperwort - decoration and medicine in the flowerbed
Schlemnik (Scutellaria galericulata).

Preparation and storage

Gently excavate the rhizomes with roots, remove the soil, cut off the above ground part. The rhizome itself is divided into individual parts by 5-7 cm and immediately placed on drying. Dry in ovens at +40 ... +60 ° C. During drying, make sure that the raw material does not get moldy. When dried, remove the caked layer and put in sacks of natural fabric or in wooden ("breathing") packaging. Shelf life of raw materials - 3 years.

At home you can use alcoholic tincture, decoctions of the rhizome. Be sure to consult a doctor before use.

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Please also read this. How to grow Perovskia from seed?