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Bird cherry - spreading plants, which are strewn with clusters of white fragrant flowers in spring, and with clusters of black berries in summer. During archaeological excavations, confirmation of the use of bird cherry was obtained already in the Stone Age. What makes a plant so attractive and in demand? What are the beneficial properties of bird cherry used by humans for centuries.
- Bird cherry, general information
- The chemical composition and benefits of bird cherry
- How to properly collect and prepare bird cherry
Bird cherry, general information
The name bird cherry should be understood as plant species from the subgenus Cherry, the genus Plum, the family Pink. Most often you can find the following types of bird cherry:
- bird cherry
- bird cherry Maak
- bird cherry late
- bird cherry
The most extensive range is in the common bird cherry or bird cherry. It grows from the shores of the Pacific seas to the countries of western, central, southern Europe. It naturally exists in North Africa, Asia, the Caucasus and Transcaucasia. Bird cherry is a tree or a tall shrub. Young branches are dark red, bark of mature plants is dark or dark gray. The crowns are dense, often elongated or spreading. The leaf plates are large enough, oval with a serrated edge. Small, sometimes white, pink flowers are collected in long, up to 15 cm, brushes. They have a strong pleasant aroma. Their smell is associated with a special means for self-defense "Bird cherry".
Bird cherry blossoms in May. Sometimes their flowering is associated with the return of cold weather, and after the end of the flowering of bird cherry it is believed that the cold will not return and heat-loving plants can be planted in the gardens.
The fruits of bird cherry are drupes, up to 10 ml in diameter. At first, the color of the fruit is green, as it ripens, it is black. The pulp is green, blackens in the air. It strongly stains the hands and mucous membranes black when eaten. Bird cherry blossoms profusely annually, but sometimes the berry harvest is reduced due to spring frosts. Bird cherry is used in breeding work when creating frost-resistant hybrids of cherry, sweet cherry, decorative varieties and garden varieties. Fruits, leaves, flowers and bark are valuable medicinal raw materials. In addition, bird cherry is used in the food industry and cooking, and its wood is a valuable ornamental material.
The chemical composition and benefits of bird cherry
Bird cherry berries contain up to 15% tannins, it is with them that the astringent properties of berries are associated. In the bark of such substances - up to 3%. The composition of bird cherry berries includes:
- Apple acid
- vitamin C
- lemon acid
- vitamins E, P, C, A
In addition, there are hydrocyanic acid compounds in the leaves and bark. Bird cherry leaves accumulate ascorbic acid, essential oils, phytoncides. The bark and seeds contain the substance amygdolin, which, when broken down, gives glucose and hydrocyanic acid.
The benefits of bird cherry, medicinal properties
The medicinal properties of bird cherry are primarily associated with its astringent qualities. Decoctions from it are used for various types of non-infectious diarrhea and indigestion. Bird cherry is part of the therapeutic gastrointestinal preparations. Due to the content of vitamin P, it is used as a means of strengthening the walls of blood vessels, including capillaries. The chemical composition of bird cherry berries is similar to blueberries, so they have vitamin-enhancing properties, are able to positively affect immunity, and improve vision. Bird cherry bark is used as:
- head lice remedy
The leaves have vitamin and strengthening properties. A decoction of them is drunk for tuberculosis, bronchitis. Infusion of flowers is a wound-healing agent, it is also used for eye diseases for lotions. In addition, the decoction of flowers is used as a contraceptive. In order for the medicine from bird cherry to be beneficial, you need to be able to collect and store it.
How to properly collect and prepare bird cherry
In order for bird cherry to retain its benefits, you need to know several rules for collection and storage. For the preparation of decoctions and infusions, almost all parts of the plant are harvested:
- ripe fruits
This should be done at a certain time when the plant raw materials contain the maximum amount of nutrients. The bark is harvested in early spring. Flowers are harvested in May, immediately after the buds open, without waiting for shedding. Leaves in early summer. Berries are harvested only when ripe. This happens in July - August. They are removed by cutting off the whole brush, trying not to violate the integrity of the skin. The collection of raw materials is carried out in dry weather in the morning or evening.
Raw materials that are procured for the pharmaceutical industry are processed and dried using special equipment, in compliance with certain technologies. At home, you can also stock up bird cherry for the needs of the family.
How to keep bird cherry at home
It is best to store the prepared raw materials in a dried form. The collected fruit clusters must be laid out to dry no later than four hours after collection. For drying, they are laid out in one row. Pastry with them is placed in the oven, the temperature in it should be +50 degrees. You can use household dryers. The dried berries are removed from the stalks, and plant debris is removed. Properly dried bird cherry fruits become wrinkled, black, free of foreign odor and mold. They retain their properties for at least three years, and with proper storage in a dry place, at a cool temperature, in closed boxes - up to five years.
Flowers, bark, leaves can be dried outdoors in light shade. They are also stored in bags or boxes in a dry place. Flowers and leaves retain their properties for about a year. The bark is about five years old. In addition, for culinary purposes, the fruits of bird cherry can be preserved in a milled form after drying or in a pureed state with sugar. It should be said that in difficult times the bird cherry always came to the rescue, it was treated, bread was baked from it, jelly and compotes were cooked. Perhaps that is why at present varieties of bird cherry with large berries have been developed for amateur and industrial cultivation. Among them noteworthy are:
- Black glitter
- Sakhalin black
- Early round
Despite the many useful properties, bird cherry treatment is best done after consulting a doctor.
Video about the medicinal properties of bird cherry: