Lovage - cultivation and medicinal properties
Lovage (Levisticum) - a plant belonging to the family of umbelliferous (Umbelliferae) Includes a single species of Lovage officinalis (Levisticum officinale) Perennial herbaceous plant, reaching a height of 2 m. It has a thick, branched root. The stem is hollow, branched at the top. The leaves are large, pinnate and dvuhpriisty, dark green in color. The whole plant has a strong spicy aroma. Small yellowish flowers on the tops of the stems are collected in complex umbrellas. It blooms in June - July, the seeds ripen in July - August.
The lovage is not only spicy, but also a medicinal plant, because of which it is grown in personal plots. Any part of the plant contains essential oil, of course, in various quantities. Seeds contain up to 1.5%, roots - 0.5%, fresh leaves - 0.25%. Essential oil is a thick brown mass that dissolves well in alcohol.
The lovage plant is cold-resistant, winters well, grows early in the spring and forms seeds in the northern regions, demanding on light, moisture and soil fertility, development proceeds according to a two-year cycle. In the first year, a powerful rosette of leaves and rhizome is formed, in the second year, a flower-bearing stalk and seeds. Lack of moisture leads to growth retardation, lower yield and quality. It is valued for its high content of essential oils, vitamins, mineral salts, as well as for its tonic effect.
Lovage is propagated by seeds sown before winter or early spring. Gives abundant self-seeding, which is transplanted to ridges for growing new plants. The lovage also succeeds in dividing perennial roots. If you take to plant this plant with seeds, then sow, not randomly, but in rows, first sprouting green seedlings by 10-15 cm and using them as young greens. Further, you can thin out the plants by 30–40 cm, gradually bringing the distance between plants and row spacing to 60–70 cm. Such an area is enough for long-term cultivation of this large and powerful plant. In autumn, it would be nice to sprinkle the plant with peat or humus.
Lovage grows on different soils: clayey, sandy, peaty, but grows more magnificent on breathable, moderately moist and nutritious. When nitrogen is inflated, the plant turns out to be too strong, and the root reaches a large size, but its flesh loses its density and juiciness, becomes loose, and darkens when cooking. Therefore, nitrogen fertilizers should not be carried away, but be sure to add potassium and trace elements. Before sowing seeds, fill the soil with humus or compost per 1 m2 of 4–5 kg of compost, 15–20 g of urea, 20 g of superphosphate (ordinary) and 30 g of potassium sulfate, a glass of ash. Further, depending on the state of the plant, it is possible to carry out organic and mineral dressings with microelements.
To grow good lovage roots, it is necessary to remove peduncles in time, preventing them from rising. Do not cut a lot of greenery, this affects the filling of the roots. Greens to the table will provide thinning of thickened plants. It is enough to leave one copy of the lovage on the seeds.
The same plant - tall, densely leafy, with large dark green leaves, as if polished to a shine, with high yellowish umbellate peduncles - can also be decorative.
When growing a lovage in the first year, only a few leaves are taken from it - for seasoning. Only in September of the following year, rhizomes are dug up, peeled, stringed on cords and hung out for drying; larger ones are cut in half lengthwise to speed drying. Pharmaceutical raw materials, often affected by insects and, in addition, hygroscopic, must be stored in tightly closed vessels. The fruits are harvested in late autumn, when they are fully ripe. Seasoning leaves can be taken all year round. The aerial part is taken when the roots are dug up, however, it is dried in the air separately.
Caring for a lovage includes regular cultivation and weeding. With a lack of moisture, watering is carried out. In subsequent years, include early spring feeding, which is repeated in the second half of summer. If there is no need to obtain seeds, timely peduncle of the peduncles is carried out when they reach a height of not more than 10 cm. You can start cleaning products in the autumn of the first year, or early in the spring of the second year. During wintering, the loss of plants from low temperatures does not occur.
People call the lovage mountain celery. Indeed, they are close botanical relatives. In the wild, lovage grew on the slopes and foothills of the mountains, hence another name appeared - mountain celery. It also grew in lower humid places, where it developed even more magnificent.
The healing properties of the lovage
Lovage officinalis has a tonic, restorative, diuretic, weak analgesic, choleretic and laxative property. Infusions and decoctions of the roots stimulate appetite, relieve intestinal colic, have a carminative effect. Due to the diuretic effect, they are used for edema of cardiac and renal origin, pain in the kidneys and diseases of the bladder.
The effectiveness of a lovage with edema of cardiovascular origin is explained not only by an increase in diuresis, but also by a direct effect on the heart, which improves its activity. Prescribe infusion and as a means of accelerating the arrival of menstruation with their delay and reducing their soreness.
An infusion of roots is used in the same way as an expectorant for catarrh of the respiratory system, they are drunk or taken in the form of powder on the tip of a teaspoon 3 times a day. An infusion or decoction of the roots of a lovage is used for baths, washes, compresses in the treatment of pustular skin diseases, non-healing ulcers and wounds. At the same time, take an infusion or decoction inside as a blood purifier.
Fresh leaves are applied to the head to relieve pain. Lotions, washings and compresses have a positive effect on pustular skin diseases, long non-healing ulcers and vitiligo, and skin pigmentation. Outwardly, a decoction of the root of a lovage is used for hair growth and for their loss.
The roots of a lovage in the form of a pair, but more often a decoction, in the amount of 1 tbsp. l (dry) per 1 liter of water is drunk in case of kidney disease, especially in dropsy, as well as in diseases of the heart, gastrointestinal tract, as a blood purifier for anemia, neurosis.
Even a short use of a decoction of the roots of a lovage causes a more energetic, but calm pulsation of the heart, reduces shortness of breath. The people checked: if in the morning on an empty stomach to chew 3-5 g of dried root lovage, then it calms the nerves, improves well-being.
An ancient treatment for skin and throat cancer is rinsing with a decoction of the roots of the oral cavity. Decoction of fruits and leaves: 1 teaspoon in a glass of water, drink 1 tablespoon 3 times a day.
Apply lovage to pregnant women is contraindicated, as it promotes blood flow to the pelvic organs and acts abortively!
- cooking decoction of the roots: 1 teaspoon of crushed roots is poured with a glass of hot water, boiled in a sealed container for 30 minutes and cool for 10 minutes. Then the broth is filtered and adjusted with boiled water to its original volume. Take 1-2 tbsp. 3 times a day.
- cooking infusion of roots: 1 teaspoon of crushed roots pour a glass of boiling water, slowly cool and filter. Take in equal portions throughout the day in 5-6 receptions.
- cooking infusion of herbs: Pour 1/4 liter of cold water into 2 teaspoons without chopped root, heat to a boil and strain immediately.
- for headache - Pour the leaves with boiling water and breathe 5 minutes over the broth, covered with a towel.
- with kidney disease - 30 g of dry root pour 1 liter of boiling water. Insist 30 minutes and drink in the morning on an empty stomach on 1/2 tbsp.
- cure bronchitis help a decoction of -1 hours. dry root pour 1 tbsp. water and boil for 30 minutes. Take 1-2 tbsp. 3 times a day before meals.
Lovage like seasoning
Much more often than for medicinal purposes, lovage (root, grass, leaves in a fresh and dried state) is used as a spice for flavoring liquors and bitter gastric vodkas. “Improves the stomach and expels the winds,” wrote one cook who constantly grew this plant in his garden, already during the time of Charles the Great.
Whoever has never used a lovage as a seasoning is worth a try. Fresh grass or only fresh leaves added to shredded vegetables or some dish for lunch, contribute to their better absorption and manifestation of taste. Beware only of their excessive consumption..
Lovage should be cooked together with the main course. For example, when cooking meat broth, meat sauce or minced meat, put a little lovage root, and this seasoning will improve and enhance the taste of meat. And, which should be especially noted, the use of a lovage as a seasoning is very beneficial for health and is allowed even for dietetic cuisine.