Specification & Spread
Bergenia rhizomes — rhizomata bergeniae
Leather bergenia — bergenia crassifolia (l.) Fritsch.
Saxifrage family — saxifragaceae.
It is a perennial herbaceous plant with 10-50 cm tall. The rhizome is up to 3.5 cm thick, branched, creeping, long (sometimes reaching several meters), located near the soil surface. The upper rhizome is dark brown with numerous cuts - articulation traces of the rosette leaves, the bottom one is with numerous thin adventitious roots.
The basal leaves are large, entire, bare, leathery and wintering.
The lamina is large elliptical or almost rounded, less commonly obovate. The apex is rounded. The base is heart-shaped, notched or rounded, with a blunt large margin. The length of the lamina is about 10-30 cm (exceeds the length of the petiole), the width is 9-30 cm.
The flowers are on leafless peduncles, regular, pentamerous, and collected in the apical paniculate-corymbose inflorescence. The corolla is lilac-pink, the petals are with a unguis.
The fruit is an elliptical capsule with small seeds.
It blooms in May - July before the appearance of young leaves, the fruits ripen in July - early August.
Spreading. It grows in the endemic of the mountains of Southern Siberia (Altai, Kuznetsk Alatau, Sayan Mountains, the mountain systems of Tuva, Baikal and Transbaikalia). As an ornamental plant it is used for landscaping settlements.
Habitat. It grows in the forest, subalpine and alpine zones at an altitude of 300 to 2600 m above sea level on rocky slopes. It is abundant in dark coniferous forests, where often forms continuous thickets sometimes on hundreds of hectares.
The bergenia rhizomes contain:
- tannins (up to 25-27%),
- arbutin, (+) - catechin,
- (+) - catechingallat,
- isocoumarin bergenin (5%),
- phenolic acids and its derivatives (gallic acid (0.22%), 3,6-dihaloylglucose).
The rhizomes are rich in starch. The bergenia leaves contain:
- tannins (up to 30%),
- free polyphenols - gallic acid (up to 22%), hydroquinone, arbutin (up to 12%),
- flavonoids - quercetin, kaempferol, ascorbic acid.
Harvesting and storage of raw materials
Harvesting. Bergenia rhizomes are located almost near the surface of the ground. It is harvested during the summer growing season (June - July). It is dug or pulled out of the soil, cleaned from the ground and small roots, cut into pieces of various lengths (up to 20 cm).
Security measures. To ensure seed reproduction while harvesting the raw materials leave intact 10-15% of the most developed species. The repeated harvesting should be carried out at the same place after 10 years.
Drying. First, the rhizomes are dried, and then dried in a dryer at 50 ºС slowly to an air-dry state. Fast heat drying reduces tannins. The raw material dries for 3 weeks.
Storage. It is stored in a dry and well ventilated area.
External signs of raw materials
The pieces of cylindrical rhizomes is up to 20 cm long, 1-3.5 cm thick.
The surface of it is dark brown or almost black, slightly wrinkled with rounded traces of cutting roots and lepidoid rests of the leaf petioles.
The fracture is grainy, light pink or light brown. The narrow primary crust and the conducting bundles located as a discontinuous ring around the wide core are clearly visible on the fracture.
The smell is absent. The taste is very astringent.
Properties and application
The bergenia preparations have:
- anti-inflammatory and
- antimicrobial properties.
Application of bergenia
A decoction of bergenia rhizomes is used in gynecological practice:
with heavy menstruation on the basis of inflammatory processes of the uterus,
for the treatment of cervical erosion and colpitis in the form of douching and vaginal baths.
The bergenia rhizomes also apply:
- with colitis,
- in dysentery, they are prescribed in combination with antibiotics and sulfonamides.
In dental practice bergenia is used as:
- astringent and
- hemostatic with stomatitis, gingivitis, periodontal disease, for lubricating gums and rinsing.