Ledum shoots

Ledum shoots

Ledum shoots

Specification & Spread

Dutch myrtle shoots — cormi ledi palustris
Dutch myrtle — ledum palustre l.
Heath family — ericaceae
It is an evergreen shrub or shrub with dark grey bark, 20-125 cm tall.
The leaves are alternate linear-oblong or oblong-narrow-lanceolate, with the edges covered on the underside and reddish-felt pubescence on the underside.
The flowers are white, pentamerous, gathered at the ends of branches in multi-flowered corymbose inflorescences.
The fruit is a five-nest box with numerous seeds.
Smell. The plant with a strong intoxicating odour that causes headaches.
It flowers in May – June, bears fruit in July – August.
Spreading. It has an extensive holarctic range. It grows in the tundra and forest zones of the European part of the country, Siberia and the Far East.
Habitat. It grows mostly on sphagnum bogs, peat bogs, in swamped coniferous forests, often forms continuous thickets, convenient for harvesting.


The chemical composition of ledum shoots
The elevated part of the plant contains essential oil (1.5-3%), which consists of:

  • ledol
  • palustrol
  • para-cymol
  • geranyl acetate
  • tsineol and others.

The main components of the oil are iceol and palustrol – tricyclic sesquiterpene alcohols.
The greatest amount of ice cream in the essential oil is found in the leaves of the first year. The composition of the essential oil is variable and depends on the geographical latitude of the plants.
In addition to the essential oil, Dutch myrtle shoots contain:

  • tannins,
  • arbutin (up to 5%),
  • flavonoids,
  • coumarins
  • triterpene compounds,
  • resin.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The raw materials are harvested in August – September, during the period of fruit ripening. Harvesters gather young ledum shoots of the current year. It is cut off by hand or cut off. It is not allowed to harvest lignified shoots.
Security measures. Do not pull out plants with roots, as this leads to the destruction of thickets. The repeated harvesting in the same area is allowed not earlier than in 7-8 years, after full restoration of the undergrowth.
Drying. Ledum shoots are dried  in the shade, under sheds, scattering up to 10 cm thick, the heat drying is possible at temperatures up to 40 ºС. After drying, harvesters remove the leafless rough branches.
The plant is poisonous, so be careful when working with it. The harvesting should be carried out in respirators or cotton-gauze bandages no more than 2-3 hours per day.

Whole raw materials
A mixture of leafy shoots, leaves and a small amount of fruit.
The leaves are alternate, on short petioles, leathery, linear-oblong or oblong-narrow lanceolate, entire, with edges bent on the lower side, 15-45 mm long, 1-5 mm wide; from the upper side, dark green, shiny, from the lower side covered with thick orange-brown felt pubescence.
The stems are cylindrical with orange-brown felt pubes.
The fruit is a multi-seed oblong capsule 3–8 mm long, glandular-pubescent, revealed by five folds when ripening upwards.
The smell is sharp, specific.
Taste is not determined.
Milled raw materials
The pieces of stalks, leaves and fruits passing through a sieve with 5 mm diameter holes.
The colour is green, dark green, orange-brown, greyish-brown.
The smell is sharp, specific.
Taste is not determined.
The raw materials intended for the production of ice are not crushed.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. Expectorant and antitussive agent.
The pharmacological properties of ledum

  • Due to the ice break, which provides antitussive action. When taking preparations of ledum, essential oil is partially excreted through the mucous membranes of the respiratory organs,
  • arousing breath,
  • enhancing the secretion of glandular epithelium,
  • increasing the activity of the ciliary epithelium of the respiratory tract.

This is accompanied by the dilution of sputum and the acceleration of its removal from the respiratory tract.
The preparations of ledum have also:

  • bronchodilator,
  • pain reliever and
  • soothing action.

The preparations affect the blood vessels of the kidneys and coronary arteries by antispasmodics, with which:

  • diuretic effect and
  • hypotensive effect.

In addition, the experiment revealed a healing effect of preparations.
There was marked bactericidal action against many microorganisms.
Application of dutch myrtle
Dutch myrtle shoots has been used in medicine for the past two centuries, especially in Sweden and Germany. Since the end of the XIX century, the plant began to be used in Russia.
In modern medical practice, the preparations of wild rosemary of the marsh – an infusion and the preparation «Ledin» – are used as:
antitussive and
expectorants for acute and chronic bronchitis with a bronchospastic component, bronchial asthma and whooping cough.
By improving coughing and suppressing cough, they prevent undesirable changes in the circulatory system (increased pressure in the pulmonary circulation, increased peripheral venous pressure, etc.), eliminate insomnia, and headache.
Also ledum is used as:

  • diuretic,
  • disinfectant and
  • antiseptic (arbutin).

When overdose preparations of ledum appear:

  • irritability,
  • dizziness,
  • excitement, alternating with depression of the central nervous system.

In its native form, the plant is quite poisonous.
There are cases of poisoning with honey collected by bees from ledum flowers.

  • Hypersensitivity
  • pregnancy;
  • breastfeeding period;
  • children’s age (up to 18 years).