Rhaponticum carthamoides

Rhaponticum carthamoides

Rhaponticum carthamoides

Specification & Spread

Rhizomes with rhaponticum carthamoides roots — rhizomata cum radicibus rhapontici carthamoidis (leuzeae carthamoidis)
Carthamoid rhapontic (maral root) — rhaponticum carthamoides (willd.) Iljin ( = leuzea carthamoides (willd.) Dc.)
Composite family – asteraceae (compositae)
Other names: Swiss centaury, maral root, maral herb

It is a perennial herbaceous plant 50-80 (200) cm tall. The rhizome is dark brown, horizontal, branched, with numerous thin roots. The stems are hollow, ribbed, unbranched and cobwebby-pubescent.
The leaves are alternate, large, deeply pinioned, with 5-6 (8) pairs of ovate-lanceolate, along the edge of the serrate lobes.
The flowers are tubular with a deeply five-cut rim, purple, gathered in single, almost spherical baskets with a diameter of 3-8 cm. The fruit is a brown ellipsoidal ribbed achene 5-8 mm long and 2-3 mm wide, with a short fringed margin on the top.

It blooms in July – August, the fruits ripen in August – September. It is propagated by rhizomes and seeds.

Spreading. The endemic to South Siberia, has a limited range. It grows in the highland belt of the Sayan, Altai and Kuznetsk Alatau, in the east it reaches Baikal, in the south it comes in East Kazakhstan. Wild thickets are reduced, the plant needs protection.

Habitat. In the mountains at an altitude of 1400-2300 m above sea level, on alpine and subalpine meadows, in the forest belt.The most dense thickets are formed in the subalpine belt. The plant is successfully cultivated in the flat areas of the European part of the country, Siberia.


The chemical composition of rhaponticum

Biologically active substances of rhizomes with rhaponticum safflower-shaped roots have been studied recently.
Phytoecdysteroids (0.03-0.6%), polyoxysteroids, possessing the activity of insect molting hormones and arthropod metamorphosis, have been found.
It was first found in insects. This is a new class of natural compounds.

In the raw materials it also found:

  • essential oil,
  • inulin,
  • organic acids,
  • coumarins,
  • flavonoids,
  • sterols,
  • tannins (up to 5%),
  • carotenoids,
  • vitamin C,
  • gums,
  • resin.

Harvesting and storage of raw materials

Harvesting. The rhizomes with roots are harvested in the autumn after ripening. It is dug up with shovels or picks, carefully cut the stems, clean it of soil residues, wash it in water, and sometimes cut it lengthwise. The raw materials are harvested on plantations from plants aged 3-4 years.

Security measures. While harvesting the raw materials it is necessary to guard carefully young growth. On 10 m2 of thickets, at least 2-4 developed plants are left for seed renewal. Mature seeds at the place of harvesting are buried in the soil to a depth of 2-3 cm. It is necessary to create reserves, expand and more widely introduce the plant into the culture at field thickets.

Drying. It is dried in dryers at a temperature of 50-60 °C. The raw materials are laid out in a layer of 10-15 cm. Natural drying is possible.

Storage. It is stored in a dry and well-ventilated area. It is packed loosely in bags, bales, boxes.

Whole raw materials.

The rhizomes are whole or longitudinally cut, woody, wrinkled, 1.8 cm thick in wild plants and up to 3 cm in cultivated plants, with traces of cut stems. The roots are numerous, branching, 15 cm long in wild plants and up to 36 cm in cultivated plants, sometimes with a fallen bark. Outside, the raw material is brownish-black, yellowish at fracture. The smell is peculiar. The taste is slightly sweet and resinous.

Milled raw materials.

The pieces of various shapes, passing through a sieve with holes of 7 mm diameter. The colour is yellowish brown. The smell is peculiar. The taste is slightly sweet and resinous.

Properties and application

Pharmacotherapeutic group. General tonic.

The pharmacological properties of raponticum

Rhaponticum carthamoides — maral root – is an ancient Siberian traditional medicine «from fourteen diseases», was first discovered by ethnographer G. Potanin (1879).

Rhaponticum preparations have:

  • stimulating effect on the central nervous system,
  • increase the number of heartbeats,
  • increase blood pressure,
  • expand peripheral vessels,
  • increase the speed of blood flow,
  • strengthen the contractions of the heart muscle,
  • deepen and quicken the breath.

Rhaponticum preparations:

  • increase the performance of tired striated muscles,
  • improve their blood supply and energy supply.

In experiments on various animals, galenic preparations of rhaponticum increase the time of limiting muscle work, which is associated with the stabilization of glycogen levels in working muscles, a decrease in the consumption of creatine phosphate and adenosine triphosphate under prolonged load conditions.

Maral root has:

  • hypoglycemic effect, apparently due to increased use of glucose by working tissues;
  • an adaptogenic effect – increases the immune response to various physical and mental environmental factors, normalizes the activity of vegetative-vascular reactions.

Application of rhaponticum

Rhaponticum extract is prescribed as a stimulant that increases the efficiency of mental and physical fatigue, impotence. Rhaponticum is recommended for asthenic syndromes of various origins (post-traumatic cerebrostia, post-infectious asthenia, asthenoipochondric states in patients with neuroses and in mentally ill patients). It is prescribed in the treatment of patients with depression. The phytochemical complex stimulates the central nervous system.

  • Increased nervous irritability,
  • insomnia,
  • hypertension,
  • pregnancy and lactation,
  • marked atherosclerosis,
  • impaired cardiac activity,
  • individual intolerance to the components.