Sedge: Use in Traditional Medicine

Many probably remember the Soviet cartoon about Little Raccoon, where a cute animal must overcome the fear of He-Who-Lives-In-Pond, because his mother instructed him to pick sweet sedge for a festive dinner. But in fact, this grass, which grows in swamps and along reservoirs, is not without reason a favorite delicacy of deer, moose, rodents and other living creatures, it has a mass of useful and even healing properties.

  • Chemical composition
  • Medicinal properties
  • Application
    • In folk medicine
    • In cosmetology
  • Preparation of medical raw materials
  • Recipes of traditional medicine
  • Contraindications and harm

Chemical composition

It is necessary to immediately make a reservation that the sedge is unique in its own way. Traditional healers and herbalists have known and skillfully used its useful properties for a long time, while in official medicine this plant is not used. It is difficult to say that of these two facts is the cause, and that - the result, but no detailed scientific studies of the chemical composition of this plant have been carried out by anyone.

In folk medicine, the medicinal properties of such plants are often used: aloe, anise, verbena, sweet clover, ginseng, St. John's wort, strawberry, raspberry, nettle, mint, coltsfoot, Rhodiola rosea.

Did you know? Contrary to the existing stereotype, not all sedge species grow near water. Some members of the genus grow in forests, steppes, in deserts, and even in the Arctic. The most useful are mountain species of plants, sometimes they can be found even at an altitude of more than three thousand meters. They contain the maximum amount of ascorbic acid and carotene.
In addition, in the world there are, according to various sources, from one and a half to two different types of sedge, which are scattered almost throughout the globe (only in Russia there are about four hundred), so it is quite obvious that the chemical composition of these plants can differ significantly .

From the point of view of traditional medicine, the main interest is not the aboveground part, but the rhizome of the sedge. The following substances were found in it:

  • coumarin - dilates blood vessels, has a spasmolytic effect, promotes the resorption of tumors, however, increases the sensitivity of the skin to the action of sunlight;
  • Coumarin is also found in such plants as groundwort, aconite, Zubrovka, mountain ash, wolfberry, saxifrage, buttercups, tarragon, barberry, sage meadow.

  • bitterness glycosides - contribute to the secretion of gastric juice and, consequently, increase appetite, by increasing the motility of the stomach contribute to a more rapid absorption of food;
  • saponins - have expectorant, diuretic, choleretic and diaphoretic effects, lower blood pressure;
  • tannins - stop bleeding, stop inflammatory processes, have astringent and bactericidal action;
  • starch - the main source of energy;
  • silicic acid - strengthens hair, nails, bones, improves skin condition;
  • resin - heals wounds, slows down putrid processes, and also has a bactericidal and laxative effect;
  • gum ("soft fiber") - has a beneficial effect on the work of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • mineral saltsnecessary for the body no less than vitamins, these inorganic substances are part of the cell and play a huge role in metabolic processes;
  • essential oils - dilates blood vessels, relieves pain, has expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral and antihelminthic, and also soothing or, conversely, stimulating.

Did you know? The Latin name of the plant - сárex - presumably comes from the ancient Greek κείρω, that is, "cut." The obvious analogy is related to the sharp, blade-like leaves of this grass, which are very easily wounded due to the tiny teeth that cover them all around. The Slavic analogues of the name of the plant have the same roots: “sedge” in Russian and Ukrainian, “asaka” in Belarusian, and, by the way, in Lithuanian and Latvian - from the Old Slavic verb “osech”, that is, again "cut", "cut". In Latin "cut" -seco, so perhaps the roots of the word are even more ancient.
Sweet sprouts, for which Little Raccoon hunted so diligently, contain up to 30% fiber (carbohydrates) and up to 18% protein, which makes the product quite nutritious and useful (fiber, in particular, regulates blood sugar levels, removes cholesterol from the body toxic substances, supports the work of the intestine, and protein is generally the main building material for all living things).

Alkaloids (harmine and brevicolline) are found in some sedge species, which take part in controlling many processes in the body.

Medicinal properties

Due to the substances contained in the plant, sedge has a powerful bactericidal, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, enveloping, softening, expectorant, tonic, and also urine, bile and diaphoretic effects.

Very useful herb for the intestines, especially when constipation and abdominal distension (flatulence). The ability of the plant to normalize metabolic processes, purify the blood and remove bad cholesterol from the body, as well as various harmful substances, has been observed.

The Germans have long used decoctions from the rhizomes of plants with problems with digestion, as well as diseases of the lungs and bronchi. Bulgarians are treated with the same remedy for consumption and anemia. Due to the ability of the herb to establish metabolic processes, it is often used as a remedy for gout, and the expectorant properties of sedge make it used to relieve a prolonged dry cough.

Did you know? Before the invention of antibiotics, zemstvo doctors even treated syphilis with sedges. It has been observed that the sedge root acts on the causative agent of the disease in the same way as the root of the exotic plant Smilax (Sassaparille), brought to Europe from Peru by the Spanish conquistadors.

Thanks to coumarin and other active substances, the plant has a beneficial effect on the skin, and therefore is widely used to treat dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, depriving, as well as systemic lupus erythematosus.

We mentioned above that sedge is not used in official medicine, but this is not quite so. There is a single species of this plant, which is still recognized by pharmacologists. We are talking about sedge parva, in it chemists are interested in the alkaloid brevicollin, on the basis of which they prepare a drug used in gynecology for obstetric aid.


So, hardly finding use in modern official medicine, sedge is widely used by traditional healers.

In folk medicine

As always, herbal medicine is characterized by the fact that the same plant is used to treat a variety of ailments in nature.

In particular, decoction, infusion or tea from rhizomes of sedge herbalists are recommended for:

  • joint inflammation and gout (as you know, this pathological condition of tissues and joints occurs on the background of metabolic disorders, this is where sedge comes in handy at the time);
  • For the treatment of inflammation of the joints, they also use fir, cyclamen, wormwood, comfrey, yucca, wild rosemary, white cinquefoil, juniper, gentian.

  • cystitis, inflammation of the ureters, urolithiasis (if the condition of the patient is not critical, the diuretic properties of the plant really allow you to remove small stones and sand from the kidneys);
  • viral infections (some healers even instill instillation into the nose to stop the runny nose);
  • rheumatism (the causes of this disease have not yet been fully studied, but many scientists agree that pathogenic bacteria of the Streptococcus genus cause pathology, and, consequently, the bactericidal properties of sedge allow you to systematically deal with the disease);
  • bronchitis, pneumonia, tuberculosis, asthma, bronchospasm, whooping cough and other diseases accompanied by severe cough (the plant helps to alleviate the condition of the patient due to its expectorant properties, in addition, its healing effects help to suppress the development of inflammation and cause the effect of light anesthesia);
  • colitis, flatulence, constipation, intestinal and digestive disorders (in this case, the glycosides contained in the roots and "soft fiber" come into play);
  • vasculitis and other disorders of the vascular systemit is even argued that in the early stages, treatment of sedge can lead to full recovery, without the use of any additional measures;
  • skin diseases different nature (silicic acid in certain cases literally works wonders);
  • weight problems, and in both directions (normalization of metabolic processes in the body, blood purification, elimination of toxins, salts of heavy metals and bad cholesterol make it possible to cope with both obesity and excessive leanness);
  • thyroid dysfunction, neoplasm prevention;
  • anemia (iron contained in sedge provides improvement of the patient's condition);
  • weak immunity (sedge has a fortifying effect on the body, some herbalists even compare it with the famous Echinacea).

In cosmetology

Since the silicic acid contained in the rhizome of the sedge has an extremely beneficial effect on the hair and skin, this plant has also been used in cosmetology.

Important! Sedge oil is a rather expensive product; in particular, it is imported to our country from Egypt and Morocco. Based on it, they also prepare face and body creams, as well as depilation products. Such products are especially popular in the countries of the East.
This amazing product possesses a mass of exceptionally attractive qualities for the beautiful half of humanity (and not only!), in particular:

  • prevents hair loss and at the same time surprisingly stops their growth in unwanted places;
  • smoothes small wrinkles;
  • whitens the skin, removes age spots and makes freckles invisible. In addition, oil sedge is also used as a tool for healing wounds and ulcers, as well as resorption of tumors.

In the home first aid kit, decoctions and extracts of sedge are used to wash and rinse hair. The skin after the use of such funds becomes young and smooth, and hair - healthy and shiny.

Preparation of medical raw materials

As already mentioned, all the most valuable substances are not in the leaves, but in the rhizome of sedge, therefore, the underground part of the plant is used as a medical raw material.

There are two possible options for procurement - early spring, before the plant began active sap flow, either, on the contrary, in late autumnwhen the ground part completely faded.

Important! Re-digging sedge in the same place, in order to avoid causing irreparable harm to the population, is possible not earlier than two, and better - in three years.

Dug roots should be carefully removed from the ground, then cut into strips about 10 cm long and dried. For drying, special dryers are used, if they are not there - the harvested raw materials are simply laid out in one layer in a well-ventilated room (it is possible outdoors). Indicator of readiness is the appearance of fragility in dry rhizomes. After that, the raw materials are laid out in paper bags.

Important! If the root is not dried, it is affected by the mold during storage. In this case, the raw material, of course, becomes unsuitable for consumption and is subject to destruction.

Leaves are also used in the most valuable parva sedge. They are cut with sharp knives at the turn of spring and summer, dried in the open air with constant turning, then packed in bales and stored for 12 months. At the same time properly harvested roots can be stored three times longer!

Recipes of traditional medicine

The three main medicinal forms in which the plant is used are tea, decoction and infusion.

For tea Two teaspoons with a hill of crushed rhizomes need to be poured with a glass of water at room temperature, bring to a boil, cover and leave for 10 minutes. Then strain and drink 2-3 times a day.

As a long-term therapy, tea is used to restore metabolic processes and to treat diseases and pathologies caused by such disorders (for example, gout, overweight). An excellent general tonic is such tea for bronchitis, sore throats, respiratory viral infections.

Sedge decoction preparing for a slightly different technology. The same amount of raw material is poured not with cold water, but with boiling water, it languishes for 20 minutes on low heat, then the container is tightly wrapped and infused for several hours. The cooled broth is filtered. Take the tool you need 20 minutes before meals for a quarter cup 2-3 times a day.

Indications for the use of the broth are the same as tea. In addition to the expectorant and normalizing metabolism means, the tool is used for diseases of the stomach and intestines, as well as rhinitis, skin irritation, conjunctivitis and even as a hair rinse to get rid of dandruff.

For the preparation of infusion two full teaspoons of the crushed roots are poured with a glass of boiled water cooled to room temperature and, without heating, are left to infuse for 12 hours, then filter (or another option - pour 0.5 teaspoonful water of one teaspoon, but just boiled, insist a couple of hours and strain).

Take the same as broth, but a single dose can be increased to 100 ml. The second method of administration is in small doses, but often: two tablespoons every two hours. Indications - all the same: flatulence, constipation, skin problems, cough, etc.

For the treatment of rheumatism, a special recipe is recommended: pour a tablespoon of crushed roots with 0.5 liters of boiling water, wrap, insist two hours, drain. Take half a cup four times a day.

With various skin diseases, they help well. sedge baths. To do this, first preparing a decoction at the rate of three tablespoons of raw materials per liter of water. Sedge is poured with cold boiled water, brought to a boil, boiled for half an hour over low heat, filtered and immediately added to a pre-cooked bath.

Contraindications and harm

Of course, herbal medicine (treatment with medicinal herbs) has a number of advantages over official pharmacology.Plants act on the body more gently than chemistry, allow you to solve the problem in a complex, rather than a point, in most cases do not cause side effects.

But nevertheless, such therapy, especially when carried out on its own, without a prescription and not under its control, can lead to certain problems, because the mechanism of the “drug” effect is not completely understood. In order not to harm yourself, drugs based on sedge should not be abused without prior consultation:

  • pregnant women;
  • nursing mothers;
  • children under 14 years old.

Important! In some cases, sedge can cause allergies, so after starting therapy, you should ensure that there is no negative reaction.

Besides, reason to be especially careful is the presence in history:

  • gastritis;
  • peptic ulcer of the stomach or duodenum;
  • colitis;
  • diarrhea;
  • abdominal distention;
  • any problems with digestion, kidneys and bladder, especially in a state of aggravation.

Sedge is not a medicinal plant, despite this, has long occupied its personal niche in the arsenal of herbalists from around the world.With proper use, the plant can show its healing properties, but for the treatment of serious pathologies and severe ailments, it is better to consult a doctor.