In 1928, thanks to the research of Alexander Fleming, the world became aware of antibiotics. At the same time, Boris Petrovich Tokin made the discovery of natural substances that suppress the growth of many pathogens, which were later called “phytoncides”.
The role of natural antibiotics in nature
The role of plants in the formation of oxygen and the absorption of carbon dioxide is well known. Less well known is the fact that any representatives of the kingdom of Flora emit volatile or non-volatile phytoncides, but the effect on one or another type of microorganism is different.
The immunity of trees and shrubs to a particular disease is provided by the formation of these substances.
Biologists have noticed the influence of substances secreted by some representatives on stimulating or inhibiting the vital activity of others, even those located at some distance. Vegetable growers will never plant tomatoes with potatoes or melons with cucumbers next to each other, but melon will get along well with radishes, and potatoes with beans. An apple tree gets along well with a pear, but a good neighborhood will not work with a cherry.
When it enters the lungs of a person, together with the inhaled air, natural antibiotics neutralize viruses, bacteria and fungi.
Oxygen ionization is also provided, as a result of which its biological activity increases.
Among volatile and non-volatile compounds, several types can be distinguished:
- Bactericidal – suppression of the growth of pathogenic cells;
- Fungicidal – the fight against fungal diseases;
- Protistocidal – the destruction of the simplest unicellular organisms that cause malaria, dysentery and other ailments;
- Compounds toxic to ticks, insects;
- Substances that stimulate or inhibit the development of other plants, bacteria.
Factors affecting the activity of phytoncides
During the daytime, several times more volatile ethers are released than in the early morning or evening. In homogeneous forests (pine, birch) their activity is higher than in mixed ones; in the shade and under conditions of high humidity, it is lower than in the sun on a hot day, and in the summer forest the content is much higher than in the winter.
It is not at all necessary that volatile substances are emitted by cultures with a strong odor. Their production is possible without the presence of essential oils (for example, crushed oak leaves, plantain and nettle).
Properties of coniferous trees
The most popular types of trees that release useful esters are conifers, the leader of which is juniper. Asthma sufferers will feel better due to the anti-allergic effect of this herb.
Spruce, pine, fir, cedar – these coniferous trees contribute to the cure for SARS, and also have a beneficial effect on the nervous system. Probably for this reason, residents of mountainous regions suffer less from nervous and mental disorders, which is directly related to longevity.
It must be remembered that pine effectively fights Koch’s bacillus, which causes tuberculosis, but at the same time increases blood pressure, so it is better for hypertensive patients to avoid a long stay in a pine forest. Bacilli of diphtheria, whooping cough and even Staphylococcus aureus die near the presence of arborvitae and fir. Any coniferous trees increase the antibacterial protection of the skin and immunity.
Properties of deciduous trees
Deciduous trees also release biologically active substances, but in smaller quantities. For example, oak has the ability to lower blood pressure, but poplar, on the contrary, constricts blood vessels, which increases blood pressure.
An extremely positive effect on the respiratory system is stimulation with birch and linden phytoncides, which expand the bronchi and act sedatively for the nervous system. Linden blossom is an excellent remedy for headaches, colds, and fever. Bird cherry phytoncides contain hydrocyanic acid, under the influence of which the protozoa die within 5 minutes, and ticks – 15 minutes. It has even been noticed that if you leave a bouquet of bird cherry in the bedroom, you can get a slight poisoning and wake up with a headache in the morning.
One of the most well-known expectorants are herbal preparations based on wild rosemary, used even against the strongest suffocating cough in whooping cough. Bronchitis and bronchial asthma can also be treated with infusion of this plant.
Lingonberries and cranberries are widely used to treat diseases of the genitourinary system. Fruit drinks from these berries have a diuretic effect, create an acidic environment in the bladder and kidneys, which prevents the growth of bacteria. Lingonberries and cranberries are rich in vitamins, their regular consumption helps to strengthen the immune system.
To strengthen the heart and blood vessels, the properties of hawthorn are used, which has a vasodilating effect and is able to calm the nervous system without a sedative effect.
In the treatment of natural remedies, infusions of the bark, leaves, fruits and inflorescences of elderberry are actively used. Angina and colds are treated with decoctions of elderberry, lotions and baths are used against rheumatism, arthritis, burns, boils. Elderberry jelly has a good laxative effect.
Barberry is considered a plant that prolongs youth. The juice from its berries is able to stop bleeding, reduce the temperature. Barberry is useful in diseases of the liver (stones in the gallbladder, cholecystitis, hepatitis).
Decoctions and infusions of lilacs help fight diseases of the respiratory system (pneumonia, tuberculosis, bronchial asthma), diabetes, stomach ulcers. Lilac baths and lotions are useful for bruises, rheumatism, and purulent ulcers.
Infusions of volatile herbs are used not only externally, but also for oral administration.
The most famous herbs used in the treatment of colds are calendula, thyme, sage, oregano and elecampane. All of them are used as antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agents. Calendula also has a wound healing and analgesic effect, oregano and thyme – expectorant, sage – anticonvulsant and vasodilator, elecampane – anthelmintic.
For problems with the urinary system, herbs are used, the phytoncides of which are not destroyed until excreted from the body: St. John’s wort, kidney tea, cornflower, bearberry.
In the treatment of diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, chamomile, wormwood, plantain, cumin, sage are used.
Skin ailments are cured by the external use of string, calendula, celandine.
Properties of indoor plants
More than half of the day a person usually spends at home, including night sleep. It is important that the microclimate in the apartment is as harmless as possible, which can be achieved …