Chamaenerion angustifolium

Chamaenerion angustifolium

The fireweed (Chamaenerion angustifolium (L.) Scop.) Is a herbaceous species belonging to the Onagraceae family.

Systematics –
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
Domain Eukaryota,
Kingdom Plantae,
Subarign Tracheobionta,
Spermatophyta superdivision,
Division Magnoliophyta,
Class Magnoliopsida,
Subclass Rosidae,
Order Myrtales,
Family Onagraceae,
Genus Chamaenerion,
C. angustifolium species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Epilobium angustifolium L .;
– Chamaerion angustifolium (L.) Holub;
– Epilobium spicatum Lam ..
Within this species, two subspecies are recognized:
– Chamaenerion angustifolium subsp. angustifolium;
– Chamaenerion angustifolium subsp. circumvagum (Mosquin) Hoch.

Etymology –
The term Chamaenerion comes from the Greek prefix χᾰμαι- chamai- on the ground, creeping, low and from the genus Nerium (see) oleander: reminiscent of a small oleander.
The specific epithet angustifolium veien from narrow, narrow angustus and from folium leaf, lamella: with narrow or small leaves (or leaflets).

Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
The fireweed is a plant widespread in the more frequently mountainous temperate zones (over 1000 m) of the northern hemisphere.
In Italy it is present in all regions but is more common in the Alps.
Its growth habitat is that of woods, gravelly, cool and humid places.

Description –
Chamaenerion angustifolium is a herbaceous plant with an erect stem up to 1.50-2 meters high.
It has a very branched rhizome.
The leaves are lanceolate with alternate, whole, and lanceolate fillotassi.
The flowers have a diameter of 2–3 cm, with four magenta to pink petals and four narrower pink sepals. The style ends with four stigmas.
The flowers are grouped in an inflorescence which is a symmetrical terminal raceme that blooms progressively from the bottom up, producing a tapered pyramidal shape.
The antesis is between July and August.
The fruits are loculicidal capsules, 40-80 x 4 mm, linear, more or less tetragonal, with little marked nerves and close hairs. Numerous seeds, obovoid or fusiform, smooth, brown, 1-1.3 x 0.32-0.4 mm, with a plume of hairs at the apex, to favor the dispersion by the wind.

Cultivation –
The narrow-leaved Camenerio is a plant that grows in nature in stony, gravelly areas, often on the banks of waterways, as well as on debris and rubble, but also accepts medium-deep soils, often on siliceous soils.
It is a hygrophilous and very frugal species.
In mountainous areas it is one of the most abundant plants after forest fires.

Customs and Traditions –
Chamaenerion angustifolium is a medicinal and medicinal herb with interesting properties in both the herbal and cosmetic fields.
This plant is used for external use with refreshing, emollient and astringent properties. Useful in gargling to promote the well-being of the oral cavity and in cosmetic preparations for sensitive and delicate skin.
The plant is used in the function of the prostate, for the welfare of the urinary tract and in diarrheal states.
In the northern European countries, young shoots or the marrow of cooked or raw stems are consumed. Because of their pleasant and sugary taste, the flowers can be used to make tea replacement drinks.
In general, the main therapeutic and beneficial properties of this plant are:
– anti-inflammatory;
– soothing;
– intestinal astringent;
– expectorant.
The main components include flavonoids, tannins, triterpene acids, mucilages and sugars.
Furthermore, Chamaenerion angustifolium is a melliferous plant and is foraged by bees; the plant is widespread and is often found in mountain honey, but it is not possible to obtain the monofloral one.

Preparation method –
Of the fireweed, the flowery aerial part is used, which is collected at the beginning of flowering. Moreover, young leaves and shoots are edible both raw and cooked.
Among its forms of use are:
– Herbal tea: for preparation, you need to put 1 tablespoon of dry herb in a cup of hot water and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes. Filter and drink 2-3 cups a day;
– Mother Tincture (Hydroalcoholic Solution): 60 drops, 2 times a day preferably between meals, dissolved in a little water.
It can also be found on the market in tablets or capsules.

Guido Bissanti

Sources
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora d’Italia, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. La Salute dal Farmacia del Lord, Tips ed experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.

Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.




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