Shiksha (crowberry): medicinal properties and contraindications, planting and care

Fruit and berry plants

Vodyanik (lat.Empetrum), or crowberry, or shiksha - a genus of low-growing, creeping evergreen shrubs of the Heather family with nondescript flowers and needle-like leaves that are widespread in the Northern Hemisphere and sometimes found in South America. Otherwise, this plant is called ordinary, berry or black dwarf birch, raven, lykha, veris, psycho, psycho berry, sixx, booze, bear berry, birch, black grass and pigeon.
In nature, crowberry grows in sphagnum bogs, in pine forests, in the tundra, on open sands and granite deposits in the mountains of the Alpine and subalpine belt.

Planting and caring for shiksha

  • Bloom: in April-May.
  • Landing: in early spring, before the start of sap flow.
  • Lighting: bright sunlight.
  • The soil: wet, loose, peaty or sandy, acidic.
  • Watering: infrequent: in the normal season, the plant has enough natural precipitation, and only in prolonged drought it needs to be watered abundantly.
  • Top dressing: once a season, in spring, with a solution of Nitroammofoska.
  • Cropping: for sanitary purposes in the spring, until the buds swell.
  • Reproduction: seeds and layering.
  • Pests and diseases: practically not affected.
  • Properties: is a medicinal plant.

Read more about growing shiksha below.

Botanical description

Crowberry berry is a creeping shrub no more than 20 cm high with shoots up to 100 cm long.In its characteristics, it resembles a lingonberry: it also grows in clumps, and the branches of the plant form adventitious roots, due to which the clump grows more and more, while in the middle of the bush, the branches gradually die off. The dark brown, strongly branching stems of the crowberry are densely covered with leathery alternate leaves, similar to spruce needles. Each leaf stays on the branch for about 5 years. The flowers of the plant are axillary, inconspicuous, with three purple, red or pink petals. In the middle lane, the bloom begins in April-May, and in Siberia - in May-June. The plant is pollinated by insects - butterflies, bees and flies. Crowberry fruits similar to blueberries - black spherical juicy berries up to 55 mm in diameter, sourish taste, with a bluish bloom and four seeds inside - begin to ripen in August and remain on the bushes all winter. The juice of the berries is purple. The thickets of plants are called black crows or bush.

The shiksha has one feature: it exists in symbiosis with a fungus that settles in its roots and provides the plant with photosynthetic products.

Planting and caring for shiksha

How to plant

In nature, crowberry most often grows in well-lit places, in moist peat or sandy soil of an acidic reaction. The plant does not tolerate stagnant water and too dense soils, therefore peat, sand and turf soil must be added to clay soil. They do it like this: the top layer of soil is removed, a layer of crushed stone with sand 10 cm thick is laid in the vacant place, and then the top layer of soil, mixed with the necessary additives, is put in place.

The planting depth of the crowberry is 40 cm. In a row, the seedlings are placed at a distance of 30-50 cm from each other. The curtains are planted in such a way that the root collar is deepened by 2 cm.After planting, the bed with a crowberry is watered.

How to care

In the first years of its life, the shiksha needs regular weeding, but as soon as it grows, it will be able to suppress any weed itself. To reduce the complexity of this procedure and prevent rapid evaporation of moisture from the soil, mulching the site with a five-centimeter layer of peat will help you. Since the plant does not tolerate excess moisture, the crowberry is rarely watered, only in dry weather.

Once during the season, the crowberry is fed with Nitroammofoska at the rate of 50 g of fertilizer per 1 m² of the garden. In the spring, pruning of shiksha is carried out, removing only dry and frozen shoots. Keep in mind that crowberry grows very slowly, so pruning should be done carefully. For the winter, the crow is not covered, since it is sufficiently winter-hardy and perfectly tolerates frosts under a snow cover. In a snowless winter, it is better to cover the site with spruce branches.

Shiksha collection and storage

For medicinal purposes, the ground part of the shiksha is used - branches with leaves and berries. The grass is harvested during flowering, and the berries are harvested after ripening. Cut the grass carefully so as not to disturb the roots. The raw materials are laid out in a thin layer in a shaded place for drying: not a drop of rain or sunlight should fall on it. You can dry shiksha in a well-ventilated dark room. From time to time, the grass should be agitated so that it dries evenly. Dry raw materials are laid out in fabric bags and stored in a dry, dark place for no more than two years.

Types and varieties of shiksha

There is no single approach to the classification of the genus: some scientists consider the genus to be monotypic, and the black crowberry, or black chokeberry, is the only species of the genus. Other botanists claim that the genus includes several species: shiksha bisexual, black, red, almost Holarctic. And the database The plant list contains information that there are only three species and 8 subspecies in the genus. Be that as it may, but only one species is grown in the culture.

Black crowberry (Empetrum nigrum)

Or chokeberry, she Siberian shiksha - an evergreen highly branched shrub 25 to 50 cm high with a cushion-shaped crown, growing in nature in peat bogs, and not at all because it needs high humidity. The leaves of the black shiksha are linear, up to 1 cm long, with the edges turned down, dark green above, and pubescent below with thick red pile. Flowers with three petals can be red, pink or deep red. Spherical black berries with a bluish bloom ripen in August-September. Black crowberry fruits are watery and tasteless. The species has two varieties - Asian and Japanese - and several decorative varieties:

  • Citronella - a plant with dense, shiny yellow-lemon foliage;
  • Emerald - a creeping plant with dark green leaves;
  • Bernstein - variety with yellowish leaves;
  • Lucia - yellow-leaved shiksha;
  • Ireland - a plant with dense, shiny green foliage on creeping branches.

Shiksha properties - harm and benefit

Healing properties

Crowberry contains saponins, flavonoids, tannins, alkaloids, fatty and essential oils, resins, coumarins, benzoic and acetic acids, fructose, anthocyanins, carotene, ascorbic acid, andromedotoxin, sugars and trace elements.

In folk medicine, crowberry is used in the form of infusions and decoctions as a remedy for headaches, scurvy, hypertension, epilepsy, as well as metabolic disorders, insomnia, depression, schizophrenia, dropsy, colitis, diarrhea, convulsions, paralysis, difficulty urinating, edema, chronic gastritis, anthrax, kidney and liver disease. It is used externally for rashes, wounds, acne and ulcers. A decoction of shiksha leaves is an excellent remedy for strengthening hair.

For those who have dry and watery eyes, the medicine will be an infusion of shiksha: 2 tablespoons of herbs are steamed in 1 liter of boiling water, cooled, filtered through 3-4 layers of gauze and dripped into the eyes every 2-3 hours.

For people with increased nervousness, this remedy will help: 2 tablespoons of grass steamed 500 ml of boiling water, heated over low heat for 5-7 minutes, removed from heat, wrapped and allowed to cool. After straining, take 3 tablespoons 4-5 times a day.


It is not recommended to eat berries and use plant preparations for pregnant and lactating women, as well as for those who have an individual intolerance to the product.


  1. Read the topic on Wikipedia
  2. Features and other plants of the family Heather
  3. List of all species on The Plant List
  4. More information on World Flora Online
  5. Information about Fruit Crops
  6. Information about Berry Crops

Sections: Fruit and berry plants Berry bushes Heather (Erik) Plants on V Plants on W


Dogwood (Cornus) is a member of the dogwood family. This genus unites about 50 species. Dogwood is often a deciduous tree or shrub, but in some cases it is a perennial herb or woody winter-green plant. This genus has 4 subgenus. The word kizil is borrowed from the Turkic language, and it is translated as "red", probably this plant was named after the color of the most common fruit species. Under natural conditions, such a plant can be found in Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia Minor, Japan, China and the Caucasus. People began to engage in the cultivation of dogwood since ancient times. So, the ancient Greeks and Romans selected the best types of dogwood for cultivation in gardens, and if you believe Virgil, then in this matter they achieved some success. In the middle latitudes, such a plant began to be cultivated in the 17th century, under Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich, who showed considerable interest in outlandish plants. At the same time, the dogwood, thanks to the very useful fruits from which decoctions were prepared in those days, aroused special interest in the king. The first people who settled in America used such a plant to cleanse their teeth, while the aborigines of this continent made arrows from it. Since dogwood has a high hardness, over time, handles for doors and hammers, tennis rackets and shuttles for weaving equipment began to be produced from it. There is information that the Holy Cross was also made from this plant. The Pacific dogwood flower is the official flower of British Columbia, a province in Canada. At the same time, the flowering dogwood tree is the official tree of such states of America as Virginia and Missouri.

Features of the Yoshta hybrid

The Yoshta hybrid is a sprawling, powerful shrub. The height of the stems of this perennial is about 150 cm and more. The depth of its root system is about 0.3–0.4 m. Despite the fact that gooseberries were used to create the yoshta, there are no thorns. The crown reaches 150-200 centimeters in diameter. Glossy large dark green leaf plates are similar in shape to currant foliage, but do not have its characteristic odor. The foliage does not fall off the plant until winter. The flowers are large and rich in color. Sweet-sour fruits have a black color with a purple tinge, they are outwardly similar to cherries. Fruits are collected in a cluster of 3-5 pieces. As a rule, fruiting begins when the plant is 2 years old.

Such a winter-hardy plant is resistant to pests and diseases. It can live 20-30 years. The relatives of this hybrid are not only black currants and gooseberries, but also white currants and red currants.

Horse chestnut: advice from deep antiquity

  • Horse chestnut bark is harvested in the spring from the branches, its decoction helps with increased acidity of the stomach and cough
  • The smell of chestnuts drives spiders out of the house, so if you make one beam in a house from chestnuts, then spiders will not start in it.
  • The juice squeezed from fresh horse chestnut flowers is used internally for the expansion of the veins in the legs
  • Cows and pigs are reluctant to eat the fruits of the horse chestnut, but gradually they get used to them and gain weight well
  • An alcoholic tincture of dried flowers of horse chestnut is rubbed into the skin for rheumatism and arthritis
  • Chestnut fruits need to be dried for at least a month.
  • Chestnut flour can be added to animal and bird feed
  • The leaves are harvested from May to September, their decoction strengthens the hair
  • Horse chestnut can be used to make paste
  • A decoction or infusion of plant parts is used as an astringent, wound healing and anti-burn agent.
  • Chestnut honey should be handy for sore throat treatment
  • Horse chestnut wood can be used to make furniture, door leaves and various crafts.

Biological description

Crowberry is a creeping shrub, whose height rarely exceeds 20 cm, and the length of the shoots can reach 100 cm.

It grows in spots - clumps, each of which is a single individual. The stem is dark brown in color, densely covered with leaves, at a young age covered with brownish hairs strongly branches, while the branches form adventitious roots. The curtain gradually takes up more and more space, while in its center the branches gradually die off. Occasionally there are vast thickets of crowberries - the so-called crows, or bobies.

Like some other representatives of the heather family, the crowberry cannot do without symbiosis with mushrooms: from them it receives some minerals, in return supplying them with products of photosynthesis.

Twigs, up to 1 m long, are mostly hidden in a moss cushion, covered with dotted glands of white or amber color.

The leaves are alternate, small, with very short petioles, narrowly elliptical, 3-10 mm long. The edges of the leaf are bent down and almost closed, because of this, the leaves look like needles, and the plant itself looks like a dwarf Christmas tree. Each leaf stays on the branch for up to five years.

Crowberry black berries. Tatras.

Plants are monoecious or dioecious. The flowers are axillary, inconspicuous with a double actinomorphic perianth, with three pink, red or purple petals and three sepals, single or in a group of two or three pieces. Stamen flowers have three stamens. The stigma is radiant, the ovary is superior, it has 6 to 12 nests. In the conditions of the European part of Russia, crowberry blooms in April - May, in Siberia - in May - June. Pollination - with the help of insects: Crowberry flowers are visited by butterflies, flies and bees.

The fruit is a black (with a bluish bloom) or red berry up to 5 mm in diameter with a hard skin and hard seeds, outwardly similar to a blueberry berry. Ripens in August. The juice is purple in color. The berries remain on the shoots until spring.

Procurement and storage

Shiksha uses leaves, twigs and berries as a medicinal raw material. The berries are picked after they are fully ripe. During the flowering period of the culture, the grass is harvested. Since the horse system of the plant is weak, you should carefully cut off the shoots with scissors, in no case pulling them out of the ground.

After collecting the grass, it is necessary to dry it. Now this process is easy to perform in specialized dryers, but you can also use a more reliable method - dry the grass in a ventilated and dark room so that the sun's rays do not fall on the plant.

It is also necessary to withstand this so that the room is not damp, otherwise the grass will begin to rot. It is laid out in a thin layer to ensure complete drying. It is recommended to store in bags made of material, and this should not be done in plastic bags, otherwise the grass will no longer "breathe" freely. The shelf life should not exceed 2 years.

When the fruit of the juniper is harvested

Pine berries begin to be harvested from the first days of September., when the berries are fully ripe and contain the greatest amount of nutrients, and are harvested until the end of October. As mentioned above, ripe buds are dark in color.

Before collecting these medicinal fruits, you should completely make sure that it is indeed a juniper bush of a species acceptable for medical use, since a mistake can lead to serious consequences. Therefore, the collection should be carried out in those places where this plant culture actually grows.

Read in which forests and regions of Russia the juniper grows.

Berries can be harvested not only from common juniper, but also from prickly juniper (red). In the latter species, ripe berries are red-brown in color and can be used in medicine, as they have diuretic properties.

But berries from Cossack juniper are better not to collect, since they contain the toxic substance sabinol. This evergreen shrub with dark cones is similar to the permitted varieties. It can be confused with an ordinary look.

Watch the video: Top 20 Herbs u0026 their Medicinal Properties - Health Benefits

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