There are over five hundred botanical species that belong to the polygala, a medicinal herbaceous plant that bears the scientific name of Polygala and belongs to the family of Polygalaceae. This name takes us back in time and if you want to know its origins it is necessary to dust off an ancient legend that tells that this botanical species was able to stimulate the production of milk in cows. Indeed "Polygala", in Greek, it really means 'a lot of milk'.
Today, even if the legend is very ancient, it survives, there are still those who believe and say that the Polygala with pregnant women, with the belief that it can stimulate the secretion of milk in abundance. In Italy it is very easy to meet it, in any region of our peninsula but its origins are tropical. Today, as well as in Italy, it is widespread in the northern area of the northern hemisphere, especially near woods or where there are large sunny meadows.
There Polygala it is almost always used for ornamental purposes and in this case it remains modest in size, it does not exceed two meters in height and three meters in width. Then we find some species that can be grown for phytotherapeutic use, especially as a natural remedy against cough and bronchitis.
This shrub has a very dignified posture, has many branches but does not look confused or scrambled. It is light and fills with leaves and flowers as soon as winter ends, the color of the flowers can change, in most cases it is the White but it can also be purple or pink.
Myrtifolia is one of the species of Polygala which are more suitable for decorating the garden and is quite convenient as an ornamental shrub because it is easy to grow and blooms all year round, being moreover evergreen. Its flowers can be purple, pink or white.
It does not take up a lot of space and can be placed in various points, a bit interlocking. The important thing is to be careful that it can enjoy plenty of light and even sunshine, not necessarily direct even if there is Myrtifolia it also resists well to the high temperatures of the summer period and also adapts to periods of drought. The real problem is the winters and their harsh temperatures from which it must be protected, inside a greenhouse or in our own apartment. With regular and constant watering throughout the period of vegetative activity with particular attention to water stagnation which can lead to root rot.
Taking care of this plant doesn't waste too much time because it should not be pruned or maintained in a particular way. What is important is that it is well cleaned at the end of the spring season, eliminating damaged inflorescences. However, if you want to give an aesthetically original appearance to this bush it is possible to prune it to our liking, perhaps by shortening the branches, which also helps the shoots to grow more numerous.
We have seen the Myrtifolia, for decorative use, and now we change species. Let's talk about the Vulgaris, plant mainly used for therapeutic use thanks to its properties. It contains important constituents, such as saponins, tannins, flavonoids, resin and carbohydrates that make it useful for our health, through phytotherapeutic remedies. All parts of this plant can be used, so we can subject them to drying.
Among the properties that we can associate with Polygala here are the best known and most important: diuretic, laxative, emollient, expectorant, tonic and antirheumatic attributed to the plant. It could also have galactogogic properties but it is not official, at the moment it is talked about at the level of popular belief and so it remains until there is scientific evidence that will prove its effectiveness. In phytotherapy, the Poligala is used above all to relieve respiratory disorders, therefore to treat very common ailments such as cough, asthma, bronchitis and lung diseases.
When we take it we must pay close attention to the doses because if they are excessive they can cause us to vomit, linked to its emetic properties. To prepare a decoction with this plant you can boil 30 grams of roots in 1 liter of water for a few minutes.
In some cough syrups it is possible to find the extract of this plant which, among others, also boasts expectorant properties. It is perfect when used in combination with extracts of other plants such as anti-inflammatory action, such as plantain. The merit of Polygala is to increase the secretion of fluid bronchial mucus so it allows us to expel it with a few coughs.
Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea are among the most frequent side effects associated with the use of Polygala in excessive doses. This plant is not recommended for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, to patients suffering from gastritis and peptic ulcer or to those who have a known hypersensitivity to one or more components of the plant. In general, it is better not to take this plant completely independently but to talk to a doctor.
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