Bryonia

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Bryonia

 

(bryony), a genus of monoecious or dioecious plants of the family Cucurbitaceae. The plants are perennial herbs with thickened tuberous roots and climbing stems. Simple tendrils attach the stems to a support. The leaves are five-angled, five-lobed, or deeply divided; sometimes the leaves are entire. The unisexual, regular flowers are greenish yellow and are borne in axillary inflorescences. The perianth is five-parted, and the corolla is almost rotate. The fruit is a spherical berry.

There are approximately ten species of Bryonia, distributed in Southern Europe, the Caucasus, Central and Southwest Asia, and North Africa. Four or five species are found in the USSR, in the Crimea, the Caucasus, and Middle Asia. The plants have both been imported and grow wild in the central and southern zones of the European USSR. They grow among shrubs, on the edge of forests, and along river valleys. The herbs also grow as weeds near dwellings.

The most common species are B. alba and B. dioica. B. alba is monoecious and has black fruit; B. dioica, a dioecious species, has red or yellow fruit. Both species are poisonous: they contain the glycosides bryonin and bryonidin. The roots are used as analgesic, styptic, expectorant, laxative, and wound-healing substances. The bryony is used to decorate balconies, summer houses, and walls.

REFERENCE

Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.

T. V. EGOROVA

References in periodicals archive ?
The adaptogenic effects of Schisandra chinensis were assessed together with the effects of the adaptogen Bryonia alba in a placebo controlled double blind study of several groups of athletes (Panossian 1999).
MyoMed provides pain relief through all-natural, toxin-free ingredients such as CFAs, Bryonia Alba, Rhus Toxicodendron, shark-liver oil and deodorized garlic oil (contains no methyl salicylate, trolamine salicylate, alcohol, dyes or paraben).
In that influenza pandemic, the two homeopathic medicines used in the most cases were Gelsemium, still a very common medicine prescribed in the first stage of influenza cases today, and Bryonia alba, most often given in the later, more respiratory stages of influenza.