Water chestnut (chilim, rogulnik)
Few people know that nuts grow not only in the ground or in trees, but also in water. On the surface of quiet freshwater reservoirs you can see the tracery rosette of leaves. This is a water chestnut, or chilim. This plant belongs to the Rogulnikov family and at the beginning of the last century was very common. Now Chilim is listed in the Red Book. And the plant is very ancient, traces of it were found on the excavations of the interglacial period.
Archaeologists believe that in antiquity, water chestnut (chilim) was one of the staple foods. After all, many of its shells were found at the sites of the Stone Age. This nut was also very popular in Russia: in the 10th century it was sold in bags.
What is a water chestnut
A photo of this plant shows how unusual it is. The flexible long stem is held at the bottom with the help of last year's nuts or thin brown roots. Sometimes a plant that reaches a length of up to five meters floats in the water column. On the surface only an open rosette of leaves is visible.
They look a bit like birch trees and are unequally attached to the stalk, forming a beautiful pattern. During flowering tender white flowers appear.Fruit is water nut itself. It is a juicy white seed about two centimeters in size. It is enclosed in a very strong brown shell with four growths that look like horns. Therefore, the plant is sometimes referred to as "floating rogulnik." The unusualness of this plant is that it is retained on the surface of the water with the help of cavities filled with air. They are located in the petioles. When nuts are ripened, the cavities increase to keep them heavy.
As chilim grows
Lying at the bottom of the nuts are fixed with their horns and are able to survive until forty years. When it germinates, the root first appears. It grows vertically upwards, and then in an arc falls to the bottom and takes root. The shell rises and disappears with time. Leaves appear on the stem, and in summer the plant blooms. Flowers emerge from the water only in the morning and in the evening, even the plant in its thickness is pollinated. A fruit that ripens in the fall is a drupe. Usually, 10-15 nuts appear on a single plant. At this time, the Chilim comes off the bottom, and the rosette of leaves floats on water, and clusters of nuts hang from it.Over time, the leaves and stem will rot, and the nuts will sink to the bottom.
Where watermelon is common
Chilim likes calm water and muddy bottom. Therefore, it is found in lakes, ponds, oxbows, and quiet backwaters, creating thickets in favorable conditions. Even 60 years ago, Chilim was distributed in the basins of many rivers. He grew up in the Caucasus, in Kazakhstan and in the south of Siberia. In the European part of Russia, he met almost the entire territory before Kaliningrad. And in the vicinity of the city of Murom there is even Lake Orekhovoe. This plant was called differently: rogulnik, water chestnut, chilim, water chestnut. The Red Book, where it fell at the end of the last century, ranks it among endangered species.
True, in some countries, Chilim, on the contrary, is growing strongly: in Japan and China it is specially grown in lakes, it was brought to North America, where it settled down well, and in Australia some water bodies are completely overgrown with shoots. Why does the floating water nut disappear in many countries? First of all, because of the appearance of reservoirs that have disturbed its natural habitat. In addition, Chilim spreads, clinging to the horns of animal hair coming to the watering place.And because of the economic activity of man, they became smaller. In Russia, there are about 30 species of this plant. The most unusual is the water chestnut.Maksimovich with small fruits and without thorns and Siberian, the scope of the "horns" which is up to 6 centimeters.
Is it possible to grow chilim
If you have the opportunity to collect the ripe fruits of the water nut, you can dilute it. For this we need a not very deep body of water, but not freezing in winter. An important condition for the good development of the plant is the absence of large mollusks. For Chilim, a thick layer of fertile soil is desirable, but you can grow it in a container.
It is necessary to fill it with silt and drown. Perezimovat nut can at home in the refrigerator in a jar of water. In the spring, the fruits are placed in containers with sludge and sunk to a depth of 10-15 centimeters in a place warmed by the sun. The water nut grows when the water warms up to 25 °. If you grow a nut in shallow water, then after the appearance of several floating leaves you need to move it to a depth of at least one meter.
Structure and properties of a plant
The water nut very often saved people in the hungry years, because it has high nutritional properties.In addition, it is not only tasty, but also very useful, therefore it is used to treat many diseases, not only in folk but also in official medicine - the drug Tripazid is used from it, which is used in atherosclerosis. The nutritional properties of chilim are explained by the fact that it contains many vitamins, nitrogenous and phenolic compounds, tannins. Fruits are 50% starchy, in addition, they have protein, some fat and carbohydrates. Of the mineral salts, water chestnut contains phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and iron.
How to eat chili
Water chestnut can be consumed in any form. It is tasty raw - it is added to salads or eaten so. Flour, made from milled grains, goes for baking bread, which is similar in taste to wheat.
Chilima is also made for cereal porridge, is added to the pastry, canned, boiled, fried or baked, In any form, it is tasty. In the East, such a chilim dish is popular: it is fried and salted. They eat like our seeds. Store the nut in a cool place and best of all unpeeled. After removing the shell, fruits lose their taste after a couple of days.
The use of chilim in medicine
All parts of the plant are used for treatment, but most often the nuts themselves. The fruits of water chestnut possess tonic, astringent, choleretic and diuretic properties. Therefore, it is used to treat kidney disease and diarrhea. Even in ancient times, healers noticed the ability of Chilim to restore human strength after serious illnesses. It also has a strong antiseptic and antiviral effect. People who eat these nuts often don’t get sick with colds. Chilim helps to recover from stress and get out of depression, it is used for gonorrhea, impotence, and even malignant tumors. Often fresh juice is taken orally for various eye diseases. He also relieves itching and swelling after snake and insect bites.
1. Infusion of a water nut is prepared like this: a tablespoon of dried flowers and leaves of the plant is poured with a glass of hot water and left in a water bath for 15 minutes. After infusion for an hour, the infusion must be drained. It is used in or out for compresses and washes. For external use, you can make a more concentrated infusion, adding more herbs.
2Chilim juice is also often used. Squeeze it out of the whole plant and diluted with cold boiled water. For ingestion, the proportions should be 1 to 10, and for outdoor should be 1 to 3. It is most often drunk with eye diseases of 30-40 drops several times a day. A concentrated juice is good for herpes.
3. Baked or scalded nuts are also used for treatment. Several of these fruits, taken every hour, help with diarrhea. A plate cut from the middle of the nut effectively relieves toothache and swelling with flux.