Pests and plant diseases

Sphagnum moss: description, useful properties and application


Sphagnum - this moss is far from the most common, and therefore deserving close attention and careful study. Among the rest of the forest vegetation, he stands out with a whole bunch of truly remarkable qualities. Sphagnum is a swamp moss, however, to be precise, the plant does not just settle in wetlands, but it is what creates them. In addition, peat reserves are formed from it. Today, moss-sphagnum, thanks to its unique abilities, is actively used in medicine.

Moss-sphagnum: description and composition

White, peat moss - this is also popularly called sphagnum. It is a small herbaceous marsh plant, which is united under the common generic name - Sphagnum and belongs to the Sphagnaceae family of sphagnum or peat mosses. Science knows many different types of sphagnum, differing in the structure of the stems and leaves, as well as in size, color and habitat. If you are interested in the question of where to get the sphagnum moss, then go to the swamp, where it forms a continuous shaky carpet called turf.

Let's look at how sphagnum peat is formed and what it is. Sphagous turf is met not only in the swamps, but also on the lakes. Here she swims peacefully on the surface of the water. Turf consists of many small specimens of sphagnum, which grow new tops each year, while their lower part dies off and, falling to the bottom, over time forms peat deposits. This uncomplicated way and the formation of swamps.

Sphagnum has branched stems. The branches of the plant are strongly crowded at the top, but, due to the strong stretching of the internodes, as they grow, they begin to move away from each other, due to which their branches turn in different directions. As the moss matures, cavities form in the old parts of its stem.

The bark of the stalks of sphagnum consists of several layers of cells of large size, which are devoid of plasma and its inclusions, so that they are able to accumulate water like a sponge, and then hold it for a long time.

This species of moss has sessile leaves, which are widely attached to its stems and look very similar to tongues. The leaves are divided into oblong, large and solitary. The leaves growing on the branches of moss, narrow, have a slightly elongated shape and a tiled arrangement. And growing on the tops of the branches of their heads are bent. By the way, all types of moss leaves have hollow cells that can accumulate water.

More than 300 different species of sphagnum moss are known in the world, with 40 of them living in northern Russia, forming sphagnum swamps there. Sphagnum predominantly grows in forest areas and the tundra of the northern hemisphere. In the southern hemisphere, moss is found high in the mountains and very rarely in temperate climatic zones on the plains.

Sphagnum multiplies by spores or offspring, and the second method is more common: every year one of the branches begins to develop more intensively and reaches the size of the mother plant, as a result of which it is somewhat removed from the bush and becomes an independent plant.

What substances contains sphagnum:

  • cellulose,
  • triterpenes,
  • sphagnol,
  • coumarins
  • Sahara,
  • pectins,
  • phenolic acids
  • tar,
  • mineral salts.
Moss-sphagnum contains a phenol-like substance - sphagnol, which has a pronounced antiseptic effect. It is due to the high content of sphagnol that this plant does not decompose even after a long stay in a wet environment, which contributes to the formation of huge peat deposits.

What is useful moss-sphagnum, the use of therapeutic properties

Today, sphagnum has found its widespread use in both traditional and traditional medicine. Sphagnum has unique healing properties.

A careful study of the plant confirmed that the sphagnum moss has excellent bactericidal properties due to the presence of coumarins, sphagnol and organic acids in its composition. In addition, we managed to find out that he has a pronounced antifungal effect. Due to this, sphagnum moss has found its use in the treatment of purulent wounds, as well as other traumatic injuries of the skin. It is used as a substrate for immobilization of fractures under extreme conditions.

Sphagnum has three very important qualities in medicine:

  • high hygroscopicity
  • excellent breathability,
  • antibacterial and antifungal effects.

Sphagnum has invaluable healing properties, which are widely used in his practice by traditional healers and herbalists.

Below we consider the diseases in which sphagnum helps and how to use it correctly.

Prevention of pressure sores. The hygroscopic and bactericidal properties of sphagnum are involved here. Moss has long been used to equip bedding for bedridden people, which prevents the appearance of pressure sores and unpleasant odor, as it perfectly absorbs sweat and has a powerful bactericidal effect.

Treatment of osteochondrosis, rheumatism and radiculitis. Dry moss brewed with boiling water in a ratio of 1:10 and insist until cool, then filtered and poured into the bathroom, diluted with warm water. They take a bath with a decoction for not more than 40 minutes, after which all the affected joints are rubbed with any warming ointment, they are wrapped and go to bed. Sometimes, to relieve inflammation from one or several joints, moss compresses are placed on them. To prepare the compress, you must take a tablespoon of sphagnum and pour half a liter of boiling water, let it stand. After that, the moss should be filtered and applied to the affected joints moistened with decoction bandages.

With colitis and enterocolitis It is recommended to take a teaspoon of crushed dry sphagnum 30 minutes before meals.

For prophylaxis ARI, ARVI and flu It is recommended to wash infusion of sphagnum, rinse their throats and rinse the nasal passages.

The use of sphagnum to produce alcohol

Sphagnum peat is the richest source of various chemical products. From it receive medical, wine and wood alcohol, bitumen, fodder yeast and humic acids.

For the preparation of alcohol, young moss peat is taken, which is transferred into sugar by means of sulfuric acid under pressure in an autoclave. Then the resulting sugary solutions are fermented with yeast for alcohol. And according to Professor Moser, out of 100 pounds of peat, you can get from 5 to 6 buckets of 90-degree alcohol.

Bactericidal properties of cuts and burns

Such beneficial properties of sphagnum moss, such as high hygroscopicity and bactericidal activity, make it possible to actively use it in the treatment of wounds as a drug with a pronounced antibacterial effect.

The use of sphagnum moss is advisable when:

  • fractures as a bactericidal and hygroscopic pad between the body and the immobilizing tire,
  • superficial skin injuries such as frostbite, cuts and burns.

How is sphagnum moss used in dermatological diseases

Moss-sphagnum can bring great benefits in the treatment of dermatological diseases. It is often used to treat nail fungus. To defeat the disease, insoles made of dried moss are put into the shoes, which are not removed throughout the day.

It goes without saying that the moss should be in contact with the site of infection, and therefore you can simply put a piece of the plant in the sock.

Sphagnum also helps to get rid of psoriasis, for this you should take a bath with infusion of this plant. To prepare the drug, moss is poured with hot water, infused and added when taking baths.

Sphagnum moss, how to prepare a medicinal plant

Moss-sphagnum can be found in various places, but the most reliable to collect one that grows in the marshes. To stock up on medicinal raw materials, you should follow simple rules.

When collecting moss just neatly cut with a knife or scissors top green part of the plant. When you come home to destroy all insect larvae, pour hot water over the collected moss.

To dry the plant should be in the shade, in a well-ventilated place. Do not use electric dryers, as the drying of this plant in them is very uneven.

After the moss is completely dry, fold it into paper or cloth bags and store it in a dark place.

Moss-sphagnum: whether there are contraindications

If you are interested in the question of whether the moss is harmful to humans, then be sure that this is the safest plant. Despite a careful study of sphagnum, scientists have not been able to identify any contraindications. The only thing to fear when using this plant is the individual intolerance of its components.

Sphagnum moss is a priceless gift of the forest, which, if used correctly, will help to preserve human health and prolong life.

Plant description

Sphagnum is a swamp moss belonging to the Sphagnous family, which has excellent tolerance to adverse conditions of the marshland. You can meet him almost everywhere: on tree trunks, stones, metal and even glass. Peat moss is a perennial, not having roots. The lower part of the branched stalk gradually dies off, and the twigs are covered with small foliage growing in a spiral.

The development cycle of sphagnum is almost similar to other species. The formation of germ cells occurs on the gametophyte plant. The sporogon takes the place of the egg after the fusion of gametes, in the box of which spores develop, giving rise after maturation new gametophyte. Only its upper part develops, moving all the time to the light, while the lower one constantly dies off, the Upper is baptized in green, and the submerged area is whitish.

In periods of high humidity, sphagnum can absorb moisture up to 20 times its own weight. He owes this ability its name: in Greek, the meaning of the word sphagnum is a sponge. The temperate habitat and the northern hemisphere are considered to be the habitat, sometimes also found in the subtropics.

Beneficial features

According to experts of the medical field, sphagnum moss has very important elements in its composition, which provide the plant with medicinal properties. Peat moss consists of the following components:

  • triterpene compounds
  • phenol-like substances
  • Sahara,
  • tar,
  • pectin elements
  • mineral salts,
  • cellulose,
  • coumarins.

The above components allow sphagnum to provide the following effect:

  1. accelerate the healing of sliced, open and purulent wounds,
  2. act as an antiseptic dressing material for which sterilization is not required,
  3. have antibacterial properties that allow the use of sphagnum to fight skin and nail fungus,
  4. to cope with increased perspiration, fungal diseases of the skin and nail plates using baths with decoction of plants,
  5. help eliminate staphylococcal wounds, using water after squeezing moss,
  6. heal skin diseases and irritations, including psoriasis.

In folk medicine

There are a number of recipes for obtaining a successful result from sphagnum treatment:

  • Powder. Used to treat both open and purulent wounds. For the preparation of such a means, dried moss is well triturated to obtain a powdered mass. Method of application: powder the wound, and after 5 minutes, rinse well with water, wrap.
  • Tincture. It is used to heal the skin and nail plates from the fungus. To prepare 100 g of moss placed in a glass of alcohol 70%. The mixture is infused for several hours, after which the sphagnum is superimposed on the affected areas and fixed with a bandage.
  • Collection The purpose of its use is the treatment of such dermatological diseasesas eczema, dermatitis. In order to prepare the collection, dry sphagnum, verbena, dried lady, gravel, clover, primrose, rose petals, rhizome of calgan and sedge are mixed in equal parts. 10 g of the mixture are placed in a glass container, where they are re-mixed, and poured with half liter of boiling water. After several hours of infusion of the decoction, it is ready for use. The infusion is applied externally by adding to a warm bath for bathing or wetting a fabric towel applied to the affected areas.
  • Ointment. It is able to heal wounds and skin inflammations rapidly. The method of preparation consists in mixing dry moss with petroleum jelly in equal parts. The finished ointment can also be applied to the nail plate to destroy the fungus.
  • Sphagnum decoction for baths. The main diagnosis for use is joint pain. For cooking in a bucket of cool water half a kilogram of moss is placed. The container is placed on a low-intensity fire, where it is brought to a boil. 10 minutes after boiling the stove turns off. After waiting for complete cooling, the broth is poured into a warm bath, which should be taken about half an hour.

In construction

Sphagnum, which has unique qualities, was used in construction. It is a well-known truth that when a wooden house is built, it requires laying insulation between logs. Currently, there is no shortage of insulation materials: in construction hypermarkets and in the markets there is a huge range of synthetic insulation, depending on financial possibilities.

However, if the future owner wants to get a durable construction - whether it is a house or a bath, it is better to use moss. The bactericidal properties of moss will extend lifetime cut down and not start him rot. In the case of a bath, the basic value is given to the hygroscopic qualities of sphagnum, which will make it possible to smooth out moisture drops. Accordingly, the bath will delight their owners for much longer.

In floriculture and gardening

Cottage owners are familiar with it as a fertilizer or covering material of plants in the winter. And also they often fill cups for forcing seedlings. Moss is very widely used in floriculture:

  1. Possessing bactericidal properties, it is used for the cultivation of young specimens and the rescue of diseased plants.
  2. Due to its hygroscopicity, which allows it to retain moisture, it is popular as a constituent ingredient of various substrates.
  3. Widely used in the care of orchids.

Method of application of sphagnum moss when breeding orchids:

  • Sphagnum is scalded with hot water, cooled and wrung out.
  • Preparing an aqueous solution with mineral fertilizer, which spills moss.
  • Then it is slightly wrung out again and kept in a plastic bag for 4 days.

Moss prepared this way is used for now. orchid roots not reach 7 cm: the plant is transplanted into a freshly made sphagnum with an interval of 2 months. After reaching the root system of the required size, the orchid is transplanted into a special substrate.

In beekeeping and animal husbandry

Moss with its unique qualities may also interest beekeepers. For example, both for the house of a person and for the abode of bees, an excellent insulation is obtained from pressed dry sphagnum. In order to prevent bees from freezing with the onset of frost, hives are insulated with sphagnum. And to maintain a constant level of humidity inside the bee house, the moss is placed under the hive, where it absorbs excess moisture and, thanks to its antibacterial qualities, disinfects the space, avoiding the occurrence of various diseases in bees. With an increase in the dryness of the air masses, it will begin to return moisture, allowing honey in honeycombs not to be sugared.

Sphagnum moss is good for home dwellings. For example, it can be found in cages where rats, hamsters, and guinea pigs live. Often it is used for bedding animals for agricultural purposes. In such a situation, spent sphagnum in combination with animal droppings will turn into an excellent type of organic fertilizer. His ability to perfectly absorb various odors brought him popularity in the market of toilet fillers for pets.

Collection and storage of sphagnum

To assemble this plant, in special devices there is no need:

  1. Since it is not poisonous, the collection can be carried out with unprotected hands, but it is better not to refuse gloves.
  2. The plant is effortlessly pulled out of the ground, so the need for a shovel also disappears.

When the harvest is complete, the plant is squeezed out and unfolds in the sun for complete drying. If the purpose of its collection is to use moss as a decorative element, then it is not fully wrung out and is not subjected to prolonged drying.

Experienced people collecting sphagnum share these tips:

  • Do not pull out the moss entirely: cut off the upper part with scissors, leaving the bottom untouched. After some time, the emergence of new shoots will allow the plant to fully recover.
  • It is necessary to pour collected moss with boiling water to destroy small insectsliving on it.
  • It is not necessary to resort to the use of artificial dryers: the plant can learn the parts.
  • If possible, keep the collection in the freezer.

Таким образом, познакомившись с этим уникальным растением поближе, становится действительно ясно: что из себя представляет мох сфагнум.

What is sphagnum

A variety of perennial spore plant from the sphagnaceae family belongs to the class of deciduous moss. Sphagnum mosses grow in a dense, soft carpet, mainly on turf, in forest zones and marshes of the Northern Hemisphere. In the South mainly grow in the mountains. A distinctive feature of sphagnum is the absence of a root system.

The appearance of sphagnum resembles a fluffy grass. Moss grows at the top, and the bottom, dying off, forms peat. On the stem and side branches of the plant are small leaves, they grow in a spiral. Sphag has a variety of colors; in nature, brown, red, white and pink moss are more common.

Plant structure

Sphagnum is a large plant, on average it can reach a height of 10-20 cm. At the top of the branch boxes are formed, in which later spores are formed. Sphagous - the only moss that does not have rhizoids, so they absorb moisture from the stem and leaves. The stem includes three types of branches: protruding, hanging and apical. The leaf of a plant consists of two cells: green (alive) and dead. The first are responsible for photosynthesis, and the second serve as a storage of moisture and air.

Inside the body consists of plant tissues with cells, the structure is formed by connecting the green cells with each other. Due to its structure, this species of sphagnum mosses has the ability to absorb large amounts of water. When saturated with moisture, peat perennial acquires a light green tint, and when fully dried it turns white.

Properties of sphagnum

Sphagnous plants grow in places with high humidity and contribute to waterlogging of the territory. The body of the plant contains carbolic acid, so the sphagus helps the formation of peat and almost does not rot. Hygroscopicity allows moss to absorb a large amount of moisture, so it plays the role of baking powder of the soil, and thanks to sphagnola it prevents rotting of the roots, therefore it is used in gardening. With the help of plants of this group sphagnum bogs are formed.


There are the following types of moss:

The first type is more often used in floriculture, they are covered with plants in the cold period to avoid freezing of the root system. Collecting excess moisture, it protects the shoots from rotting and development of parasites. Sphagnum marsh is widely used in medicine, gardening and construction. White sphagnum moss is used by gardeners as a top dressing and for acidification of the soil; this gives the plants a rich color, and in medicine - for the manufacture of disinfectants.

How sphagnum breeds

Breeding is facilitated by spores matured in sporophyte, and scions. Fertilization occurs only with the participation of water, a zygote is formed and division occurs. Haustoria develops from the lower cell, which consumes nutrients from the gametophyte and contributes to the development of the sporophyte. Then a box forms at the top of the stem and spores form, ripe spores fall to the ground and contribute to the development of a new plant.

Sphagnum application

Over the years, the beneficial properties of sphagnum made life easier for people and save lives. Actively apply sphagnum perennial moss steel during hostilities, as there was a shortage of dressings. Residents of North America today use a dry plant instead of a lining in their cradles, because due to its qualities, it helps to avoid diaper rash.

For therapeutic purposes

Sphagnum is used in medicine and is known for its bactericidal and aseptic properties, it is used for disinfection and other purposes:

  1. It resists infection of wounds and cuts.
  2. Due to the content of phenolic substances, coumarin, sugar compounds and gum, sphagnum moss is an antiseptic.
  3. Using the plant at a fracture as a dressing or a dressing, you can not resort to additional sterilization.
  4. Moss fights bacteria, skin and nail fungus, is useful for psoriasis and skin irritations, fights wound suppuration.
  5. Perennial sphagnum can be used as a raw material for the manufacture of medical and other types of alcohol, fodder yeast. In addition, the moss is useful for burns and frostbite. To do this, chop dry moss and pour boiling water to a state of gruel, then slightly cooled moss to attach to the sore spot.
  6. To combat bedsores in bedridden patients, they use sphagnum bedding: they absorb sweat and eliminate unpleasant odors.
  7. This type of perennial plant is still used as an additional tire for bone fracture.
  8. It is known that chewing sphagnum moss dulls generic pain and speeds up the process of birth.
  9. In case of high sweating of the legs, they use insoles of sphagus, for this it is necessary to grind it and fill it with a linen bag, repeating the contour of the leg.

  1. A decoction of sphagnum has long been used in Chinese medicine for sore throat, flu, as a disinfectant for stomatitis and infections in the nasopharynx. Broth actively treat insect bites and ulcers.
  2. On the basis of a perennial plant extract, medications are created for the treatment of prostate and inflammation in the bladder.
  3. Sphag can be used as a cotton wool or a bandage; it absorbs much more moisture than cotton wool.
  4. With colitis, crushed sphagnum is used: it is eaten in a teaspoon half an hour before meals.
  5. Given the dermatological properties, perennial use for skin diseases - make a special compress.
  6. To fight staphylococcus, sphagnum perennial is collected in swampy areas, squeezed out peat water, then it is used to wash infected sites or apply moist sphagnum to the infected place.

Several recipes to help with a variety of diseases:

  • Powder that promotes healing of open wounds and ulcers. Dried pieces of sphagnum should be carefully rubbed, then sprinkle the cut and wait a few minutes. After that, you need to wash the wound and apply a bandage.
  • Infusion against nail fungus A hundred grams of dry plants pour a glass of medicinal alcohol, insist four minutes, then drain the alcohol, and moss to attach to the infected nail and leave for several hours.
  • Decoction for the treatment of diseases of the joints. One hundred grams of sphagnum must be poured with ten liters of water, bring to a boil and let stand for several minutes. After the broth has completely cooled down, it is necessary to fill the bath with warm water and add it there. Take a therapeutic bath should be from half an hour to forty minutes.

Use in the household

Our nature is rich in resources that play a large role in everyday life, and their useful properties are often not known to everyone. For economic purposes, the use of sphagnum has become widespread. Hundreds of gardeners and builders, flower growers and herbalists use moss as an assistant in everyday life.

Sphagnum perennial often plays the role of an ornamental plant, it is used in the design of flower beds or garden. This perennial flower growers often use: lovers of orchids and houseplants warm their root system. For the garden, peat moss plays the role of fertilizer, it is suitable for aeration and improving the quality of the soil, for storing root crops and onions, and germinating seeds.

Before adding sphagnum to the ground it is necessary to chop it finely. Due to the water-saving effect, sphagnum moss for indoor plants located in rooms with low humidity is used as an additional source of moisture and nutrients if it is not possible to care for flowers daily.

Beekeepers use sphagnum as a heater for hives, to collect excess moisture during the winter cold spells, and livestock breeders - as bedding for livestock or pets, because it has the ability to absorb unpleasant odors, and the material used is used as a fertilizer for weakened soil.

The plant is suitable for embedding cracks or wall insulation in bar houses or baths: for this, wet moss is placed between the bars. Due to the antiseptic properties of sphagnum prevents the appearance of pests that can damage the wood layer, mold, and also provides ventilation. In addition, the plant has a natural odor, unlike other thermal insulation materials, and is not inferior to them in quality.

The plant is widely used as a decorative material, it can be used to create florariums, decorative floristic compositions and panels. It will not only revive the appearance, but also extend the life of neighboring plants. It can be used as an organic substrate, instead of floristic sponge.

Harvesting plants

Sphagnum sprouts should be collected in places with minimal humidity, for example, near trees, avoiding swamps. When collecting the top is cut with a knife. Harvesting must be done selectively in order to allow moss to recover in the harvested area. The preparation of moss for medicinal purposes is made from May to September in dry weather. To dry the material, a simple wooden structure is made - hangers that look like an open shelving. Install them in a dry place, protected from rain and sun.

After the collection is made, perennial pour warm water for 35 minutes to get rid of insects, then squeeze, dried. Store harvested natural material should be in a dark place in a paper or cloth bag. In winter, sphagnum can be stored on the balcony, but to use it must be defrosted. If desired, sphagnum sprouts can be propagated at home. It is necessary to choose a convenient plastic container, supply it with a ventilation hole, add water and lay the moss on the bottom with water.

Sphagnum description

Sphagnum is a unique spore plant that does not have roots. Such an unusual perennial forms a rather thick soft carpet of light green color. Sods of this plant consist of a large number of individual elements, annually increasing tops. When the lower part dies off, a special brown peat layer appears. The short thin stalk is planted with small narrow leaves of the styloid. The moisture capacity of protruded leaf plates is due to special pore cells.

This moss is very common in the tundra, polar-arctic and forest zones of unlimited Siberia. As a rule, such a plant gives preference to upland bogs and northern forests.

Sphagnum leaf

The unique leaves of sphagnum are the smallest, almost invisible scales. They very densely cover a stalk and its branches. Such thin plates have a microscopic structure. With an increase under the microscope, you can see a kind of green grid with small white cells.

Each cell consists of a set of elongated living cells that are connected to each other by ends. On closer inspection, the emerald glow of the leaf plate will be noticeable.

Between the cells there are transparent gaps of irregular oval shape. Such cellular reservoirs are considered dead and empty. Scientists call them hyaline aquifer cells. When moss gets wet, such cells are filled with moisture, due to which the plant acquires a greenish tint. The capacity of these cells is simply amazing: water saturated moss can weigh 20 times more than in dry form.

Sphagnum species

Numerous plant species grow in rather dense and dense clusters. They are able to form solid carpets or large pillows on special peat bogs.

Dry sphagnum This species has unusual leaf plates that have special cells. They are able to hold a huge amount of fluid. Dry sphagnum moss is often used in summer cottages for harboring heat-loving plants. Such moss will not allow trees and shrubs to freeze in winter. In addition, the presented moss is an excellent fertilizer.

Sphagnum swamp. This dioecious moss forms significant light yellow turfs. Multi-layered stems possess outer cells with pores and spiral bulges on the walls. Rectangular stem leaves with special fibers do not have a lateral border. The plant is expressed by chlorophyll-carrying cells. The distribution area is located in the northern borders of the plains. In Russia, such a plant is often found in Siberia, the Urals, the Far East, as well as in the Caucasus. In some European countries you can also find dense thickets of marsh sphagnum.

Sphagnum mossy. The presented form is a very soft and porous plant with dense stems and spiral clusters. On the stems are numerous branches, which at the very top form an unusual shaggy head. Small leaves are expressed in light green shade. They thickly cover the stem. Under the microscope, you can see an uncountable number of unique cells that are characterized by increased hygroscopicity. Such narrow greenish cells are interconnected by ends, due to which the mesh structure is visible. Transparent dead compartments are designed to be filled with moisture. Such peculiar water tanks easily draw in moisture and condense vapors.

Contraindications to the use of sphagnum

No contraindications for the use of sphagnum have been identified.

Education: A diploma in medicine and treatment was obtained at the NI Pirogov University (2005 and 2006). Advanced training at the Department of Phytotherapy at the Moscow University of Peoples' Friendship (2008).

In medicine

Some species of sphagnum have found application in medicine in many countries of the world; in Russia, sphagnum is currently not used. Known hemostatic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, hygroscopic properties of moss. Sphagnum has been used in medical practice in European countries for many years as a hygroscopic dressing material, since by its hygroscopicity this moss is 25 times larger than cotton and lingin.

Some pharmacological preparations based on peat moss are known. In 1971, the medicine Torfot was released in 1 ml ampoules (Russia manufacturer). It is a biogenic stimulant, the indications for use of which are arthritis, radiculitis, myalgia, certain eye diseases (blepharitis, vitreous opacification, keratitis, myopathic chorioretinitis), periodontal disease and chronic gingivitis. At the moment, the drug Torfot is not listed in the State Register of Medicines.

Sphagnum moss has high gas and moisture absorbing properties, and also has a bacteriostatic and bactericidal effect against pathological microflora of purulent wounds. In this regard, in many countries, moss is used as a substitute for cotton wool, and as an independent effective therapeutic agent for the treatment of infected (purulent) wounds.

Sphagnum with its absorbing properties is used for the production of diapers and sanitary napkins. Currently, Johnson & Johnson uses moss sphagnum.

The Chinese use a decoction of sphagnum moss as a disinfectant and antibacterial agent for bacterial infections of the respiratory system, stomatitis, diseases of the nasopharynx, and oral mucosa. Chinese medicine Polytrichum juniperinum contains sphagnum extract and is used to treat prostate and bladder.

Contraindications and side effects

Moss-based drugs are not recommended for use in cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, acute gastrointestinal disorders, and in some diseases of the excretory system (nephrosonephritis). Contraindications to the use of sphagnum moss are individual intolerance, pregnancy, lactation, children's age.

In the household

Peat moss is widely used in many sectors of the economy. Sphagnum is used as a packing material for transportation, for storage of vegetables and fruits, as bedding and feed for livestock, in the form of powder is used to fill sewage, cesspools. In the paper industry, coarse grades of paper and cardboard are obtained from moss; in the chemical industry, paints, tanning agents, etc. This is a valuable raw material for producing ammonia, wax, paraffin, and alcohol.

Sphagnum moss - demanded heat-insulating and insulating material, which is widely used in construction. The hygroscopic properties of moss can neutralize moisture fluctuations.

In European cities with an unfavorable ecological situation, sphagnum moss fibers are used to monitor air purity. From sphagnum wood alcohol is obtained, used for internal combustion engines as an economical fuel. Sphagnum peat is used to flavor Scotch whiskey.

In peat formation

Perennial mosses sphagnum are able to form peat, possessing high water-holding capacity. The accumulation of sphagnum plants leads to the rapid formation of raised bogs. The body of sphagnum contains carbolic acid, which is a powerful antiseptic that can kill bacteria, which is why the moss practically does not rot. The annual growth of sphagnum is 1-2 mm. За счет роста мха сфагнума, а также других водных растений наблюдается заболачивание лесов, зарастание водоемов, озера постепенно превращаются в болота. Сфагнум разрастается верхней частью, при этом стебли растения ежегодно постепенно отмирают, образуя значительный слой торфа бурого цвета. Торф применяют как топливный материал.


Сфагнум или торфяной мох (лат. Sphagnum) — род мхов, споровых многолетних растений, принадлежащих семейству Сфагновые (лат. Sphagnaceae), order Sphagnum, class Sphagnum mosses. The genus sphagnum has about 320 species, the typical species of which is considered Sphagnum swamp (Latin Sphagnum palustre L.). For medical purposes, mainly large-leaved sphagnum species are used: the sphagnum of Magellan (lat. Sphagnum magellanicum Brid.), The sphagnum papillosum (lat. Sphagnum papillosum Lind) and the sphagnum marsh (lat. Sphagnum palustre L).

Botanical description

Sphagnum is a genus of spore perennial plants that do not have rhizoids. Thin moss stalks are branched, twigs are of three types: horizontally arranged drooping, adjacent to the stalk and apical. Drooping shoots perform the function of absorption and delivery of water to the very top of the plant. Horizontal shoots perform an assimilation function and keep weak upper shoots. The leaves of sphagnum elongate-lanceolate, single-layer, membranous, sessile, located on the stem imbricated. The lamina plate consists of two types of cells: hyaline aquifers (the so-called "dead"), which have hygroscopic properties and chlorophyll-carrying, whose main function is photosynthesis.

Sphagnum multiplies by spores and vegetatively. In the life cycle of sphagnum moss, as in all representatives of bryophytes, the gametophyte predominates. Sphagnum is a gametophyte on which antheridia and arhegonia are formed, respectively, spermatozoa are formed in anteridia, and ova in arhegonia. As a result of fertilization with water, a zygote is formed. A zygote divides, a haustoria develops from its lower cell, capable of absorbing nutrients from the gametophyte. A sporogon is formed from the upper cell of the zygote, which consists of a small horn, where the sporangium with spores is located and a cap. After maturation, spores spill out. From the mature spore a protonema is formed, and on it - the buds, which give rise to the development of a new plant.

Common types of sphagnum: Sphagnum Magellan (Sphagnum magellanicum), Central Sphagnum (Sphagnum centrale), Sphagnum papillosum (Sphagnum papillosum Lind), Swamp sphagnum (Sphagnum palustre).


Sphagnum moss grows in large colonies, forming dense dense clusters, solid green carpets. The area of ​​distribution of sphagnum is quite wide: mosses occupy forest and tundra zones of the Northern Hemisphere, highlands in the Southern Hemisphere, and are also common on the plains of the temperate zone. Mosses are widespread in South America. Peat mosses grow everywhere in the northern part of Russia; they are a forming unit of sphagnum bogs, actively absorbing and retaining moisture (the mass of accumulated water can be 20-25 times higher than the mass of moss). 42 sphagnum moss species grow on the territory of the Russian Federation, mainly in Eastern Siberia. The greatest variety of moss species grows in South America. Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Chile and the Scandinavian countries are major suppliers of sphagnum in the international market.

Preparation of raw materials

Sphagnum moss is harvested in spring, from the end of April to the beginning of October, in warm, dry weather. This condition is obligatory, because otherwise it may be difficult to collect high levels of melt water and the activity of blood-sucking insect parasites. In order for the raw materials to retain nutrients, it is better to cut the sphagnum moss in June.

You can collect sphagnum in different ways: remove it entirely, along with brown dead stems, or cut off only the top of the sphagnum green "carpet". In the first case, the raw material will be more, but it needs more careful processing. Mosses are collected by glades, approximately 40–50 cm in order for the plant to fully recover. This gathering place is able to recover several years after cutting. The upper part of the moss is cut with a sharp knife, then cleaned of impurities, needles, leaves. Wet sphagnum squeeze out carefully, or excess water is weathered. It is not recommended to dry the raw materials in dryers, it is better to spread the moss in an even layer in a ventilated place in the shade, avoiding direct sunlight. So the raw material dries out evenly. Ready-made high-quality sphagnum moss should not crumble and, when fully dried, takes on a characteristic white color. The optimum humidity of the dried raw material is 25-30%. Dried moss is stored in plastic or paper bags for no more than 1 year.

The so-called "live" moss is stored in the refrigerator or freezer. The collected raw materials of sphagnum are not previously dried, but after being cleaned of impurities and squeezed, they are placed in a refrigerator, packed in a plastic bag.

Chemical composition

Sphagnum; there are triterion; , phenol-like substance sphagnol, pectin substances, resins, sugars, coumarins, carbolic acid, cellulose, mineral salts, aldehydes.

Pharmacological properties

The bactericidal properties of sphagnum are due to the presence in the moss of a special phenol-like substance sphagnol that inhibits the growth and vital activity of pathological microflora: E. coli, cholera vibrio, S. aureus, salmonella.

Scientists from the Department of Analytical Chemistry of the Belarusian State University studied the chemical composition of sphagnum, as well as its absorption properties. Researchers isolated a whole range of active substances with bactericidal and antifungal properties from moss, and also confirmed the plant’s high absorption capacity.

Sphagnum mosses have a suction ability and good anti-rotten, antiseptic properties. The stalks of the plant contain aquifer hollow cells where water accumulates. The stem of sphagnum not only well passes water, but also blood and pus. The wound remains dry. Therefore, the plant is used as a dressing for purulent wounds.

In the course of the research, scientists of the Belarusian State University isolated 6 phenoacids (fumaric, isochlorogenic, coffee, pyrocatechic, chlorogenic, feduloic) and 6 coumarins (esculetin, scropoletin, esculin, coumarin, umbelliferone, herniarin) from sphagnum. These biologically active substances had a pronounced bactericidal effect on cultures of streptococcus and staphylococcus. As a result of the research, it was possible to establish that coumarins and organic acids of peat moss have antifungal activity. Sphagnum-based dressings are widely used for traumatic injuries of the skin, purulent wounds, as well as lining the immobilization of fractures in extreme conditions.

The results of laboratory studies on rodents, conducted by American scientists, have shown that the brown sphagnum extract has a pronounced analgesic effect, which is practically not inferior to the similar effect of the drug indomethacin. In addition, the studied extract of moss has a pronounced wound-healing effect.

In vitro sphagnum extract of brown shows a pronounced bacteriostatic and bactericidal action. As a result, the combination of analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity, wound healing, antiseptic properties, antibacterial effect of water-ethanolic extract from brown moss sphagnum moss makes it possible to develop drugs based on it for the integrated treatment of inflammatory and wound processes, infected wounds, burn skin lesions.

Use in traditional medicine

In folk medicine in Russia and in folk medicine in many European countries, moss is used, as well as peat, peat water and peat mud for the treatment of acute intestinal diseases, stomach ulcers.

Sphagnum broths are added to medicinal baths with increased sweating, fungal skin diseases, dermatitis, psoriasis and other skin diseases, and diseases of the joints. Peat water after squeezing moss is effective in the form of lotions for staphylococcal lesions of wounds. Dried sphagnum powder is used for powders for poorly healing wounds, purulent wounds, ulcers and burns. Alcoholic tincture of sphagnum is used in the treatment of fungal nail diseases. Moss tincture is used as an analgesic for arthritis, myalgia, and radiculitis.

The use of sphagnum moss found in gynecological practice. Chewing "live" moss sphagnum eliminates the painful pain during childbirth, and also stimulates the process of childbirth. Moss is considered a good contraceptive for women who are vaginal allergic to chemicals and latex. A decoction of sphagnum is used for washing hair with hair loss.

History reference

In ancient times, healers were tied to abrasions and wounds of a sphagnum dressing, this procedure guaranteed quick healing of the affected skin.

During the Great Patriotic War, sphagnum marsh mosses in conditions of shortage of dressing materials were used in military hospitals. Such sphagnum-gauze dressings were widely used for the healing of purulent and other wounds. Sphagnum before use passed sterilization, steam treatment or impregnation with a solution of boric acid, mercuric chloride or sodium chloride. Doctors highly appreciated the absorption, the looseness of moss and its antiseptic effect.

People have long noticed the insulating properties of dried moss. In the North, it was placed in babies' cradles, used to warm the walls in houses, as an absorbent mat in stalls and stables.

Since sphagnum moss, when dried, acquires a white color, the plant is popularly called “white moss”. Peaty, swamp moss - the popular name of the plant, which reflect the main feature of this plant - to retain a large amount of moisture and increase the upper part, contributing to the formation of peat.


1. Aleksandrov B.V. In the world of healing herbs. M., 1966.

2. Zalesova E.N., Petrovskaya O.V. Full Russian illustrated dictionary-herbalist and flower garden, compiled from the latest botanical and medical writings. S.-Pb., 1898–1901. T. 1, 2, 3, 4.

3. Blinov K.F. and others. Botanico-pharmacognostic dictionary: Ref. manual / Ed. K. F. Blinova, G.P. Yakovlev. - M .: Higher. shk., 1990. - p. 244.

4. Plant life. Seaweed. Lichens. Mosses. - M .: Mir of the book, 2002. - V. 5. - p. 163. - 192 p. - (Great Encyclopedia of Nature).

5. Pharmaceutical aspects of the use of peat moss / JI.G. Babeshina, S.E. Dmitruk, E.Ya. Muldiar.

Preparation and storage of sphagnum

Sphagnum is harvested from late April to early October, in warm, dry weather. Otherwise, the collection may complicate the high level of meltwater, the activity of blood-sucking insects.

Collect sphagnum in various ways:

  • Removed entirely, along with the roots. In this case, the raw material is obtained more, but it requires more careful processing.
  • Cut the top of the plant with a sharp knife.

Moss should be collected by glades, approximately 40 cm, leaving the plant the possibility of full recovery. At one site re-procurement of raw materials can occur only after several years.

Moist sphagnum must be carefully squeezed or weathered from excess water. However, if you need "live" raw materials, then the plant can not be dried. If you harvest the plant for the future, then it must be spread out evenly in a ventilated place, but not under the sun's rays. It is not advisable to use a drying machine, as the plant dries out unevenly.

Live sphagnum is stored in plastic bags in the refrigerator or freezer. Dry moss should be stored in glass or tin containers. In large quantities dry moss is stored in canvas or cotton bags in a ventilated room.

Ready high quality sphagnum should be well dried, but it does not crumble. Coloring should be natural, greenish-gray. In the raw materials should not be impurities, quarrel, dead parts of the rhizome.

Application in everyday life

The plant has a low thermal conductivity, as a result of which it is often used as a thermal insulation material in construction. From sphagnum produce deodorizing agents, as it has a rather pleasant smell.

Some ethnic groups use this species of moss to produce sheets and diapers for children. In floriculture, sphagnum is used as a filler for earth mixtures. It should be noted that in dry form the moss is able to absorb water, the amount of which is 20 times greater than the mass of the plant itself. For such properties, moss is particularly popular with farmers and gardeners.

From sphagnum make dressing material, which is used in veterinary medicine and medicine. Since the fabric perfectly absorbs moisture and has antibacterial properties, it is used even on the battlefield. In Russia, sphagnum is used in the preparation of buds and other nutritional experimental products. Insoles made from sphagnum, helps to cope with an unpleasant smell and increased perspiration of the legs.

The composition and therapeutic properties of sphagnum

  1. The composition of sphagnum includes: triterpene compounds, phenol-like substances, sugars, resins, pectin elements, mineral salts, cellulose, coumarins.
  2. Sphagnum promotes healing of cuts, open and purulent wounds.
  3. It is used as an antiseptic dressing material that does not require sterilization.
  4. It has antibacterial properties, which allows it to be used to fight skin and nail fungus.
  5. Baths with sphagnum decoction can cope with increased sweating, fungal diseases of the skin and nails.
  6. Peat water, which remains after squeezing the moss, helps to eliminate staphylococcal lesions of wounds.
  7. Moss baths are recommended for skin diseases and irritations, as well as for psoriasis.

Collection used to treat skin diseases such as eczema, dermatitis

The following ingredients should be mixed in proportions of 1: 1: dry sphagnum, verbena, dried cherries, river gravilat, clover, primrose, rose petals, rhizomes of calgan and sedge. Mix everything thoroughly. 10 grams of raw materials pour 2 cups boiling water, insist a couple of hours. Drink before meals, several times a day.

Infusion can be applied externally, spreading it in a bath with warm water, or by moistening the cloth in it and applying it to sore spots.