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News

Fragrant Herbs of the Quiet Don

18.07.2019

An interesting tour “Fragrant Herbs of the Quiet Don” telling about the features of preparation and use of the Don area medicinal plants was made by the workers of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov for the children of the health camp “Kazachok” of the Sholokhov District Extracurricular Work Centre. 

The summer is in full swing meaning it is time to bloom for many types of medicinal plants and aromatic herbs. A lilac carpet of fragrant thyme gives way to lush thickets of oregano and mint, the banks of the rivers, lakes and sandy valleys are covered with bright motley buds of fireweed... These and many other plants have long been used to treat various diseases, maintain health and beauty.

The great glorifier of the Don nature Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov artfully conveyed on the pages of his works an incredible beauty and diversity of the Don steppes: “…In places, an undersized phiomis blindly and tenaciously pressed to the ground occasionally alternating with sage, and again dominant feather grass spread out like in flood taking turns to multicoloured herbs: wild oats, yellow colza, euphorbia, chingiska – a harsh grass, one-loving, displacing all other herbs from the area it occupies... “ (M.A.Sholokhov, “And Quiet Flows the Don”).

Cossacks actively used the wealth of the Don steppes in everyday life, as evidenced by the description of the stables in Yagodnoye Village – the estate of the Listnitskys. The groom Sashka was an exceptional horse-doctor: “…In spring, during May flowering, he picked up herbs, dug medicinal roots in the steppes, in dry land and in wet ravines. High on the walls of the stables there hung dried bunches of diverse leaf grass…” (M.A.Sholokhov, “And Quiet Flows the Don”, vol.1, ch.52) used for treating different horse diseases.

The members of the tour “Fragrant Herbs of the Quiet Don” going through the site of the environmental and literary forest park “Pearl of Eurasia” could learn a lot about it, see the isles of Sholokhov steppes, feel the tart and rich aroma of their fragrant herbs. The experienced guides helped the children to learn about the main types of medicinal plants of the Don country, about the timing and harvesting rules and the specifics of their use in folk medicine. 

We hope that the literary landscapes, which came off the pages of Sholokhov’s books, and the spicy aroma of the wind infused on the steppe herbs will make the children want to read the works by Mikhail Alexandrovich Sholokhov again and protect the unique wealth of the Don Cossack country.

Galina Pichuyeva
Yana Korobova