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The dandelion, scientific name taraxum officinale, commonly known as dandelion, is a spontaneous herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family. This plant grows in gardens and meadows and blooms in early spring presenting itself with a beautiful flower of an intense yellow color. The dandelion is a plant widely used in herbal medicine and in detox cooking thanks to its leaves and roots that purify the liver, are diuretic and antioxidant (Choi et al, Int J Mol Sci, 2010). But the dandelion is also kn...
Mastika is a vegetable resin obtained from lentisk trees, scientific name Pistacia lentiscus (L.) var. chia. The latex that comes out from the trunks of these plants solidifies in contact with air becoming a hard resin with a drop shape that is often called the tears of Chios, from the name of the Greek island where the lentisks are cultivated from which the Mastika is extracted. Herodotus, the Greek historian lived in the 5th century BC, Galen and Dioscorides, two physicians of antiquity, spoke...
Apricots are the fruit of the plant Prunus armeniaca and are the classic fruit of early summer. However, in the dried form, they can also be eaten all year long. So let's see the properties and characteristics of dried apricots. Dried apricots, properties and use - Dried apricots are a precious source of energy, and this makes them an excellent food for breakfast or for mid-morning or afternoon snacks for athletes or for those who have a very active life. Dried apricots can be eaten whole or c...
Red onion is a type of onion, Allium cepa of the Liliaceae family, with a red-purple skin and a white flesh tinged with red. Red onion, properties - The red onion is rich in antioxidant substances such as thiosulfinates, which give it the classic pungent odor, quercetin, kaempferol but also anthocyanins that are powerful substances that give to the bulb a purple color. These beneficial substances make red onion a food able to fight free radicals and infections, to stimulate the immune system, ...
Black garlic is obtained from the normal garlic that we all know, Allium sativum, which is subjected to a special processing. In particular, the garlic cloves are fermented at a temperature between 60 and 70° C and at a very high humidity level, up to 90%, for several weeks and, as a result of a reaction called Maillard, the color of the garlic cloves turns dark. The odor is less pungent than that of fresh garlic due to the lower content in allicin that, during the process, has been converted in...
The persimmons are the edible fruits of a tree, scientific name Diospyros kaki, which means divine fruit, and have always been considered the sun of autumn since they are able to bring the power of the sun even in the coldest periods. Diospyros kaki is native to China, belongs to the Ebenaceae family and the persimmons can be found on supermarket shelves all over the world from November to December. But it is not only the fruit that is a restorative, re-mineralizing and revitalizing remedy, even...
Ginger, scientific name Zingiber officinale, is a plant of the Zingiberaceae family native to the Far East but nowadays widely known all over the world. The part of ginger that we use is the fleshy and fragrant rhizome, fresh, sliced or grated, in the dried form as a powder or even in the form of candied fruit. Ginger is a spice used to flavor sweet and savory dishes, but also to prepare healthy herbal teas. In fact, ginger is characterized by beneficial properties, which we are now going to see...
Food combination and cooking method, potatoes Part 2
Potatoes are edible tubers produced by the plant solanum tuberosum, belonging to the Solanaceae family. Potatoes aren’t a fatty food and, from the nutritional point of view, they are characterized by a high content in vitamins, such as group B and C, mineral salts, such as calcium, iron, phosphorus and potassium, that makes the potatoes a food able to relax, proteins and anti inflammatory and antioxidant substances (Camire et al, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 2009). In the previous post we have seen s...
Grapes are the fruit of the grape vine, vitis vinifera, juicy, sweet and tasty, have been a part of human life for thousands of years. There are different types of grapes, sweeter or more sour, smaller or bigger and of different colors. Today we will talk about black grapes. Black grapes, properties and benefits - Black grapes, more than other varieties, are an exceptional source of polyphenols, which are powerful antioxidants. Polyphenols are mainly found in grape skin and, in case of catechi...
Food combinations and cooking methods, the mushrooms
In June the mushrooms start growing in the woods. The mushrooms, even if they are vegetables, aren’t constituted by cellulose, such as salads or fruits, but by nitrogenous substances, carbohydrates, low fat and, in particular, proteins. And it is thanks to this characteristic that mushrooms have been nicknamed the plant based meat. But the mushrooms are also a precious source of mineral salts such as iron, zinc, magnesium and selenium that give anticancer and antioxidant properties. Mushrooms co...
Aronia, scientific name aronia melanocarpa, is a bush belonging to the Rosaceae family. Its fruits, called aronia berries or chokeberries, are berries that, for what concerns their appearance, remind the blueberries but the taste is a bit sourer. Aronia berries can be found in the form of dried berries or in the form of juices. Chokeberries, properties – As for the properties, aronia berries are a source of vitamin K, useful for the health of bones and the proper blood clotting, vitamin C, gro...
Mung beans and their sprouts
Mung bean, also called green gram or moong, scientific name Vigna radiata, is a plant of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. The fruits of this plant are pods that contain edible seeds characterized by a peel of an intense green color. These seeds can be found on the market both in the dried form, in this case they should be soaked in water and then cooked, or in the form of sprouts, the famous mung bean sprouts, that can also be self-produced at home. Mung beans are the most used seeds in the w...
Burdock, scientific name Arctium lappa, is a plant belonging to the Asteraceae family whose root is used as a powerful natural remedy. The use of burdock as a medicinal plant has a great tradition, in fact already in ancient China this plant was used to treat colds while it even appears in the herbology volume The Compendium of Materia Medica written by Li Shizhen in 1578 during the Ming dynasty. Properties - Science has become very interested in burdock and, as often happens, research has con...
Health and beauty, the remedies of the spring
During winter the lymph of the trees doesn’t reach the branches but tends to go down along the trunk towards the roots to avoid that the cold may freeze it. In spring the lymph starts again to flow. In our body happens something very similar, during winter all the processes slow down and then, with warm weather, vitality and energy come back. It is important, in this seasons change that welcomes spring, sun and warmer weather to help the body remove the accumulated toxins, to purify it but also ...
Food combinations and cooking methods, ginger Part 1
Ginger is a plant, scientific name Zingiber officinale family of Zinziberaceae, whose rhizome, also called root, is used to cook, thanks to its fresh aroma, and to prepare herbal remedies. Ginger is rich indeed in active substances, such as zingiberene, gingerol and shogaol, resins and mucilage. Thanks to these characteristics, ginger shows anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. In addition, ginger is also able to keep at bay blood sugar, triglycerides and chol...
Artichoke, herbal remedy
Cynara scolymus is the scientific name of the artichoke, the vegetable that we use for cooking. The artichoke belongs to the Composite family and it isn’t just a yummy ingredient but it may become also a herbal remedy. From its leaves, indeed, a mother tincture is obtained rich in phenol compounds such as cynarin, cinaropicrin and caffeic acid. Thanks to these substances the remedy has antioxidant and diuretic properties and is able to protect the liver and the cardiovascular system (Kurt et al,...
Desmodium, scientific name Desmodium adscendens, called also tick trefoil or tick clover, is a plant belonging to the Fabaceae family used to protect liver and kidneys and to fight asthma. Desmodium is a natural medicine of tradition, known and used for centuries by the people of the Amazon rainforest and Africa. Nowadays, desmodium is the subject of various scientific studies to test its effectiveness. Properties - What is emerging from the scientific researches is that desmodium is a source ...
Food combinations and cooking methods, onion First Part
The onion, belonging to the Liliaceae family, is well known, appreciated and eaten for millennia. The first signs of its usage go back to the Chaldeans, 4000 years ago, but also the ancient Egyptians used onions a lot, while during Middle Ages the onions were considered a so precious food that they were used as coins. Nowadays, thanks to scientific studies, we know that this edible bulb isn’t just tasty but also rich in antibiotic, antiseptic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, thus usefu...
Yellow dock, also known as curly dock, scientific name Rumex crispus, is a plant of the Polygonaceae family. The extract obtained from the roots of this plant is a remedy with purifying and diuretic properties, it stimulates the activity of the liver, is laxative, thus helping in case of constipation, and is useful in case of anemia as it provides iron. Moreover, rumex extract is characterized by a well demonstrated antioxidant effect, therefore useful to counteract oxidative stress and the dama...
Food combinations Part 5, the best ways to eat artichokes
The artichoke is the flower bud of the plant Cynara scolymus. The artichoke is rich in iron, potassium, magnesium, cynarine, an alkaloid able to protect the liver and to lower the cholesterol, inulin, a prebiotic that protects and stimulates the bacterial flora of the gut, antioxidants such as tannins (Rondanelli et al, Monladi Arch Chest Dis, Mar 2013 – Lopez-Molina et al, Phytochemistry, Jun 2005). However, the properties of the artichoke depend on the ways of cooking and on the foods served t...
Stemless carline thistle
Stemless carline thistle, also known as dwarf carline thistle, scientific name carlina acaulis, is a plant of the Asteraceae family. This remedy has tonic, draining, digestive and diuretic properties and therefore helps to counteract cellulite, improves digestion and supports the work of the liver. You can prepare a decoction in this way, bring to a boil a cup of water together with a tablespoon of carlina roots, let it simmer for a couple of minutes, filter and let it cool down, then drink a cu...
Amla, scientific name Phyllantus emblica, is a plant of the Fillantaceae family and is known mainly for its fruits, similar to green plums, which have the same name. The fruits of amla are considered an elixir of long life, able to promote longevity and there is plenty of scientific studies supporting the Ayurveda tradition that considers amla one of the essential ingredients for good health. These berries have in fact a special protective action on the liver. In particular, amla, according to s...
Peaches are the fruits of summer, juicy, scented and also really healthy. Peaches are classified on the basis of their flesh color, white, the original color of the fruit, and yellow, that has occurred as a consequence of mutations of a gene, CCD4. This gene, according to a scientific study performed by researchers of Udine University (Falchi et al, Plant J, 2013), is responsible of the degradation of carotenoids, the pigments that give the red and yellow color. In white peach the gene works pro...
Common centaury, scientific name Centaurium erythraea, is a plant belonging to the Genzianaceae family. Its name comes from the centaur Chiron, a figure of Greek mythology skilled in medicinal herbs. According to myth, Chiron used the Centaurea to treat a wound caused by a poisoned arrow shot by Hercules. Beyond the myth, the Centaurea is characterized by interesting health and beneficial properties for digestion but also for the skin. For internal use, the remedy can be used as an infusion or m...
Dandelion, herbal medicine
Dandelion, or common dandelion, scientific name Taraxacum officinale, is a plant of the Asteraceae family. It is widespread in gardens and meadows and is characterized by elongated leaves with a toothed margin and by a beautiful yellow flower that matures into spherical seed heads called blowballs or clocks, consisting of single-seeded fruits attached to a pappus of fine hairs that are carried by the wind and make possible to disperse easily the seeds of the plant. The dandelion is a very intere...
Baking soda, to drink
Sodium bicarbonate, commonly known as baking soda, is a salt that occurs in nature usually dissolved in surface and underground waters. It can be used to counteract the gastric acidity, the burning sensation that may happen after very heavy meals or due to an excess of coffee or alcohol, stress and bad habits such as eating fast. The baking soda has in fact an alkalizing effect able to counteract the acidity and, in addition to this, it acts also very quickly but it has contraindications, as it ...
Rye, herbal remedy
Secale cereale, or rye, is not only an ingredient for a very tasty and healthy bread, but it is the basis of different herbal preparations, such as the glycerin macerate obtained from the young roots of the cereal. This remedy is particularly indicated to treat problems of the liver, such as hepatitis but it can also be used during the period that follows hepatitis with elevated transaminases, or in case of jaundice or cirrhosis. In fact, rye glycerin macerate is hepatoprotective and helps the l...
Azuki bean, scientific name Vigna angularis, is a plant belonging to the Fabaceae or Leguminose family, its fruits are pods that contain the seeds, commonly known as azuki beans. These red colored seeds are purchased all over the world and eaten in different cooking preparations. Azuki are also considered the king of the beans and in fact they are rich in mineral salts such as potassium, valid ally against water retention, zinc, with an antioxidant action, iron and molybdenum, essential for the ...
Blood orange is a type of orange, citrus sinensis, characterized by a dark orange-intense red colored flesh and by amazing healthy properties that make it, among all the citrus fruits, one of the best choices to put on the table. The distinctive dark red flesh is due to the presence of anthocyans that are powerful antioxidant substances that counteract the free radicals and protect from cancers. And the more intense the shades of red and purple of the flesh the more anthocyans are contained. Beh...
The black-berried honeysuckle, scientific name Lonicera nigra, belongs to the family of the Caprifogliaceae. It looks like a bushy shrub and from its young shoots a glycerin macerate with interesting healthy properties is obtained. The remedy has indeed an anti-catarrhal and mucus-thinning action, calms the cough and protects the liver. For this reason you can use this glycerin macerate to treat coughs and bronchitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, laryngitis, aphonia and hoarseness. The glycerin mac...
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