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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...
Natural remedies for poor digestion, how to survive the holidays
Sense of fullness, stomach cramps and nausea can be the unpleasant consequences of Christmas’s and New Year’s day dinners and lunches, sometimes too abundant and rich in fatty foods. Fortunately, we can count on good natural remedies to deal with these symptoms. The plants that are the most beneficial and able to improve and support digestion essentially belong to three groups, bitter plants, such as artichoke and dandelion, aromatic plants, for example chamomile, mint, coriander or cardamom, an...
Mu tea is not a particular type of tea but a mixture of herbs and roots able to tone the body, to stimulate the immune system and digestion, to protect the liver and the kidneys, to counteract water retention, fever, hemorrhoids and acne. This blend was formulated in the 50s by the Japanese Georges Ohsawa, considered the father of macrobiotics, and includes from 9 to 16 ingredients. Each ingredient of this special tea brings important healthy properties for different problems and all act in syne...
The peony, scientific name peonia officinalis, of the Peoniaceae family, is a plant that is characterized by large flowers and bright colors. The peony is also called the queen of the flowers of the Celestial Empire since, it is said, the Chinese emperor loved this plant and considered it a symbol of nobility. But the fame of the peony is also intertwined with Greek mythology. In fact, according to the legend, Peone, from which the name peony would derive, healed Pluto, wounded by Hercules, prec...
Kombucha, the immortal health elixir
Kombucha is a fermented and sweetened tea of ancient tradition, consider that the first signs of this drink date back to Chinese dynasty Qin in around 250 B.C.. For Chinese people kombucha was and is the true health elixir, they call it indeed the immortal health elixir, considered able to balance and protect the digestive processes. From China the fame of this drink has grown all over the world and even science is focusing its attention on its healthy properties. Kombucha, what is and propert...
Stinging nettle, the herbal tea for health and beauty
Stinging nettle, scientific name urtica dioica, is a plant belonging to the Urtica genus well known for its action that causes stinging and itching on the skin. The leaves, indeed, are covered by hair that, when breaks, releases a substance that causes the rash. However, it is in fact this substance that makes the nettle so healthy. Stinging nettle is indeed a valuable natural remedy, known and appreciated for centuries for both the wellbeing of the body and the beauty of skin and hair. Stingi...
Lavender, scientific name Lavandula officinalis, is a plant belonging to the Labiate family. It is characterized by a blue-violet inflorescence organized in spikes and by an intense aroma that makes lavender a nice ornamental plant for gardens and balconies. But lavender also has an interesting healthy action. In fact, lavender shows a diuretic, antiseptic, fluidifying, digestive but also calming action recognized by tradition but also proven by scientific studies. Lavender can be used to prepar...
Food combinations and cooking methods, ginger Part 2
Ginger, scientific name Zingiber officinale, is a root with important beneficial properties. It is in fact anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and digestive, protects the heart and the immune system. But how can ginger be taken to maximize these properties? In today's post we see the most important food combinations and healthy preparations with ginger. Fresh, candied or herbal tea - Natural or candied ginger is an excellent ally against nausea. Moreover, if grated fresh on foods, such as fish, veg...
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,...
The Swedish bitter is a preparation obtained by maceration of various medicinal herbs and characterized by several and interesting properties and applications. Its formulation is attributed to Paracelsus, a Swiss doctor, alchemist and astrologer of the sixteenth century who called this powerful and, for that time, truly portentous product, Elixir Ad Longam Vitam, or elixir for a long life. Nowadays we know this natural remedy thanks to the well-known Austrian herbalist Maria Treben who, in her f...
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...
Dressing salad, legumes or cooked vegetables with vinegar to make each dish tastier is often an automatic gesture. But vinegar is not just a condiment that gives character to different recipes, it also has interesting healthy properties that depends on the type of vinegar. Yes, because there is not only wine or apple cider vinegar, but also berry fruit, honey, rice, coconut or raspberry vinegar. The raspberry vinegar is obtained from the fermentation of raspberries and is characterized by import...
Catnip, also known as catmint or catswort, scientific name Nepeta cataria, is a perennial plant belonging to the Lamiaceae family. Catswort has benefits on cats, for these pets in fact it acts as a neuro-active agent, but has also benefits for humans. First at all, it acts as an anti-mosquito repellent. According to a study perfomed by the University of Iowa and presented a few years ago at the meeting of the American Chermical Society, nepetalactone, the essential oil of catswort also responsib...
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 ...
Pineapple, herbal medicine
From the fruit of the pineapple, scientific name Ananassa sativa of the Bromeliaceae family, we obtain a herbal remedy in the form of mother tincture. This mother tincture is characterized by a draining action, is able to stimulate the metabolism and has digestive and remineralizing properties thanks to the presence of mineral salts such as manganese, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, phosphorus and iodine. In addition to this, bromelain, especially present in the pineapple stem, has also an ...
Swiss chard, also known as mangold or silverbeet, scientific name Beta vulgaris, is a green leafy vegetable belonging to the Chenopodiaceae family that includes also the beetroot. Swiss chards are characterized by large green leaves, are rich in folates but contain also water, that makes the chard a diuretic vegetable useful to counteract water retention and cystitis. In addition to this, mangold is a source of mineral salts such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, manganese, selenium and iron and ...
Mace is a spice native to the Moluccas obtained from the internal part of the fruit of a tree, Myristica fragrans. From the same tree is obtained also nutmeg that comes, on the contrary, from the seed and has a more intense and less sweet taste than mace. Mace has vitamins, such as A, C and group B, and mineral salts, such as magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, manganese, selenium and phosphorus, it contains also antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, very useful to counteract free radicals. In a...
The cardoon, or wild artichoke, scientific name Cynara Cardunculus, is a plant of the Asteraceae family, close relative of the artichoke. Typical winter vegetable the cardoon should be eaten cooked due to its very fibrous consistency, it has few calories, 17Kcal for 100 grams, and, as for the cooking preparations, its stems are used, that can reach also remarkable lengths, from 60 to 150 cm. As said, cardoons are very rich in fiber, that helps cleanse the intestine and fight constipation. These ...
The white horehound, scientific name Marrubium vulgare, is a medicinal plant of the Labiate or Lamiaceae family. The remedy was already known to the ancient Egyptians, who used it to treat respiratory affections. Nowadays it is possible to take the mother tincture or to prepare an herbal tea with the horehound and take benefit from its tonic, expectorant, mucus-thinning, antispasmodic, digestive and antiarrhythmic action. Horehound is therefore useful in case of bronchitis, acute and chronic, an...
The Kola nut is the fruit of several species of plants belonging to the genus Cola but it is also the ingredient of a famous drink known all over the world, the cola, although nowadays can be replaced by artificial flavors. The Kola nut is characterized by interesting properties, is indeed rich in tannins, caffeine and theobromine, substances that are released gradually and that are able to stimulate the nervous system, improve blood flow but also boost the metabolism. Therefore, the kola nut pr...
Speedwell, scientific name Veronica officinalis, is a plant of the Plantaginaceae family already known by the ancient Germanic peoples thanks to its beneficial properties. In addition to this, speedwell is also described by the well known herbalist Maria Treben. Speedwell grows spontaneously on dried soils and is characterized by a high purifying action, helps keep under control the cholesterol and is able to prevent atherosclerosis. This plant has a soothing action in case of eczema and itches....
Key lime, scientific name Citrus aurantiifolia, is a citrus that belongs to the Rutaceae family. This fruit, that is often confused with the lemon, is smaller than lemon and has a green peel. If we compare the key lime with the lemon, we can note that the key lime contains less vitamin C but more citric acid, that is very important in order to improve the digestive processes, to fight fat and to prevent kidney stones. Key lime is also rich in antioxidants, vitamins of group B and A, and mineral ...
Muira puama is one of the names given to the Ptychopetalum Ovata, a medicinal plant that belongs to the Olacacee family and is native to Brazil. Muira puama, that translated means wood of power, refers to the tonic, rejuvenating and aphrodisiac properties of the remedy. Muira puama is therefore used in case of general fatigue, tiredness, exhaustion, depression but also loss of libido. This last effect in particular has also been confirmed by several scientific studies, such as the research publi...
The plants of Aloe genus belong to the Aloacee family and are represented by a wide range of succulent varieties but, among them, the most important are aloe barbadendis Miller, also known as aloe vera, and aloe arborescens, both characterized by therapeutic and cosmetic properties. Aloe vera has big and fleshy leaves full of gel, for this reason this type of aloe can be used in cosmetics in order to treat problems of skin, acne, irritations, burns, sunburns, wounds, dandruff and itching, aloe a...
Black cumin seed oil
Black cumin, scientific name Nigella sativa, is an Asian plant belonging to the Ranuncolaceae family. From black cumin seeds through cold pressing an oil with interesting anti-inflammatory, soothing, calming and regenerating properties is obtained. Known since ancient times, in fact a small bottle of black cumin seed oil was found in the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamon, this oil can be used for cooking as well as a cosmetic remedy. Black cumin seed oil helps treat cough, bronchitis, allergic rhiniti...
Calamus, also called sweet flag, is a medicinal plant of the Araceae family whose scientific name is Acorus calamus. The calamus grows along the edges of ponds, swamps and lakes and was already known as a remedy at the time of the ancient Greeks, in fact Galeno, the prominent Greek physician, used this plant as a diuretic. Nowadays the plant is considered an aromatic bitter. Calamus is able to stimulate digestion, is an antispasmodic and has carminative and diuretic properties. The remedy finds ...
From the flowers of the Citrus plants, such as orange, lemon, bergamot, citron and mandarin tree the citrus honey is produced. This honey is characterized by a very light color and a delicate flavor, the scent reminds that of the jasmine or of the flowers of the plants from which the honey is obtained. This type of honey is appreciated, besides for its taste, also for the antispasmodic and sedative properties, ideal against insomnia and agitation, nervousness and irritability. Citrus honey is ve...
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