The computer screen shows the digital image of an old newspaper, kept in the library of the University of Innsbruck. The pages are ancient, yellowed by time, and the Gothic writing on the header shows the date, December 29, 1888. Pieces of news of the time are reported, but one page in particular attracts our attention. It is a sort of price list of drugs sold in the pharmacies of the time. Among ointments for gout and powders that promise to counteract fatigue, the mysterious Englischer Wunderbalsam stands out, or wonderful English balm, an ancient ointment made through the maceration of herbs and spices in alcohol. But what fascinates us most is to discover that the Wunderbalsam recipe has not been lost, but still kept in convents and pharmacies that every day make this very special remedy, excellent for treating canker sores, wounds, but also poor digestion and intestinal problems, such as bloating, fermentation and abdominal cramps. We want to know more and so we immerse ourselves in reading. And here we relive, as if by magic, before our eyes, ancient scenes in which wise herbalists closed in their shops crushed, chopped and mixed roots and plants to obtain something unique, special and powerful, as only a product obtained from the essences of nature can be, like Wunderbalsam, the wonderful balm.
English wonderful balm, properties
The wonderful balm is prepared by macerating certain roots, spices and plants, such as gentian, rhubarb, aloe, black turmeric, myrrh and saffron. Gentian stimulates the work of the liver, detoxifies, counteracts inflammations of the gastric mucosa and improves the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and digestion (Azman et al, Antioxidants, 2014). Not only that, gentian root macerates are known for their anti-inflammatory and healing action in case of wounds (Mirzaee et al, J Tradit Complement Med, 2017). Aloe also protects digestion, reduces hyperacidity and is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and healing (Sanchez et al, Molecules, 2020). Rhubarb is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, stimulates digestion and counteracts constipation (Xiang et al, Chim Med, 2020). Zedoarium or black turmeric protects the stomach, supports its functionality and fights inflammation (Yoshioka et al, Inflamm Res, 1998). Saffron is antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and protects the liver (Zeinali et al, Iran J Basic Med Sci, 2019). Finally, myrrh is antibacterial and antifungal, promotes wound healing, protects the oral cavity from canker sores and inflammation (Al Eid et al, Saudi Dent J, 2021).
Wonderful English balm, let's make it together
Get some spirit at 40°. Pour a liter of spirit into a wide-necked bottle. Add 10 grams of gentian root, 10 grams of rhubarb root, 10 grams of aloe, the leaves must be cleaned and cut into pieces, 5 grams of zedoary or black turmeric, 5 grams of myrrh, 0.5 grams of saffron. Let it sit for 15 days near a heat source, shake it every day. Then filter and pour into another bottle. Store in a cool, dry place.
Wonderful English balm, how to take it
Before each use, shake the bottle. In case of digestive problems or large meals, you can take 1 ml of the preparation in a little water after eating. In case of sore throat, canker sores and inflammation of the oral cavity, dilute a spoon in a glass of warm water and use to rinse or gargle. In case of wounds, insect bites and irritation you can resort to compresses with gauze soaked in the wonderful balm.