Medicinal herbs from the Alps

Medicinal herbs from the Alps

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Rhubarb - Rheum officinalis

Habitat: mountain areas of Tibet over 2,000 m.

The medicinal rhubarb is above all the Chinese one whose root is used, hard and compact almost like a bone. This root has undoubtedly enormous advantages, its use however is contraindicated for those suffering from oxalic renella (oxalic acid that is eliminated in the urine), for those who experience a stunted blood circulation in the superficial veins and, therefore, in a particular way for hemorrhoid sufferers and, above all, for mothers who breastfeed their babies. Rhubarb, on the other hand, out of these cases and taken in small doses, stimulates appetite, avoids those boring and dangerous acid fermentations that cause eruption, brings significant benefits to those suffering from catarrhal forms in the stomach and intestines, finally promotes liver functions exciting the bile. It is also a mild laxative, that is, capable of systematically regulating the functions of the intestine, simultaneously curbing stubborn diarrheal functions. For this purpose it is taken pulverized in the measure of two or three grams in a cachet. Rhubarb, again, is a medicine very suitable for children, especially if rickety or scrofulous. For those who want to make an energetic cure, especially when, after an easy influence, the organism remains in its obstinate sluggishness, slow to regain the necessary energy and the stomach is weak, out of phase, slow and without tone, there is only to resort to a medicine natural, the famous wine of health.
It is prepared by macerating eighty grams of Chinese rhubarb, thirty grams of bitter orange bark and three or four cardamon seeds in a liter of marsala. The mixture is left to infuse for ten days, shaking occasionally. At the end we filter and drink four glasses of this miraculous and truly effective health wine a day. Remember that rhubarb grown in our gardens does not have the therapeutic efficacy of the original Chinese one. Its large palmate leaves, however, used in the kitchen, validly and qualitatively replace spinach.

Rhubarb - Sage - Valerian

Sage - Salvia officinalis

Habitat: arid sunny places from the plain to the sub-mountain areas.

Its healing virtues are very vast and known since ancient times. These healing virtues are given by the tannic acid, the resin and the essential oil contained in the sage and which therefore enhance it for its tonic, digestive, anti-sweat, cardiotonic and decongestant properties.
In the case of angine, laryngitis or swollen and bleeding gums, or foot and mouth or bad breath, excellent results are obtained with the sage decoction, obtained by boiling five grams of flowering tops of sage in a glass of water. This decoction is preciously used for mouth rinses and gargles.
Five grams of this powder mixed with eighty grams of honey constitute an effective expectorant to be taken in the measure of a good spoon in the morning and in the evening.
A strong decoction also serves very well in case of malarial fevers, while a hot bath, in which five handfuls of sage leaves have been macerated, invigorates making all symptoms of tiredness and oppression disappear.
Against rebel coughs and deep catarrhs, a decoction can be used which has a truly miraculous calming action. It is prepared by boiling together, for twenty minutes, until it has reached a syrupy consistency, a hectogram of sage leaves, a hectogram of sugar and half a liter of white wine of a good vintage. Pass the resulting decoction and take a teaspoon every 2 or 3 hours.
Even the teeth will have certain benefits, rubbing them often with some fresh sage leaves. Against excessive sweating there is an excellent infusion to be taken every night before bedtime. It is prepared by pouring a quarter of a liter of boiling water on about thirty sage leaves.
Even in chest diseases, the sage decoction, to be taken in the size of a large cup a day, prolonging the treatment for months, has given surprising effects.
So here is a fundamental plant for our health, which is within everyone's reach ... vegetable gardens.

Valerian - Valeriana officinalis

Habitat: sunny humid places from the plain to the mountain areas.

Valerian grows in the damp of the woods or on the banks of the winding waters, a plant that develops erect and elegant for more than a meter in height, adorned with white-pink flowers arranged in bunches and characterized by a short and large root. The medicinal value of this plant lies precisely in the root with which the most varied medicines can be prepared.
It is collected by tearing it from the ground, it dries perfectly in the sun and is kept in a tightly closed pot, to prevent the fetid and pungent smell that emanates from the root from softening the whole house. This smell is caused by an essential oil that has the characteristic of giving calm and serenity, without the heart, stomach or brain suffering from it for prolonged use and without prolonged care over time can lead to habituation phenomena .
The root, therefore, is suitable for those who often feel their heart beating irregularly and nervously, for those who find it difficult to sleep, for those suffering from swelling of the stomach or intestines, for those who frequently complain of migraines, nervous attacks, convulsions, women, and finally, to alleviate the numerous critical age disorders.
In all these cases, the lymph is used, obtained by pouring a liter of boiling water on twenty-five grams of valerian root and leaving it to stand for about three quarters of an hour.
Then you strain and drink a glass of this infusion several times a day, according to the need or intensity of the complaints. To mitigate the bad smell of the infusion and make it more palatable, you can add a few drops of mint to it.
Valerian tincture, which is always used to treat the aforementioned ailments in a more complete way, is prepared by macerating, for eight days, twenty-five grams of roots in seventy grams of water. Everything is runny, squeezing very hard. 15-20 drops of this valerian tincture are also taken five or six times a day, as needed.
Valerian, therefore, is among the best natural calming and tranquilizers that helps to face daily worries with the necessary serenity, taking care of the swirling wear and tear of our nervous system.

Ferrante Cappelletti Herbal health Medicinal plants of the Alps Publilux Trento 1977

Rhubarb - Rheum officinalis (photo H. Zell)