Aromatics have been popular since ancient times for their many virtues. Of course, they have always been used in the kitchen as seasonings, but their great success is mainly due to their use in folk medicine. There was no convent that did not have an area completely dedicated to their cultivation. Many of these qualities have been demonstrated by scientific research; clearly to have significant effects the active ingredients must be extracted and concentrated according to precise procedures.
On the other hand, by using these fresh or dried plants, in small doses, we can find relief from slight ailments and diseases. Some of them are very valuable and we should always grow a jar of them on the balcony or in the garden.
Thyme is absolutely one of the most precious aromatic for our greeting. In fact, it is rich in active ingredients especially useful to combat respiratory diseases. Thymol has proved to be effective as a fluidifier for the bronchi, as well as having an interesting anticoagulant action.
At home it can be used in many ways: during the winter we can prepare an herbal tea by boiling a tablespoon of leaves for about ten minutes: it will help to breathe better and will also relieve headaches. By increasing the concentration of leaves, we will obtain a compound useful for making suffumigations, in case of closed nose and heaviness to the bronchi. A few minutes will be enough
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It is one of the most common aromatic oils in vegetable gardens and on window sills: it is precious for cooking and for its many herbal uses.
We can use it to flavour cheese, meat and fish dishes, but it is also excellent in desserts. It is a valuable source of vitamins, saponins, estrogens and mucilages. It is used to regulate perspiration, to relieve swelling in the legs, to facilitate digestion and as a calming agent for abrasions or irritations of the skin or oral mucosa. It has also been shown to have a mild antibacterial effect, useful during respiratory diseases. Only fresh or dried flowering leaves or apexes are used.
Infusions can be made from them or they can be used to make suffumigations. In summer an excellent alternative to coffee is an infusion of sage and lemon. Essential oils should only be used under medical supervision, as they may have interactions with other medicines (or even be harmful).
Chives, like many alliaceae, are especially valuable when used raw. It is worth adding it often to our food because it is rich in vitamin C, B2, K, calcium, phosphorus and iron: filling the deficiencies of these elements is useful for improving the elasticity of blood vessels and circulation. It is therefore recommended to include it in salads, on fresh cheeses and lastly on white meats and fish. It also finds good matches in summer desserts, for example in a fresh match with lemon or mint
It is also used in cosmetics: it is of great help for oily skin. We can use a lotion obtained by boiling the stems. An excellent toning and refreshing mask is obtained by blending the lotion with cucumber pulp.
Laurel is one of the most widely used aromas in the kitchen: many meat or fish dishes would not have the same taste without its contribution. The leaves should be used shortly after harvesting because the notes change quickly. From a phytotherapeutic point of view, it is rich in vitamin C and A, folic acid, calcium, phosphorus and magnesium. It has a beneficial influence on the stomach and intestines: it favours digestion and relieves irritation of the colon.
Herbal teas can also be used to combat constipation of the respiratory system and as a calming agent for arthritis. In this case, the product can be used either fresh or dried, leaving to infuse for at least 10 minutes. The freshly picked leaves, boiled in a small amount of water, are used in localized pain packs or on the chest, to counteract seasonal ailments.
What aromatic plants to grow in the balcony to improve your health: Dill
Dill is not widely used in Italian cuisine, while it is very popular in northern and central European cuisine. Its taste, similar to that of fennel, goes well with fish and vegetables. Its leaves, however, are very decorative, are also a concentrate of active ingredients and minerals. In particular, it is very rich in potassium, sodium and sulfur compounds: helping the bile secretion promote digestion, especially of fats.
Its seeds, and alternatively those of fennel, have been used for a long time to promote the production of milk in women who have recently given birth, although today it is advisable not to make excessive use of them, since they also contain harmful substances. We can easily obtain an infusion by placing a whole stem in boiling water for a few minutes. To have a more intense taste, instead, we use the dried product, perhaps also containing seeds.
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