The Fidelity Plant

BIBITherapy_Rosemary Blossom

Among friends, there is no secret by now that I am in love with blue. So there you have it another bluish blossoming plant that not only is heavenly beautiful, it is a feast for the senses and it is also tremendously important for our computing centre.  The plant is none other than Rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis or Salvia Rosmarinus new scientific name since 2017. There plant may have pink white or blue flowers depending on the cultivar.

Symbol of love, fidelity and loyalty rosemary has been connected to memory for centuries. Ancient Greek students were known to wear rosemary garlands around their neck during their exams.

So why writing this blog, since my splendiferous blue rosemary is not in season anymore. Well it is because the reason behind is REMEMBERING its beauty and colossal benefits that are attached to it. But more importantly it is because it is Christmas time again and the plant can be used as a little Christmas tree.

Again if you have a green thumb, go grab a seedling or two from Bunnings and plant it in your front yard. It will not disappoint you and you can even grow it next to your sage if you planted it already.

Properties: Rosemary has a unique aroma which is a mix of camphoraceous, floral and herbaceous depending on variety. The plant has highly medicinal properties, so that is why it has been used since ancient of times. B no means the list provided here is a complete one:

  • Anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic
  • Anti-nociceptive: inhibits the sensation of pain which goes through nerves to the brain
  • Digestive improver
    • Cholerectic – improves the volume of bile produced, thus easing the digestion of fats resulting in better cleansing of the gut system.
    • Cholagogue – stimulates the discharge if bile acids
    • Carminative _ helps expelling intestinal gas

Benefits: In the following you will discover two of the most prevalent benefits of this marvellous plant.

#1 Rosemary as Anti-Rheumatic Pain Agent Fighter

This plant is packed with anti-oxidants: two of which are the caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid that can help our health system suppress unruly inflammatory enzymes and enable us to regain the balanced health. Knowing first-hand what rheumatic pain is and how it affects my daily activities, I have used the plant in both teas and essential oil as topical application. As it is well known that the mode of administration of chemicals make a significant difference in terms of the level of the response, the topical application worked better to alleviate my pains. This benefit comes from the fact that the rosemary essential oil is anti-nociceptive and analgesic in nature. It is also backed-up by science (Degner et al 2009). Topical application of diluted essential oil (5 drops of essential rosemary oil to one table spoon of carrier oil) massaging the aching joints or muscles. I also like grinding it and use it as a salt enhancer.

#2 Rosemary as Clear Mind and Increased Mental Awareness Agent

Mental fog is unquestionably exasperating. Confused… distracted… lacking metal clarity and focus… never knowing what on earth is happening that nothing gets finished. Although, “brain fog” is not a medical condition, it affects one’s daily life negatively and more often than not, the coffee machine is the one we tend to surrender to. Well interestingly enough, recent studies show that not only brain fog is fixable without the coffee boost but also it affects in a positive way the alpha brain waves leading to decreased depression. This can happen only resorting to inhaling the unparalleled rosemary fragrance (Sayorwan et al, 2013). Furthermore, consumed in culinary quantities, was found to be beneficial for improving the cognitive function in the elderly Pengelly, et al 2012).

Highly recommended for use as a diffuser in the car during this holiday season when one needs to stay super alert if driving on a long distance trip

Rosemary oil can be found at any chemist pharmacy these days; one drop of oil on a tissue will surely energise the brain better than a coffee.

Rosmarinus officinalis essential oil is usually regarded as nontoxic, non-sensitising and non-irritant when used in sufficient dilution. However, individuals with hypersensitive skin should manifest caution. Furthermore, it is safer not to be used in pregnancy. The plant, Rosmarinus officinalis has no known toxicity and has no contraindications in culinary preparations.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Degner et al, 2009, Complementary and Alternative Therapies and the Aging Population, pp: 541-562, Chapter 26:Health Benefits of Traditional Culinary and Medicinal Mediterranean Plants https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123742285000263

Sayorwan et al, Sci Pharm., 2013, 81(2): 531–542. Effects of Inhaled Rosemary Oil on Subjective Feelings and Activities of the Nervous System. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3700080/

Pengelly et al, J of Med Food, 2012, 15(1) .Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population, https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/jmf.2011.0005

The Salvation Plant

Flowers of Salvia Oficinalis Plant

3 Science-Based Benefits Everyone Should Know About

The Plant: There are a several forms of sage that are cultivated for their use as a culinary or medicine herb. This blog is about the most common one is the common sage: Salvia officinalis. Sage’s botanical name, Salvia, mean the “Salvation Plant”, name given for a good reason, as you will discover in the next few paragraphs.

Sage blossoms bring a smile on my face every time I see them in my little front yard. And Oh dear do they smell heavenly wonderful. If I close my eyes I can even remember their scent. Do you find this odd?

But let’s get back to why do I write this blog? Yes! Yes, you guessed: it’s sage season Melbourne! So I am here to remind YOU to enjoy the benefits of this wonder-magic plant. I just made-up this word and hope the reader is not too offended.

So my advice to you, whether you have a green thumb or not, go buy some seedlings of the common sage and plant it in your front yard or back yard. It is useful and it adds beauty to your garden as it can grow in beautiful shrub. And I can assure you: the possum friend will not eat it!

Benefits: In the following I will provide you with the most common and scientifically-backed benefits that I also have tested.

#1 Sage as Cholesterol Balancing Agent

This plant is packed with loads of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that can help our health system restore without any nasty secondary effects. Most importantly, its bioactive components, antioxidants (Jakovljevic et al, 2019), in the form of polyphenols have been researched extensively by many reputable Laboratories. Turns out that drinking only a cup of sage tea twice daily for about 2-4 weeks is able to balance the cholesterol: increasing the levels of the “good” one (HDL) while lowering the levels of the “bad” guy (LDL) (Sa et al, 2009).

#2 Sage as Remedy for Hot Flushes in Menopausal Women

Hormonal balance is out of whack when experiencing hot flushes. The fridge is never cold enough and daily hot flushes are not something one wishes to experience. Good news is that drinking sage tea daily for a period of two months has positive effects, reducing the intensity and frequency of hot flushes (Bommer, et al, 2011). The tea can be made from either fresh flowers or dried plant.

#3 Sage as Mental Acuity Improver

Essential oil from Sage (Perry et al, 2003), can help alleviate symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease. It improves digestion and it also helps improve brain neuropathways. Most notably, after 6 weeks of being exposed to the oil of sage. In the referenced study the volunteers were given 2 drops of the oil. Since this involves the ingestion of an essential oil, it is best to consider using the sage plant fresh or dried in food or consumed as beverage.

The plant, Salvia officinalis and its oil has no known toxicity and has no contraindications. My preferred way to use it is to drink an infusion during the day. In order to get the wonderful benefits sage has on offer I also like grinding it and use it as a salt enhancer.

Guess what tea am I sipping while writing this blog?

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition Diva, I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Bommere et al, Adv. Ther., 2011,28(6):490-500, First time proof of sage’s tolerability and efficacy in menopausal women with hot flushes. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21630133/

Jakovljevic M. et al, Plants (Basel Switzerland), 2019:,8(3) Bioactive Profile of Various Salvia officinalis L. Preparations, . https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30845696

Sa et al, Int J Mol Sci. 2009:10(9):3937-50, Sage tea drinking improves lipid profile and antioxidant defences in humans. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19865527

Perry et al, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2003:75(3):651-659, Salvia for dementia therapy, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12895683/

Secrets of a Sticky Weed

Spring is here and with it Weeeeeeds!

They are everywhere.

I hate them! I love them! I hate them I …..use their secrets holistically!

You guessed, I have again the Herbalist Hat on.

Today I choose one weed that used to bother me a lot in the past.

It turned out that it was the weed that my body needed the most in the process of recovering from some serious autoimmune illnesses I have been blessed with.

This plant, Cleavers (Galium aparine), is known under many different names including sticky weed, Velcro plant or goose grass. It grows everywhere in my garden and I cannot say it is my favourite. Every time I collect it, inevitably I also get a little skin irritation.

The plant is edible, leaves, stems as well as the fruits, mostly cooked. Due to its clinging nature (Auld B.A. and Medd, 1987) it is less palatable when attempting to eat it raw.

This sticky plant harbours many secrets. The ancient Greeks used the stems in the form of a coarse colander to strain milk. In Anatolia the plant is known these days as the Yogurt plant, because of an enzyme that curdles the milk. Similar uses of the plant are in practice in Sweden as well.

Benefits. Current research on Cleavers and its use for human consumption is sparse. However, the very many chemical constituents, including but not limited to monotropein, asperuloside, tannins, flavonoids or polyphenolic acids (Deliorman et al, 2001) demonstrate that the plant pharmacological properties are yet to be demonstrated by the modern science. Therefore the secrets this plant possess are about to be unveiled by modern science.

Given the lack of substantiated evidence I will mention only the very well-known applications of Galium aparine (Maud, 1971), as outlined below:

  • Slimming effect: possible due to the asperuloside component, known to increase metabolic rate in mammals;
  • Supports the lymphatic system
    • Promotes lymphatic drainage;
    • Breaks up lymphatic congestion (enlarged lymph nodes) especially in the pelvis,
    • Acts in general as a lymphatic tonic;
  • Diuretic;
  • Choleretic: it stimulates the flow of the bile;
  • Can be used as a coffee substitute: dried and roasted fruits of the cleavers;
  • Its medicinal effects are great if used in soups;
  • Cosmetic benefits
    • Hair tonic : rinsing the hair with cleavers tea infusion;
    • Facial rejuvenation and anti-wrinkles action.

The plant has no known toxicity and has no contraindications.

Best ways to use the plant is to drink a stronger infusion during the day.

Harvesting the plant: should be performed while the plant is in the growing stage with its bright green foliage.

How to use it: Teas and facial cleanser

#1 Diuretic Cleavers Infusion Tea

  • 3 table spoon of dried plant
  • 500 ml boiling water ;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;
  • Strain and drink throughout the day.

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow. It has a gentle purgative action due to a chemical in the plant called asperuloside. It also aids the bile. Drink small quantities during the day.

# 2 Natural Facial Cleanser

Cleavers makes an excellent facial cleanser and wash. The chemical components in the form of acids, polyphenolic, tannic and citric acids help tightening the skin. Excellent against those wrinkles and sags we all want to get rid of as the skins matures due to aging.

  • 1/3 cup of dried Galium aparine
  • 500 ml boiling water
  • Let the plant steep for a good hour
  • Wash the face as you would any other facial cleanser.
  • To be effective it has to be used several times a week.

So what are we all waiting for? Let’s gather Galium aparine before going to seeds and enjoy a detox cuppa!

What a great secret gift we have with this sticky weed.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Auld B.A. and Medd, R. W., Weeds – an illustrated botanical guide to weeds of Australia, 1987, (2nd Ed), Melbourne, Inkata Press. https://trove.nla.gov.au/work/9658129?selectedversion=NBD4476220

Deliorman D. et al, Pharmaceutical Biology, 2001:39(3):234-235, Iridoids from Galium aparine. https://doi.org/10.1076/phbi.39.3.234.5928

Grieve, Maud , 1971. “Clivers”. A Modern Herbal: The Medicinal, Culinary, Cosmetic and Economic Properties, Cultivation and Folklore of Herbs, Grasses, Fungi, Shrubs, & Trees with All Their Modern Scientific Uses, Volume 1. Dover Publications. p. 206. ISBN 9780486227986

The Violets Season

Welcome back my dear reader! My love for nature and its wonders is growing to such a speed that I have forgot to post my monthly blog in July and August is almost gone.. He! He!

So coming back to plants, there are so many that I have progressively started to love and introduce in my daily use. Today, my focus is on one of my favourite weed from my garden: the sweet violet (Viola Odorata). It’s in season at the moment and delights the eye as well as the smell.

But little did we know that the sweet violets, flowers and leaves, are edible as well as have medicinal properties. Their extravagant perfume has been appreciated by many in the past history. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte was attracted by the soothing sweet aroma that makes one smile. He was known to his supporters the Corporal Violet.

A snippet about Napoleon’s love for violets: Violets are native to the Mediterranean, including Napoleon’s home island of Corsica. Therefore he would have been very familiar with the adorable happy little hardy flowers. Perhaps he may as well have picked violet bouquets for his mother as a boy. What we know for sure from history books is that the sweet scent of violets was the favourite fragrance of his first wife, Josephine. Not only she wore violets on her wedding day but every year, on the anniversary of their marriage, Napoleon sent her a bouquet of violets. Napoleon would wear a perfume specially made for him with violet base. (Kane, 2015)

According to the “doctrine of Signatures” herbs will have the shape, color, texture of the organ/system are good to use as remedy. In the case of the Viola, it resembles the heart shape; therefore it would mend an emotionally broken heart. Since time immemorial this humble, yet powerful plant has been used for many ailments. Current research on Viola demonstrated that its chemical constituents, in the form of alkaloids, salicylate, saponin, mucilage, or vitamin C are responsible for the acclaimed therapeutic applications (Chandra 2015) including:

  • Heart tonic both emotional as well as for physical pain;
  • Respiratory conditions;
  • Purification of the blood;
  • Treatment of skin bruises, acne or rashes.

So how can we use the plant to gain such powerful benefits?

I will share two of my favs:

A word of caution: this is a VERY powerful plant: one must use it with care in very small quantities: the saponin component from the plant may cause some stomach for some people.

#1 Violet Tea

  • Infuse 1 teaspoon of dried violet flowers in a 250 grams of warm water;
  • Let it sit for a good 20 minute;

This tea is useful to stimulate the lymphatic flow and aid the liver in purifying the blood. Furthermore it helps expectorate mucus when respiratory problems are present. Additionally, if consumed before bed time, the aroma of the flowers calms the nervous system and helps the mind to quiet down for a restful sleep.

# 2 Violet Flower Fermented Cooling Drink

This one is a very old recipe I learned of from my grandmother.

Ingredients

  • One cup clean sweet violets (viola odorata);
  • 3 Litres of water preferably boiled and cooled;
  • 5 table spoon of honey;
  • The juice from one lemon or a table spook of Apple cider vinegar;

Method:

  • Place all ingredients in a 4 litre wide open jar and let it rest/ferment at room temperature for 7-10 days.
  • Decant and distribute the syrup in flip-top bottles and place the bottles in a safe place to ferment further for up to five days or drink immediately. CAUTION: fermentation will happen more quickly in warmer temperatures. Carefully ensure that all bottles are checked for the carbonation level and release the carbon dioxide during this time. Store the bottles in a cool place.

This drink is wonderful to clear heat and detoxify.

What a great gift we have with this little purple flower.

Disclaimer: I am a qualified holistic wellness, herbalist aromatherapist and nutrition guide; I am not a medical doctor or nurse and do not play one on the internet. Always check with a doctor or medical professional if a medical need arises.

References

Chandra, et al. Curent research in Chemistry,2015, 7:44-52, Phytochemical and Ethnomedicinal Uses of Family Violaceae, https://scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=crc.2015.44.52

Kane, 2015, The Return of Corporal Violet https://regencyredingote.wordpress.com/2015/03/06/the-return-of-corporal-violet/