Althea officinalis

Althea officinalis

Name

The meaning of Althea is “healing herb”. Officinalis (meaning “of the workshop”) is a common species name and it denotes medicinal plants.

Also Known as

  • marsh mallow
  • marshmallow
  • marshmellow
  • common marshmallow

 


 

Identification Keys

  • perennial herbaceous
  • 60-120 cm tall
  • upright, hairy stem with few side branches
  • tough, pliant, long, thick, tapering taproot
  • taproot is pale yellow outside and white and fibrous inside
  • gray-green, stalked leaves
  • coarsely and irregularly toothed, alternate leaves
  • heart-shaped or three to five-lobed leaves toward the bottom
  • oval and pointed leaves toward the top of the stem
  • flowers grow in short, dense cluster from the upper leaves
  • five-petaled, pinkish flowers
  • bushy central column composed of fused stamens
  • dry, flattened, disk-shaped fruit
  • fruit is radially divided into 15 to 20 segments

Bloom Time

  • late summer

Habitat

  • marshes
  • seashore
  • sunny salt marshes
  • coastal areas

Look-alikes

Malva spp. is a related edible species:

  • Malva sylvestris
  • Malva neglecta

 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

root, leaf, flower

Actions

emollient, mucilage, demulcent, vulnerary, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, antitussive, expectorant, diuretic, antilithic, immune enhancer, galactogogue

Systems

Digestion

  • relieves ulcerative colitis, gastritis and peptic ulcers
  • soothes heartburn, IBS and constipation
  • reduces peristalsis
  • relieves diarrhea
  • has a laxative effect if it’s used at larger doses

Respiratory system

  • soothes harsh, dry coughs, sore throats, laryngitis, bronchitis and croup
  • clears catarrh
  • relieves inflammation

Immune system

  • aids production of white blood cells
  • protects against Proteus vulgaris, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Staphylococcus aureus

Urinary system

  • eases passing of gravel and stones
  • relieves irritable bladder, cystitis and urethritis

Reproductive system

  • eases childbirth
  • stimulates flow of breast milk

Externally

  • soothes irritation and inflammation from insect bites and stings
  • used for treating varicose veins, ulcers, abscesses, bruises, sprains, aching muscles
  • treats scalds, burns and sunburns (mixed with Lavandula and flax oil)
  • heals skin in acne, eczema and sore nipples
  • used for mastitis, boils and abscesses as warm poultice
  • treats sore throats (gargle) and inflamed gums (mouthwash)

Food Uses

Parts Used

leaves, roots

Main Uses

potherb

Nutrition

  • good source of vitamin C
  • iron, calcium and copper

Cooking

  • young leaves thicken soups
  • use as cooked vegetable in stews, sauces, or a variety of side dishes
  • use the raw leaves and flowers in salads
  • boil the root, discard the root, boil down the liquid, sweet it and beat it

Recipes


 

Harvesting

Please do not overharvest where this plant it’s rare or you might eradicate it. 

Harvesting Season

  • young leaves:  mid- to late spring
  • flowers and fruits: late summer to fall
  • roots: spring and fall.

Harvesting Methods

  • strip off the young leaves
  • pick the flowers and fruits with your fingers
  • dig up the roots with a digging stick

 


Rosmarinus officinalis - rosemary

Rosmarinus officinalis

Name

The latin name Rosmarinus is a compound word: “Ros” means “Dew” and “Marinus” means “of the sea”. So Rosmarinus stands for “Dew of the Sea” as the plant grows well near the sea-coast and sea-foam sprays upon it.
Officinalis (meaning ‘of the workshop’) is a common species name and it denotes medicinal plants.

Also Known as

  • rosemary
  • sea dew
  • our lady’s rose
  • rosemarine
  • compass weed
  • incensier
  • mary’s mantle
  • old man
  • polar plant

 

Identification Keys

  • perennial herb
  • bushy evergreen shrub
  • height up to 2m
  • aromatic linear, leathery, with enrolled margins leaves
  • leaf size: 2-4cm × 1.2-3.5mm
  • leaf color: bright green and wrinkled above, white-tomentose beneath,
  • stalkless leaves
  • inflorescence and flower stalks with star-shaped hairs almost hairless and distinctly veined
  • calyx 3-4mm when young, later 5-7mm,
  • corolla 10-12mm, pale blue (rarely pink or white)
  • nutlets brown

Bloom Time

  • summer

Habitat

  • full sun
  • sandy, well-limed soil

 


 

Medicine Uses

Parts Used

Aerial parts

Actions

diaphoretic, carminative, emmenagogic, nervine, antioxidant, cholagogue, thymoleptic, decongestant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, circulatory stimulant, febrifuge, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, diuretic

Systems

Digestion

  • protects the gut  from irritation and inflammation
  • reduces diarrhea
  • active against infections
  • stimulates appetite
  • relieves flatulence
  • aids digestion
  • enhances elimination
  • clears toxins

Circulation

  • stimulates circulation, improving peripheral blood flow
  • reduces inflammation and muscle tension
  • reduces migraines and headaches
  • used for arteriosclerosis, chilblains and varicose veins

Respiratory system

  • dispels infection
  • helpful in asthma
  • used for fevers, catarrh, sore throats, colds, flu and chest infections

Mental and emotional

  • improves concentration and memory
  • calms anxiety
  • lifts depression
  • relieves exhaustion and insomnia

Immune system

  • enhance immunity
  • detoxifies poisons
  • relieves arthritis and gout

Urinary system

  • enhances elimination of wastes

Reproductive system

  • reduces heavy menstrual bleeding
  • relieves dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain)

Externally

  • massage the skin for joint pain, headaches and poor concentration

Caution

  • avoid in pregnancy

 


Food Uses

Parts Used

Flowers, Leaves

Main Uses

Seasoning, Tea

Nutrition

  • rich source of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, copper, and magnesium
  • very good amounts of vitamin A
  • exceptionally rich in vitamin B
  • fresh leaves are good source of  vitamin C

Cooking

  • enhances the flavor of any savory or sweet food
  • the leaves flavor is quite strong, use it only sparingly
  • use it to season lamb, rabbit, veal, pork, sausages, poultry, egg dishes, fish, pickles and shellfish
  • flavor oil by adding a few sprigs
  • add to jellies, fruit jams, and cookies
  • use for add extra special flavor to dishes that need asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, eggplants, green beans and peas, zucchini and potatoes
  • use in breads and biscuits
  • soak dried Rosmarinus officinalis in hot water before adding it to uncooked foods
  • the flowers can be candied, preserved, or added to jellies, honey, wine or vinegar

 

Harvesting

  • harvest the rosemary needle leaves throughout the summer
  • in autumn, pick the leaves in the morning for best oil-content and quality
  • use the fresh leaves in dishes immediately after picking them, or dry the leaves

 


delicious bannocks

How to make bannock bread

Bannock is a portable, tasty and easy to make bread. You can cook using little more than a fire and a stick or you can bake or fry it.

It can be used as a stand-alone food or combined with whatever ingredients are on hand: honey, brown sugar, fruits, nuts, berries, garlic, cheese, eggs or bacon.

You can prepare the basic mix and store it in an air tight container such as a zip lock bag. It is relatively light and easy to carry because you need to add water only when you are ready to cook it.

 

Preparation time

15 minutes

Ingredients for 1 serve

  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 2 pinches of baking powder (optional)

Preparation

  • mix the above ingredients well
  • add whatever extra ingredients to the dry bannock mix
  • add water a little at a time until you get the required consistency

Cooking methods

  • ash bannock:
    • roll the bannock dough into a ball and flatten into a thin cake
    • bake it directly over the smoldering coals of a fire
    • turn it occasionally until it’s golden brown
  • stick coil bannock:
    • roll the bannock dough into a long sausage shape
    • coil it around a green, peeled stick
    • hold the stick over the embers
    • rotate until the bannock is golden brown all over
  • baked bannock:
    • pat the bannock dough into a fat tortilla 1 cm thick
    • bake in a fry pan until done
  • fried bannock:
    • pat the bannock dough into a fat tortilla 1 cm thick
    • put the oil in the pan. The quantity of oil determines the texture and crust
    • fry bannock on both sides

 


 

sweet spice mix preparation

The Sweet Spice Mix

The Sweet Spice Mix is a simple and tasty blend of herbs that you can sprinkle on cereal, fruit or any kind of dessert. It enhances any sweet dish.

Preparation time

5 minutes, if you’ve already grounded each ingredient

Ingredients

  • 4 tbs. Cinnamomum spp. (cinnamon), ground
  • 4 tsp. dried Mentha piperita (peppermint), ground
  • 4 tsp. Illicium verum (star anise), ground
  • 4 tsp. Coriandrum sativum (coriander) seeds, ground
  • 2 tsp. powdered Zingiber officinale (ginger), ground
  • 1 tsp. Syzygium aromaticum (cloves), ground
  • 1 tsp. Elettaria cardamomum (cardamom), ground

Preparation

  • Mix all ingredients together and store in a jar


world map

Around the world without flying

My friend and colleague Federico Cicchi is completing preparations for making his dream a reality: travel around the world in slow motion. He’ll use all means of transport but the airplane, giving back space and time the value and importance they deserve.
His trip is organized in three steps.

 

  1. He’ll arrive in Brazil with a cargo ship and then he’ll cross America from Cape Horn to Alaska, riding a 50cc motorbike. This journey’ll set a new Guinness World Record.
  2. From Alaska, he will cross the whole Canada reaching New York and then Chicago. From Chicago he’ll follow the mythical route 66 to Los Angeles.
  3. He’ll sail the Pacific with another cargo ship reaching New Zealand and Australia. From there, he’ll move north to take Trans-Siberian Railway in Mongolia to return in Europe

 

 
You can follow his adventure on his site: WithoutFlying.