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Chicory - Cichorium intybus
Habitat: wild and cultivated from the plain to the mountains.
Very common and well-known, it grows spontaneously in the meadows or cultivated in vegetable gardens, presents in full bloom the characteristic flowers of an intense blue sky. Chicory contains cicorina and other bitter principles that make it very valuable and important as a tonic, digestive, laxative and purifying. Not only that, but the salt contained in the chicory - potassium nitrate - is an effective stimulant of the kidneys to which it facilitates the release of the blood from all the impurities contained in it.
The most used therapeutically is the decoction of chicory which is prepared by boiling a good handful of chicory in half a liter of water. Three glasses of this decoction will be drunk a day, on an empty stomach, prolonging the cure for several days. In short, a complete and effective general purification will be carried out, and various impurities and affections will also disappear from the skin, thanks to the greater activity developed by the liver and intestines. This purifying and invigorating cure of liver and intestinal functions can be replaced or, better, completed by abundant feasts of fresh chicory seasoned with oil and lemon. The stomach - thanks to the active ingredients contained in fresh chicory - will assume a more harmonious rhythm, will digest better and, finally, it will be able to bear even some sins of the throat.
Prolonged care of this bitter salad serves, with sometimes surprising results, to firm the breast, toning its muscles. So here we are at our complete disposal one of those medicinal plants that are easy to find is true, but with very effective and often unknown active and medicinal ingredients. Growing from spring to autumn, the chicory also enables us to provide, at any time, a healthy and complete purifying action. A care that, in an increasingly unrestrained world, in an increasingly polluted atmosphere, in the presence of foods that are not always genuine, if not sophisticated, makes each day more necessary, indeed indispensable, such as a good sleep or a long relaxing walk in the woods.
Chicory - Hazel - Pine
Hazel - Corilus avellana
Habitat: from the plain to the mountain area.
The hazel leaves are still sought after to give the purity and freshness desired to the skin.
The substance contained in these leaves has a strong astringent action, improves the state of the too dilated pores, reducing the fatty secretion; it also has an effective toning action on the skin so as to make it fresh and white like that of children and this action has all its effectiveness especially on those people who, for having lived in unhealthy environments or for having abused chemical poultice, accuse a wrinkled and collapsed skin; it serves, finally, to make blackheads disappear and to dampen freckles.
For these reasons, whether you want to keep your beauty intact, or you want to correct all those imperfections mentioned above, use the decoction of hazel leaves, with which you will often wash, thus managing to remove the patina from the face weather.
To complete this beauty treatment based on hazel leaves it will be advisable to suggest some other plants with ... aesthetic effects.
Wraps of young grass from slightly beaten lawn tones the skin by rejuvenating the tissues.
The hydrogen peroxide, used to brown hair and which too often damages beauty and health, can be replaced by a centaurea decoction - also called biondella - with which you will wash your hair.
And finally, a practical suggestion to increase the charm of your eyes. Let two pinches of elderflower soak in one hundred grams of almond oil. With this medicinal oil, the edges of the eyelids and eyelashes are greased every evening: the results will be excellent and ... fascinating.
Pine - Pinus sylvestris
Habitat: woods in mountain areas.
Everyone knows the scent of a pine forest, that sense of relief and liberation that is felt by breathing in the balsamic atmosphere. This is due to the resins which, in the form of tiny invisible droplets, are scattered all around by the majestic plants that adorn our mountains.
There are many benefits of the various parts of the resinous plants on our body and on our respiratory system in particular.
A decoction prepared with twenty grams of Scots pine leaves and a liter of water, and drunk during the day, is an effective cure against spiky and catarrhal coughs that can be completed by leaving a vase in which it has been opened open near your bed collecting the resin of the Scots pine.
For rheumatic and gouty people, the decoction is excellent, prepared with thirty grams of gems per liter of water and drunk in half-liter cups a day.
Against inflammations and phlegm at the bladder, take thirty grams of pine buds and pour a liter of boiling water over them, leaving to infuse for about half an hour. Strain and drink a large glass a day of this beneficial infusion.
For all those who suffer from inflammation in the throat, or have their vocal organs in a bad state, or subjected to particular wear and tear as in the case of singers, speakers, preachers, professors and so on, a cure indicated, indeed indispensable, is that of so called ciorciole, the pine cones or fruit of the pine. Take three crushed pine cones and boil them in half a liter of water. With this decoction - once it has cooled down - four gargles a day. The results will be surprising, as long as you have the foresight to use fresh pine cones that are conserved, for the winter, in a vase of water, because the dry ones have no medicinal action.
What has been mentioned about the active principles of the various parts of the Scots pine, applies equally to the parts of the other forest species, from the black pine to the maritime pine, from the mountain pine to the fir tree.
Ferrante Cappelletti Herbal health Medicinal plants of the Alps Publilux Trento 1977
Chicory - Cichorium intybus (photo www.herbworld.com)