Wild weeds and herbal medicine

Common weed that works magic
I’ve never been particularly fond of weedy wild yellow flowers with strong smells and sticky leaves and stems, but Inula Viscosa is quite fascinating. In south Italy this local version of horseheal flowers profusely through the winter, and it has been used in traditional folk medicine since Roman times.

According to Plinius “the Inula plant strengthens the teeth, when prepared it is used against cough, boiled juice of its roots evict worms, dried and crushed to powder it is used against cough and a medicine for stomach cramps and against stomach gases, it is useful for healing of poisonous animals bites”. Who needs antibiotics?

The plant is a Mediterranean kind of Elecampane,  name after its place of origin in Campania and its connection with Helen of Troy.  This daughter of Zeus cried so much, when she was abducted by a Trojan prince that the yellow flowers sprung from her tears. Afterwards her husband took revenge by starting the Trojan war. Aggressions  might have been prevented, if they had tried some of Helen’s herbal remedy, as Elecampane also helped to sustain the spirit.

Julia Augusta, said Plinius, let no day pass without eating some of the roots of Inula condired, to help digestion, and cause mirth.

Perhaps we should all follow her example?

More wild weeds and flowers

Flowers in Italy

Salad recipe with wild herbs

Splashes of spring along Ancona’s hills

wild weeds

3 replies
  1. Maria Falvey
    Maria Falvey says:

    So many plants can be used to heal and for a good number of other things. I had iced coffee yesterday in a plastic to-go cup that was made from plants.


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