SAGE (lat. Salvia officinalis)
Sage is an aromatic, perennial Mediterranean subshrub that grows to 30 to 40 cm in height. The leaves are oblong and narrow, grey-green, velvety and hairy on both sides and up to 8 cm long. Two-lipped flowers form whorls on the top of the stems. It blooms from May to June and the flowers are purple-blue. It grows wild on dry and rocky terrains near the sea. It likes sunny places and is sensitive to wind and cold. In winter it freezes to the root from which dense leafy stems shoot up in spring.
NETTLE (lat. Urtica dioica L.)
Common nettle is one of the most famous and most spread plants. It is perennial and it can grow up to 1.5 metres in height. It has a ramified creeping underground stem and erect hairy square stem. The leaves are borne oppositely, green, heart-shaped, with serrated margins and very hairy. Nettle stings due to these hairs which, in contact with the skin, release histamine and formic acid. It prefers nutritious and humid soil. It blooms from May to September. The flowers are small and green in dense axillary inflorescences. Nettle is rich in minerals so it is good to grow it in the garden. Uncontrolled spreading is prevented by regular trimming before blooming (especially before going to seed) and controlling the new shoots from the root. Nettle manure is ideal for the protection of garden plants. A kilogram of fresh nettle should be poured over by 10 litres of boiling water and leave it for several days to ferment. For watering, the manure is used diluted. 1 litre of liquid manure is diluted with 10 litres of water.
FENNEL (lat. Foeniculum vulgare Mill.)
It usually grows in the Mediterranean region on terrains in the vicinity of the sea. Fennel is biennial or perennial plant of pleasant and sweet aromatic smell. In the first year leaves grow out of the thickened root, and up to two metres high stem with leaves and flowers grows in the second year. The stem is round, blue-green and ramified in the upper part, and the leaves consist of many tiny leaves. Fennel belongs to the family of Umberlliferae (Apiceae) because the yellow flowers are borne in umbrella inflorescences. Every fruit contains about hundred seeds rich in essential oils. The seeds are little, aromatic, flat and oval, with yellow fluting and are used as a spice. It grows wild along paths and rocky places.
MEDICINAL USE AND PROPERTIES OF SAGE
Sage, Dalmatian Salvia officinalis In folk medicine sage is most often used for throat infections, headaches and wound healing. Due to its strong antiseptic effects, it is also used for other infections such as gingivitis, aphthous ulcers, viral diseases, especially herpes, and for fungus diseases. Just like other spices, it has a positive effect on digestive system – it gives one appetite, eases digestion, reduces stomach cramps, and it is advisable for diarrhoea as well. As far as respiratory system is concerned, apart from its antiseptic effects, sage eases dry cough and helps expectoration. It is traditionally used for reducing menopause difficulties, especially hot flushes, for amenorrhea and painful menstruation. It may seem unusual that sage essential oil is recommended for massaging tired and painful muscles, especially before and after hard practices. The smell of sage clears the thoughts, so it is recommended to use the oil, along with mint, lemon and pine oil, in fragrance lamp while working hard intellectually. It is usually recommended to tired, depressed and sad people.
COUNTERINDICATIONS: Sage essential oil contains plenty of thujone, so precaution is necessary when it comes to pregnant women, small children, epileptics and people with high blood pressure.
MEDICINAL USE AND PROPERTIES OF NETTLE
Nettle, a self-grown herb, has been used as both food and medicine since the ancient times. Due to its rich content, it has a good effect on many metabolic processes in organism. Therefore, it has been believed to be effective against many difficulties. Its basic effect is body purification and recovery. It effectively eases rheumatic diseases, and given the fact that it prevents the production of prostaglandins, it significantly reduces the pain while moving and reposing. Nettle has diuretic properties, stimulates urination and it is traditionally, as well as in modern medicine, recommended for the urinary tract difficulties, especially in men. The preparations containing nettle root in fitotherapy have been officially approved for the treatment of benign enlargement of the prostate and prostatitis. Other difficulties such as subjective urination disorders, uncomfortable urination and frequent urination at night can be reduced by the use of nettle. Young nettle leaves contain twenty times more vitamin C than green salad and for this reason nettle is recommended for anaemia and haemorrhages. Anaemia is reduced with nettle because it contains large amounts of metabolically usable iron, and the abundance of minerals stimulates the development of blood cells. Nettle stops haemorrhages, regulates menstruation cycle, and helps with haemorrhoids. Nettle tea is used for many skin diseases such as acne, and nettle root extract is a part of products for hair loss and brittle nails.
MEDICINAL USE AND PROPERTIES OF FENNEL
The old Egyptian papyruses mention fennel as a plant that helps with many difficulties, while the old Greeks had spotted the efficiency of fennel in controlling body weight. During the Olympic Games, Greek athletes used to chew fennel fruits to increase their strength. The same thing was done by Roman legionaries to suppress the feeling of hunger during long marches, and gladiators ate fennel believing that it would increase their endurance and courage and provide them with longevity. In old Chinese culture, fennel was used as an antidote for snake bites, and the herbalists of the Middle Ages describe it as a means of fighting evil spirits and witchcraft. There was a custom of putting fennel seeds in keyholes in order to protect the household from bewitchment and evil spirits. Today fennel is used for other spirits: excess liquid, toxins and flatulence. Fennel stimulates excretion of excess liquid and other harmful metabolism products from organism. It lowers appetite, reduces colic in digestive tract, it is used for flatulence, nausea, eructation, heartburn. Its property of reducing alcohol intoxication or, to put it simple, hangover, makes it desirable on days after holidays. In case we cannot stop hiccups, it will suffice to inhale the fragrance of real fennel essential oil several times and hiccups will vanish on the spot. Along with all these positive effects, it should be mentioned that fennel is a mild aphrodisiac as well. Since it is a good diuretic, it is recommended for the fight against cellulite. One should drink 3 cups of fennel tea a day. Fennel regulates menstruation cycle because it influences the production of oestrogen, stimulating breastfeeding at the same time. It also reduces hormone imbalance during menopause. For its expectoration effects, fennel is often used in the treatment of bronchitis, chronic cough and asthma.
COUNTERINDICATIONS: Precaution in the use of fennel essential oil should be taken by pregnant women, small children and epileptics.
Nina Bašić-Marković, MD, DSc
General Practitioner, Aromatherapist
SAGE ESSENTIAL OIL FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Sage essential oil of penetrating and spicy smell is obtained by sage leaf distillation. In holistic sense, sage symbolises a mature, stable woman and femininity, which follows from the fact that sage essential oil stimulates the production of oestrogen. This makes it useful for the stimulation of menstruation and treatment of difficulties related to menopause. Besides, the essential oil is a good lipolytic agent which means that it stimulates fat dissolution so it is good to use it in natural detoxification treatments. The essential oil is also used for treating aphthae. It is valuable in cosmetics for the care of oily skin with acnes and for wrinkle and old scar reduction treatment. In massages it has an anti-stress effect and, if used in small quantities in diffusers and fragrance lamps, it will stimulate memory.
• Oil for scar reduction:
50 ml of the macerate of St. John’s wort in olive oil 30 drops of sage essential oil 30 drops of immortelle essential oil Apply to the scar on a daily basis after having shower. Mouthwash: 2 dl of water 1 drop of sage 1 drop of lemon Gargle after washing your teeth. Do not swallow!!!
• Instead of deodorant…
Instead of deodorants, you can use sage hydrolate which eliminates odour. Put the sage hydrolate in a spray bottle and use it as deodorant.
• Detoxification oil:
1 dl of cold-pressed sunflower oil or macerate of St. John’s wort in sunflower 30 drops of sage 30 drops of fennel 30 drops of rosemary chemotype 1,8 cineol 30 drops of juniper Apply on affected areas on a daily basis after having shower.
Sage essential oil is strictly forbidden for pregnant women, children and in conditions that involve high oestrogen level. It is potentially neurotoxic, so it is to be used in small amounts.
FENNEL ESSENTIAL OIL FOR HEALTH AND BEAUTY
Fennel essential oil is obtained by distillation of sweet fennel exclusively. It is used for the treatment of digestive difficulties (as a part of massages) and cellulite.
• In case of impaction:
add 10 drops of fennel essential oil to 10 ml of olive oil or St John’s wrot and massage it into the stomach area clockwise.
(Anamarija Pažin-Morović, aromatherapist)