Aromatic plants

The primitive human being already used aromatic plants as insect repellents and as a flavoring of caves

There is a large group of plants in nature that, apart from their important aesthetic appeal, have a common characteristic: their high content of substances with specific chemical, biochemical and organoleptic properties, which allow their use as aromatic, medicinal and condiment plants.
The primitive human being already used aromatic plants as insect repellents and as a flavoring of the caves in which they took refuge; they also used them in their religious rites, but above all they became the genesis of primitive medicine.
  • Aromatic plants

    Basil
    El Cilantro
    Dill
    The Tarragon
    Peppermint
    The Herb
    Luisa Fennel
    Lavender
    Mint
    Oregano
    Parsley
    The Rosemary
    The Sage
    Thyme

Basil (Ocimun basilicum)

Once the plant is developed, we can cut some of its leaves and stems at any time of the year to use it as a condiment for our dishes, as a flavoring for home stays or to scare away insects. However, if what we want is to use it for healing purposes we will have to wait until mid-flowering, when we will collect them to let them dry upside down in a dry, ventilated place and away from sunlight and any source of moisture. Once dried we will store them in a glass jar which we will open from time to time to renew the air.
As for pruning, being an annual plant of which we take advantage of the leaves, we will cut the inflorescences below the last flowers to stimulate vegetative growth again and lengthen the productive season of the plant. Of course these secondary or even tertiary shoots will be of shorter stems and smaller leaves.
In cooking, it is the main ingredient of many sauces, such as Genoese pesto, due to its marked herbaceous flavor and spicy point. There is also a variety that can be used to scare away insects on summer nights and is not edible. As in the rest of aromatic plants, heat reduces the effect of aroma and flavor so we will incorporate them into the plants at the final moment.
It contains between 0.70 and 0.80% essential oils rich in estragole, eugenol, linalool, cineole and other volatile components. Hence its strong aroma. There are different types of basil, with aromas reminiscent of anise, camphor, cloves or lemon
It has the following active ingredients:
  • It contains between 0.70 and 0.80% essential oils rich in estragole, eugenol, linalool, cineole and other volatile components. Hence its strong aroma. There are different types of basil, with aromas reminiscent of anise, camphor, cloves or lemon
  • Flavonoids; antioxidant substances responsible for the color of fruits and vegetables. They act as powerful antioxidants, with anti-inflammatory characteristics that assist the immune system. They are used in traditional Chinese medicine for skin protection, improving brain function and regulating blood pressure and blood sugar.
  • Caffeic acid. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Mineral salts such as iron, copper, manganese and calcium.
  • Vitamin K. It is involved in the regulation of blood clotting.
  • Vitamin A, C y B9.
  • Amino acids such as lysine, isoleucine, leucine, cystine and methionine.

    Basil tea helps with heavy digestions, reduces stress, is diuretic and helps to fall asleep: we boil 150-200 ml of water and once it reaches the boiling point we remove it from the heat, then incorporate two teaspoons of fresh basil or one if it is dry, cover, let stand 10 minutes, strain and drink hot or warm.

Celery (coriandrum sativum)

 

Also called “Chinese parsley”, it is an annual herbaceous plant of the apiaceae family. Its origin can be located in southern Europe and northern Africa. Plant with erect stems and square section (characteristic of aromatic plants), compound leaves and white flowers, with a height of 40-50 cm.
It is not a delicate plant to grow, we must simply place it in a place with a lot of sun. We will water when we see that the substrate requires it. The substrate will be slightly acidic: 50% blonde peat, 25% perlite and 25% worm humus. We will use a complete, balanced and balanced nutrient solution with an N/K ratio of 2 until the beginning of flowering, at which time we will lower this ratio to 1.2.
It is very commonly used in the kitchen, taking advantage of its fresh leaves and seeds.
It is easy to confuse cilantro with parsley, in fact, it is called Chinese or Mexican parsley. However, we can distinguish both plants only by the aroma and shape of their leaves: those of coriander are wider and a lighter and brighter green than those of parsley (you are also ended in point) and the aroma is deeper. Cilantro lovers say it tastes like a mixture of lemon, ginger, citrus and cumin while its detractors reject it by saying it’s sour, sour and tastes like soap.
In cilantro we can find:
  • Mineral salts mainly of iron, calcium and magnesium.
  • Vitamin K. It is involved in the regulation of blood clotting.
  • Vitamins A, B, C and E.
  • Volatile oils such as linalool, geraniol and limonene.
  • Unsaturated oils such as oleic and linoleic that help in cholesterol control.
The fruits are those that concentrate most of the active ingredients. The leaves have antibacterial and fungal power. Cilantro is mainly advised for digestive problems, such as diarrhea, meteorism, etc. Cilantro has very few calories and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, diuretic properties and helps with heavy digestions, avoiding flatulence and meteorism.

Dill (anethum graveolens)

 

Annual herbaceous plant of the umbelliferous family from the eastern Mediterranean, its natural habitat is usually low altitudes (no more than 600 m) and loose, fresh soils and sunny exposures. It reaches a bearing of up to 1 m, with a green and hollow stem, and with branches at the apex. The flowers are clustered and yellow with an aroma of lemon and anise. They take advantage of its leaves, which has a flavor reminiscent of parsley, and its fruits. It closely resembles fennel.
It does not require special care; sun, watering when necessary (when I say this I am urging you to look at the substrate to see if it needs water or not; in time you will see it from afar). It does not withstand dryness or excess water. The substrate will be slightly acidophilic and with good drainage; it can be worth with a mixture of 50% blonde peat and perlite. Flowering occurs in summer. Until flowering we will provide a complete, balanced and balanced nutrient solution with an N/K ratio of 2 until the beginning of flowering, at which time we will lower this ratio to 1.2.
Everything is used from dill; leaves and fruits in the kitchen and leaves, fruits and stems in the treatment of various pathologies.
As active ingredients we find:
  • Mineral salts mainly of iron, calcium, sodium and potassium.
  • Vitamin A, C, B1, B2, B3, B5 y B6
  • The essential oil obtained from this plant is rich in tannins, phellandrene, cymene, pinene, carvone, flavonoids and beta-carotene, which have incredible properties that help boost the health of the body.
  • Amino acids such as phenylalanine, arginine, valine, methionine, histidine, aspartic and glutamic acid, serine, tryptophan, isoleucine, proline, glycine, threonine, tyrosine, alanine, leucine, cystine, and lysine
Dill has vasodilator, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, digestive, anti-vomitive, diuretic, sedative, expectorant and antiseptic properties.
In the kitchen it is often used to marinate meat and fish, exalting its flavor and facilitating its digestion. Similarly, the leaves and stem are used as an ingredient for salads, as well as for stews, vinaigrettes and soups.

Tarragon (artemisia dracunculus)

 

Herbaceous plant of semi-shrubby size of the asteraceae family, perennial and very durable, native to Central Asia. It reaches a size of up to more than one meter in height with thin stems, thin and elongated dark green leaves and a root system formed by rhizomes. It blooms in summer and the flowers are lime green grouping in the form of a cylinder; in temperate climates tarragon flowers are usually sterile. It has a slightly aniseed aroma with sweet and spicy tones, although there is a variety, dracunculoid mugwort, which is somewhat more bitter. It is an herb widely used in the gastronomy of northern Europe intervening in numerous mustard sauces and in the famous “herbs of Provence”. Its use is basically reduced to fresh leaves, although they can also be used dried (tarragon tea 5 g of dried leaves in 250 ml of water). It also has a lot of acceptance as an ornamental plant.

 

The substrate can be 50% coconut fiber, 25% perlite (or sand) and 25% worm humus. It needs sun, but it can be semi-shaded in the hottest season. It is demanding in terms of water needs and must be watered more frequently than other aromatics. As I always tell you, pay every time you water and use a complete, balanced and balanced solution. Withstands temperatures up to -5ºC. It is a rustic and resistant plant. To reproduce it, at the end of winter we will take the plant out of our pot, divide the rhizome and plant it in a new substrate. We can also make cuttings between 25-40 cm in length in autumn and put them on a rooting substrate in a dry, ventilated place, and away from direct sunlight and any focus of moisture. Once rooted they are taken to their pot.
Its fresh leaves and flowers are used as an aromatic herb (dry loses aroma and properties); the aroma is enhanced more from the second year of life. Tarragon leaves, highly appreciated in French gastronomy, are indispensable for the elaboration of bearnese sauce, tartar sauce and gribiché sauce and are used to make pickles with vinaigrette, to flavor vinegar and to enhance the flavor of poultry, fish, salads, etc.

 

Among its active ingredients are:
  • Essential oils; estragole, limonene, phellandrene, capinene, nerol and thujone (with abortifacient properties). They help treat poor digestion, flatus and meteorism, as well as gastritis and ulcers.
  • Vitamin C; formerly it was used as a scurbutic plant. It stimulates the immune system and strengthens the defenses.
  • Salicylic, caffeic, chlorogenic, gallic, rosmarinic, vanillic, synaptic, ferulic and anisic acids. They help detoxify the liver.
  • They have antiseptic effects.
  • Coumarins; organic chemical compound belonging to the benzopyrone family with properties among others, antitumor, antiarrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesics, hepatoprotective and effects against hypertension and osteoporosis.
Phytosterols; substances that block the absorption of cholesterol at the intestinal level.

 

Due to its high content of estragole (essential oil) it should be taken with caution and always after consulting a specialist, as with all aromatic plants. We should not take lightly the use of plants because they are not a medicine.

Mint (mentha spicata)

 

Herbaceous plant of the lamiaceae family, robust and perennial that can reach one meter in height with a characteristic and pleasant aroma. It comes from the Mediterranean area of Europe, southwest Asia and Africa. Its exact origin is difficult to define, since from very early times it was cultivated by humans. It grows wild in temperate climates. Robust stem of square section (characteristic of aromatic plants), non-petiolate leaves, lanceolate and with serrated edge. Its inflorescence appears in summer, in the apical meristem, arranged on an axis and are white-pink or lilac. The root system is a rhizome with a great power of invasion. It is a plant that tends to lateral growth so if we want it to make size we must plant it dense. Requires wide pots.
It supports both slightly acidic and alkaline substrates and with high water retention power. It is demanding in irrigation and responds spectacularly to a balanced and balanced complete nutrient solution. It requires a place in our garden to semi-shade, although it can withstand the sun if it is not in summer. It reproduces very easily and in fact in some places they have it cataloged as an invasive plant; at the end of winter we will divide the rhizome and plant it in a new pot. At the end of summer or early autumn it is convenient to give it a cut 5 cm from the ground to stimulate a new budding.
Once the plant is developed, we can cut some of its leaves and stems at any time of the year to use it as a condiment for our dishes, to take in infusion or as a flavoring for the rooms of the home.  We must know that aromatic plants concentrate their active ingredients in flowering.
Peppermint is rich in vitamins A and C, minerals such as iron, calcium, phosphorus and potassium, as well as possessing antioxidant and immune-boosting properties. But the main active ingredient of the good herb is menthol, an alcohol that is used in medicine because it has a cooling effect on the mucous membranes. It also has antipruritic (anti-itching) and antiseptic properties. It is insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol and ether.
For all this, good properties such as:
  • Analgesic. As we mentioned earlier, menthol has an analgesic effect. It is frequently used in symptomatic treatment to relieve diseases associated with the skin, such as hives, pruritus or eczema.
  • Decongestant. It helps the decongestion of the upper respiratory tract, generating benefits in the treatment of flu, common cold and cough.
  • It helps in the digestive process. Peppermint helps to make better use of food during digestion. The ideal is to drink a little tea from this plant 20 minutes before each meal.
  • Antispasmodic
  • It activates the bile production of the gallbladder and can help prevent flatulence and abdominal pain.
  • Antiseptic. At the level of external application, it can help in the cleaning of ulcers and sanitation of wounds.
  • It is ideal to help in the process of de-inflammation of tissues and other organs. It can be used in cases of gastritis, colitis and other inflammatory diseases in the joints such as rheumatism and arthritis.
  • Emotional relaxant. In cases of stress, nerves, anxiety or other types of emotional pressures, peppermint helps to calm down, as well as to fall asleep: simply by drinking a cup of peppermint tea 20 minutes after dinner.
  • Treatment of burns. In cases of burns peppermint can also be very useful. It can be used in the form of compresses directly on the area that has the burn. To prepare a compress you simply have to place 2 tablespoons of tea in 2 of olive oil, take gauze and soak it with the mixture to later place it directly on the affected area.
  • Peppermint helps dislodge any type of parasite from your digestive system. 2 cups of peppermint tea should be taken on an empty stomach and this will cause the parasites to leave the body.
  • Stomach upsets. It is highly effective in cases of stomach pains or cramps. It works very well if the well-known stomach empachos are presented.
The preparation of peppermint tea is quite simple. It is only necessary to get some fresh mint leaves and hot water. Optionally, you can add a teaspoon of honey, a mint or cinnamon stick and sugar to taste to complement the flavors.
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup water
  • 4 fresh mint leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
How to prepare peppermint tea:
Place the water in a small saucepan and heat until it reaches the boiling point. Remove from heat. Add the mint leaves and let stand for 10 minutes. Add the sugar and honey stirring slightly until diluted. We strain and we can take it.

The Herb Luisa (aloysia citrodora)

 

Plant of the family of grasses, perennial, shrubby and native to South America. The leaves come out three by three from the same knot, are lanceolate and with a smooth or very finely serrated margin and a very short petiole, light green by the beam, with the underside marked by oil glands well visible. They give off a strong lemon fragrance with hints of menthol. Flowering occurs in summer and the small flowers are grouped in panicles, an inflorescence composed of racemes that decrease in size towards the apex. In other words, a branching cluster of flowers, in which the branches are themselves clusters; they are between white and pink. It is cultivated for gastronomic, ornamental and medicinal purposes. It is widely used to flavor own oils for cooking. Dried flowers are an ideal spice for macerating chickens, meats and fish. Oils flavored with herbs are used in the dressing of sauces, salads and stews. They are used fresh for a better obtaining of their properties and are added finely chopped to garnish and flavor dishes such as fish meats, vegetables or others, or add it to the cooking of meals. In infusions you can use the fresh or dried leaf: to have dried lemon grass we will collect the leaves in bloom and put them to dry in a ventilated, dry and dark place. When squeezed they crunch a little they will be ready and we will put them in a boat, which we will open from time to time to renew the air, and we will keep it where it does not give the light.
It is not a delicate plant in terms of its handling; it can be located in full sun or semi-shade and is moderately demanding in water. It is a plant of warm climates so we must be careful with frost. The substrate can be both slightly acidic and slightly basic, always ensuring good drainage. 50% blonde peat, 25% sand and 255 worm humus will be perfect. We will change the substrate every two years taking care not to damage the root. As always, we will provide every time we irrigate a complete, balanced and balanced nutrient solution. Being a shrubby plant we will do a pruning in autumn to remove the wilted flowers and some dead branches, but without cutting too much or it could sprout in the face of winter what interests us. At the end of winter we can do a more severe pruning in order to remove dead wood, renew shoots and redirect vegetative growth. It reproduces very well by cuttings and aerial layering.

 

The active principles of the herb luisa are mainly:
  • Aldehydes, such as α-citral and β-citral. These components are present in approximately 40% and have fungicidal, antihistamine, antibacterial, expectorant and anticancer properties.
  • Linalool: is a terpene with an alcohol group whose natural form is common in many flowers and aromatic plants and is characterized by its floral smell with a menthol touch. Acts as hepatoprotective, antibacterial, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic
  • Camphene substance almost insoluble in water, but quite soluble in some common organic solvents. It volatilizes quickly at room temperature and has a pungent or pungent aroma. It is one of those responsible for the lemon herb has antioxidant and expectorant properties.
  • Terpineol: another terpene with alcohol group, has a pleasant smell similar to lilac. It has anti-asthmatic, antitussive, expectorant and antibacterial action.
  • Caryophyllene: it is responsible for providing a certain spicy flavor. The substance that makes police dogs detect cannabis. It helps fight tumors, inflammations, asthma and respiratory diseases and has antibacterial action.
  • Cineole: terpene in charge of providing a certain aroma of freshness and a touch of eucalyptus. Fights halitosis and strengthens oral health.
  • Limonene: Limonene is another terpene found mostly in the peel of citrus fruits. It is responsible for the lemon-like smell as well as being an expectorant, antibacterial, anticancer, and antispasmodic.
  • Flavonoids: flavonoids are responsible for giving color in pigmentation so that it is noticed externally, which is why it has a fundamental role for the care of the body.
  • Melatonin; Melatonin is a hormone involved in the natural sleep cycle. Melatonin supplements can be helpful in treating sleep disorders, such as the delayed sleep phase, and in providing some relief from insomnia and jet lag.
Preparing an infusion of herb is very simple: you just have to add 2 teaspoons of the fresh leaf or one if it is dried from the grass in a cup of boiling water; cover 10 minutes and strain. But, be careful, do not boil it directly, because it can oxidize and lose its properties, in addition to its characteristic flavor. And if you want to intensify its flavor, you can add a few drops of lemon juice and a little honey; combines perfectly with mint leaves. If you suffer from stomach heaviness or feel bloating gas, you can take it after meals. If you suffer from insomnia or stress, half an hour before going to sleep. You can make mouthwashes if you want to have fresher breath. In France, the infusion of Herb Luisa is often used after meals to facilitate digestion. It can also be prepared as a cold soda to take in summer. To this are added two tablespoons of fresh or dried leaves along with a slice of lemon in a jar of cold water. This mixture is left to rest overnight in the refrigerator, the next day you get a refreshing cold drink.

Fennel (foeniculum vulgare)

 

Herbaceous plant, usually biennial, of the apiaceae family, of erect bearing with slightly ribbed cylindrical stems, branched and with alternate and very aromatic leaves (they can reach two meters). It comes from the southern part of Europe, specifically the countries located next to the Mediterranean Sea growing there, thanks to its climatic conditions, in the wild. The leaves are long, thin and of an intense green color. The inflorescence, racemose and with yellow-golden flowers, appears in summer, fruiting in early autumn. The root system is a false bulb formed by a thick primary root and numerous secondary roots; from it the petioles depart and the whole is what we know by group. Its interest is gastronomic (it has a delicious aniseed aroma and a flavor with a spicy touch) and medicinal.
The leaves and stems are used as aromatic grass, the fruits as a spice and the bulb as a vegetable. It has an aniseed aroma.
It is a plant that needs a deep substrate, with good drainage and with neutral or slightly alkaline pH; 50% blonde peat, 25% sand or perlite and 25% worm humus. It can be located in full sun and requires temperatures between 15-25 ºC; it is very sensitive to frost. It is demanding in water not tolerating water stress. It requires a fertilizer with an N/K balance between 1.5-1.2 and rich in phosphorus to ensure the normal development of the false bulb. In the middle of the development of the lump we will have to make aporques of earth: the aporque consists of adding soil around the base of the stems to promote their correct growth and that the lump is more tender.
From two and a half months we can already begin to harvest the leaves of fennel. We do this by cutting the stem from the base of the plant with clean scissors. Later the stems will sprout again. If we grow fennel to take advantage of its bulb it is preferable to regularly cut the stems to favor the development of the bulb. In an approximate period of three and a half months we can start harvesting the bulb.
As for its active ingredients we find:
  1. Coumarins; we find them mainly at the root. Organic chemical compound belonging to the benzopyrone family with properties among others, antitumor, antiarrhythmic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, analgesic, hepatoprotective and effects against hypertension and osteoporosis.
  2. Phytosterols, such as sitosterium and stigmasterol, substances that block the absorption of cholesterol at the intestinal level.
  3. Mineral salts, calcium, iron, magnesium and cobalt.
  4. Vitamin C, stimulates the immune system and strengthens the defenses.
  5. Amino acids:
    1. Alanine, increases the power of the immune system.
    2. Arginine, fundamental in the growth and repair of muscle tissues.
    3. Histidine, vasodilator and stimulant of gastric juices.
    4. Glutamic acid, anti-ulcer.
    5. Aspartic acid, very useful in the expulsion of ammonia.
  6. Its oil is rich in substances such as anethole, estragole.
fenchone (widely used in perfumery), α-pinene, myrcene, phellandrene, camphene and limonene.
Fennel can be consumed in many ways:
  • The first alternative is to consume it raw. The bulbs may not be too tender so we will discard their first layer. If they are still hard we will leave it to cook it.
  • Cut into very thin slices it is an excellent ingredient for salads. Do not forget the vinaigrette dressing. It can be eaten perfectly with celery and apple in the Waldorf salad.
  • The leaves, when tender, can be added in fillings, dressings, sauces or preparations with meat and chicken. In turn, it is the one that best combines with fish dishes, due to its flavor.
  • If you boil or steam them, the stems are used just like asparagus, to give a different touch to potatoes, eggs or rice.
  • Fennel seeds can be used for the preparation of breads, cakes and cookies.
  • If cooked in its same liquid, it is very tasty. You can make a stir-fry with fennel, garlic, onion and tomato.
To make an infusion of fennel we will need half a liter of water and 25 grams of this raw vegetable: we will put water in a saucepan and when it breaks to boil we will add the fennel and let it boil for 5 minutes. We will cut the cooking and let stand for another 5 minutes. We will strain and drink hot or warm.

Lavender (lavándula angustifolia)

 

Lavender belongs to a genus of herbaceous plants of the family of lamiaceae, perennial, with stems of quadrangular section and with many leaves in the lower third narrowly lanceolate, toothed, hairy and of a grayish-green color. The inflorescence is a kind of spike where the flowers come out three by three from the same point and are purple or bluish violet, with an unmistakable aroma which has made it the jewel par excellence of aromatherapy. It is native to the mountains of the Mediterranean region. Its name derives from the Latin root lavare, which literally means “to wash”. Flowering goes from spring to summer and is greatly influenced by temperature; if the winter has come warm it will be brought forward and vice versa.
They require a sunny and well-ventilated site, an alkaline and deep substrate with a pot of rather large size and with good drainage: we can prepare a mixture of 50% coconut fiber and 50% perlite with gravel at the bottom of the pot to ensure good drainage, or we can even plant it in perlite alone. It does not withstand waterlogging, especially in winter. It requires moderate watering. We will pay with a complete, balanced and balanced solution.
Pruning lavender is limited to maintaining the desired shape and appearance. In autumn we will eliminate the wilted flowers once the flowering season has passed, both to maintain the health of the plant, and to promote a new flowering. If we want a renovation pruning we will wait in late winter or early spring. Whenever possible, don’t prune lavender to more than half its initial size.
It is multiplied by cuttings: in autumn we will cut the woody cuttings of one year with a length of 10-15 cm, leave the leaves at the end and plant in a rooting substrate. We will take them to a dry, ventilated place away from direct sunlight and humidity until they take root. We will transplant them into a pot early the following spring.
From the lavender we will use the flowers. Lavender flowers are collected on different dates according to the purpose for which we want to use them:
  • If we are going to use them for herbalism we will harvest them at the beginning of flowering.
  • If we want them for their perfume we will harvest them in full bloom.
We will cut the whole spike and dry it upside down in a ventilated, dry and dark place; when they are dry they are separated from the spike and can be put in cloth bags to perfume our house. The aroma of lavender has relaxing properties.
Lavender flower has the following active ingredients:
  • The essential oil that is extracted contains linalool (20-50%) and linaloyl acetate, and other amounts of cis-ocimene, 4-ol terpinene, caryophyllene and lavandulyl acetate. Hydroxycoumarins including umbelliferone and herniarin.
  • Flavonoids, such as luteolol.
  • Caffeic acid.
  • Phytosterols.
Lavender is used as an infusion for migraines, a product of nervous exhaustion, taking 1 cup of infusion of the flowers 3 times a day and, if you take 1 cup before bedtime, it can help relieve insomnia. It is also appropriate as a digestive after a meal. The taste of lavender infusion is potent; it can remind you of other very aromatic plants such as rosemary or mint. The reality is that the elaboration of this infusion does not keep great secrets, if you already have experience preparing infusions at home. For each cup of water you will need a teaspoon of lavender flowers: boil the water and then, infuse the lavender flowers into the cup for at least 5 minutes. Strain and take it hot.

Mint (mentha piperita)

 

Perennial and cespitous grass (leafy) of the lamiaceae family with a rhizomatous root system, erect and quadrangular stems, very branched that can reach between 30 and 60 cm. The leaves are petiolate, opposite, lanceolate and slightly toothed, with the dark green beam finely ribbed with red. Both leaves and stems are usually slightly hairy. The inflorescences come out of the axils of the leaves in the form of a spike and three by three of the same point; are purple or pink. It is native to the Mediterranean countries and Central Asia.
It is a plant that tends to lateral growth so if we want it to make size we must plant it dense. Requires wide pots.
It requires substrates of neutral or slightly alkaline pH: we can use 50% blonde peat or coconut fiber and 50% perlite or sand. It is demanding in water, especially in its vegetative growth phase. It is demanding as far as the subscriber is concerned; we will provide, as always, a complete, balanced and balanced nutrient solution with an N/K ratio of 1.7. It may be in full sun, but the ideal is semi-shade. It is a plant of temperate climates, although it withstands the cold well.

 

It is normal for the mint plant to bloom in early summer; once the flowers are withered, we will cut about five centimeters above the floor of the pot to force a new budding. With the use of fertilizers and irrigation, we will be able to keep the plant in good condition until early autumn, but when the cold arrives, the aerial part of the mint will die, although not its underground stems, which will develop again in the spring.
Pruning will be limited to controlling its horizontal growth and that it does not leave the pot and to remove the dead parts of the plant.
It reproduces easily by division of the rhizome (autumn or late winter) and by cuttings (early spring). If we want to grow different varieties of mint we must do it in separate pots, since otherwise many of the flavors and aromas of each variety would fade when mixed.
Mint takes advantage of its fresh and dried leaves; it is good to cut them from time to time to favor new sprouts.
Mint takes advantage of its fresh and dried leaves; it is good to cut them from time to time to favor new sprouts.
As for the active principles of peppermint we find.
  • In its essential oil we find menthol, camphene, limonene, linalool and thymol, among many others.
  • Flavonoids such as hesperidin, very abundant in citrus fruits.
  • Organic acids such as acetic, caffeic, benzoic, citronella.
  • Beta carotene.
  • Vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, C y E.
  • Mineral salts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, iron and phosphorus.
The culinary use of peppermint is very wide; sauces, soups, salads, meats and fish.
As for the medicinal properties:
  • It has always been used to “settle the stomach” after meals; colic, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, intestinal pains, flatulence, irritable bowel, etc.
  • Treatment of productive cough, throat inflammation, respiratory infections, bronchitis and congestion.
  • It has stimulating and toning properties without producing nerve overexcitation; very suitable for people sensitive to caffeine and theine.
  • Helps fight halitosis and dry mouth.
The mint will be used preferably fresh; as in all plants, older leaves have more active ingredients. Mint tea is made by boiling water and adding 4-6 mint leaves; let stand 5 minutes covered, strain and take hot. It can be combined with cinnamon and honey.

Oregano (origanum vulgare)

 

Its name means “grass that brightens the mountain”. Perennial herb shaped like a squat shrub of the lamiaceae family. It is native to western and southwestern Eurasia. The stems are of quadrangular section tending to branch in the upper area. The root system is rhizomatous. The leaves are opposite, oval and broad between 2 and 4 cm, with whole or slightly toothed edges. Both the stem and the leaves have villi. Its tiny flowers, white or pink, born in tight, highly branched terminal inflorescences, are protected by tiny reddish leaves.
It is a rustic plant and can last us many years. We will place it in full sun, although it supports the semi-shade. It is not delicate in terms of substrate adapting to slightly acidic, basic or neutral pHs. You need a deep pot and a mixture of 50% blonde peat, 25% perlite and 25% worm humus with gravel on the bottom. It requires frequent watering, but without flooding. Despite being a plant of temperate climate it withstands frost well. We will fertilize with a complete, balanced and balanced nutrient solution.
Oregano takes advantage of the leaves and floral apexes; if we want to use it as a condiment in the kitchen or for infusions we can cut leaves for fresh consumption or dry them as we already know how to do (we put the stems on our stomachs and in a dry, cool and dark place); if we want to collect it to extract its oil we will do it in full bloom. Contrary to what happens with other plants (parsley, basil or thyme) that lose part of their aroma with desiccation, oregano like rosemary enhance their aromas with drying.
The main active ingredients of oregano are:
  • Phenols, such as thymol and carvacrol. Thymol is a colorless crystalline substance with a characteristic smell that is present in nature in the essential oils of thyme and oregano and has disinfectant and fungicidal power. Carvacrol has bactericidal action, and, in fact, is found to inhibit the growth of Escherichia Coli and is used as a food additive.
  • Terpene hydrocarbons, such as limonene and linalool, among others. Its functions include giving coloration to plant organs and participating in the synthesis of vitamins A, K and E.
  • Phenolic acids, such as caffeic, rosmarinic and chlorogenic. They act as potent antioxidants.
  • Tannins, are phenolic compounds that have astringent and anti-inflammatory properties, therefore, they are very useful against diarrhea or gastroenteritis.
  • Flavonoids, such as luteolol. Flavonoids are natural pigments present in vegetables that protect the body from damage caused by oxidizing agents, such as ultraviolet rays, environmental pollution, chemical substances present in food, etc.
  • Mineral salts of iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
In the kitchen, oregano is highly appreciated for the aroma and flavor so special that it gives to different types of preparations, becoming an indispensable ingredient for the elaboration of a great variety of mojos, marinades and sauces (especially those that carry tomato), such as the traditional Bolognese.
It also has a special role in recipes such as Pizza, lasagna, some baked chickens and steamed potatoes. Like many other herbs, oregano loses its aroma with cooking so we must add it at the end.
As for its medicinal properties we find the following:
  • It is a potent diuretic, helping the elimination of toxins from the body.
  • Gastrointestinal spasms, flatulence, diarrhea and loss of appetite.
  • Airway conditions such as pharyngitis, bronchitis, tracheitis, spasmodic cough, asthma, and emphysema.
  • As a natural antioxidant.
  • It is a good ally against microbial activity.
Oregano infusion is prepared as follows; bring to a boil 300 ml of water. Once the boiling is reached, remove it from the heat and pour 3 teaspoons of fresh oregano or one of dried oregano, cover and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain and drink hot.

Parsley (Petroselinum crispum)

 

Biennial herbaceous plant (although it can also be grown as an annual) of the apiaceae family and native to the central Mediterranean region and more specifically to the island of Sardinia.  It has cylindrical stems, thin and leaves of triangular contour of two to three times pinnate, having the upper ones the whole leaflets and the basal ones with these sawn or toothed. The flowers are grouped in umbels (inflorescence in which the peduncles start from the same point and rise to the same height, forming a kind of umbrella) of 8 to 20 radii and are yellowish green.
It requires a deep substrate, rich in organic matter and well drained; we will prepare a mixture of 50% blonde peat, 25% perlite and 25% worm humus. It is demanding in water and fertilizer, but we will avoid wetting the leaves in the irrigations to prevent diseases caused by fungi.  It can’t stand frost. It supports being placed both in full sun and in the semi-shade.

Parsley is well associated with crops such as tomato, corn, asparagus and carrots. On the other hand, it is not convenient to plant it associated with the cultivation of Celery, Pea, Lettuce and leek since they are incompatible crops and none would be well developed.
Harvesting will begin to take place when the plant reaches 30 cm. It is recommended to do it in the morning, cutting just what we need. The plant will sprout and, after 2 months, we will have a new harvest. We have to collect the oldest and largest leaves to make it easier for it to keep sprouting. If you want to have your own parsley seeds you must wait for the second year which is when the flowers come out.
It has culinary and medicinal properties. Parsley is used in both fresh and dry cooking. The taste of the parsley leaf is fresh, slightly spicy and with a note of pepper. No type of parsley withstands high temperatures or long cooking times well, so it is usually added at the end of the preparation of a dish or in a bouquet that will be removed before passing it to the table, in addition to heating it excessively many of the vitamins of this plant are lost.    It marries well with fish, white or red meats, seafood and vegetables, elegantly garnishes stews, rice, stews or fried, accompanied with sobriety the mixtures of spices that are used to season.
Parsley is the indispensable ingredient for many international dishes such as salsa verde, vinaigrette used in salads, Arabic tabule salad, snail sauce with butter or French omelette with fine herbs.
Due to these substances, parsley has the following properties:
  • Diuretic. One of the most popular applications of parsley is as a powerful diuretic thanks to apiol and myristicin that favor the elimination of toxins through the urinary system. Therefore, parsley is recommended in the treatment of urinary tract conditions, obesity, rheumatic diseases and hypertension.
  • Improves digestion. Parsley is a mild laxative indicated in case of constipation that, in addition, stimulates appetite and digestive functions; it is carminative and helps expel gases.
  • Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic. Parsley is rich in a flavonoid called apigenin that in various studies has turned out to be a powerful antioxidant that prevents irregular cell growth. Apigenin strengthens the immune system, has a mild anti-inflammatory power, helps detoxify the body and is a substance in the spotlight in cancer treatments.

Rosemary (Salvia rosmarinum)

 

Perennial woody herb with very branched stems. The leaves are small, whole, opposite, with the edges down and very abundant, of a dark green color in the bundle and whitish with villi on the underside. It belongs to the lamiaceae family and is native to the rocky areas of the Mediterranean and the Caucasus.

It normally reaches a size of 1-1.5 m and its flowers appear from February to November and are bluish-white. They are axillary flowers, very aromatic and melliferous; they are located at the apex of the branches.
It is a fairly “Mediterranean” plant