The power of Sage

Hello friends! This will be the last article of this year and because it is the last one before Christmas holidays, I wanted to make it special, interesting and magical to fit with beautiful winter season. I will write you about the history of sage, the beneficial properties of this plant and some of its secrets and magical powers.

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Salvia officinalis or Sage, it is a herb used by people all over the world for different purposes. Actually, a perennial, evergreen shrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean region, but it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. Since ancient times, this plant was used to treat different disease, as spice for food or tea and it was used in magical cleansing rituals as well. It was consumed only for its minty taste and fresh perfume or it really has beneficial properties for body and soul? We are just about to find out.

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The scientific name of this plant tell as almost everything about it. `Salvia` came from the Latin word `salvare` which mean salvation or healing and `officinalis` refers to the plant’s medicinal use, the `officina` was the traditional storeroom of a monastery where herbs and medicines were stored. The sage was first used more than 5000 years ago and since then people take advantage over its beneficial because they are real. Ancient Egyptians mostly used it as a remedy for infertility, but could also be used in the treatment of serious diseases and epidemics like the plague. The Romans referred to sage as the `holy herb` because they said it was good for everything. Also, this plant is known as a plant that gives eternal life. According to the legend, the Virgin Mary hid with the small baby Jesus in the sage bush during the fight to Egypt from Herod. Even today sage is one of the plants that is dedicated to Our Lady when celebrating the Day of Assumption. It is also believed that this plant can protect us against magic, fire and hail, as well in easing the birth and conception.

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Sage is one of the oldest and most important medicinal plants, all ancient medical writers mentioned it in their writings. Beside the legends, myths, magical rituals and old stories, this herb has some special properties for sure, and they are been proved by scientists. This medicinal plant has an incredibly broad spectrum of activity that is very nice described in this old axiom originated in Salerno that says: “Cur moriatur homo, cui salvia crescit in horto?” = “Why should a man die, whilst Sage grows in his garden?”. So, the most important properties of sage are: powerful anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial and anti fungal activity, powerful antioxidant and probably the best cleanser and stimulant of the lymph, boosts circulation and acts as an expectorant, great hormonal regulator (especially in womenbecause of its estrogen-like activity), lipolytic, astringent and antispasmodic action, has good analgesic effects and so much more. Also, The latest research has shown that sage reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and improves memory.

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The most interesting thing about this plant is that was known not only as a medicinal herb, but as a sacred plant as well. In many cultures this plant was used for cleansing rituals. The native Americans, Celtic people, Romans, Egyptians and many more used this plant in the practice of the sacred ritual of Salvia apiana or white sage. This ancient solemn ceremony comprises the ignition of a bunch of dried leaves of sage, to improve the overall well-being by clearing the environment from any negative energy, purify or bless people, calm stress, fight anxiety, sadness, and clean crystals. Probably this ritual is the most known magical ceremony, maybe because it actually works and it has a scientific explication. Because sage has antimicrobial properties, its smoke helps the air purifying from some microorganisms that might be in the atmosphere. Of course, as a biologist, I can say that for this process to work it is needed a lot of sage and smoke, and we don’t want that in the house, but if you burn sometimes few leaves of sage, the minty perfume will make your room feel fresh and clean.

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I can’t tell that all of the information about sage, found on internet and different articles is true, but I can tell you that I tried the sage tea and I felt very good after. The taste is very fresh and it helps the digestive system to work well, also this tea is good for the hair. Clean your hair with sage tea and soon will look really shiny and healthy. Sage is a really special herb and it must be something magical about it because too many physicians and biologists wrote about it through the centuries. What I forgot to tell you is that the symbols of this herb is wisdom and immortality, I think the conclusion is obvious.

I wish you all a beautiful winter and magical holidays!

Watermark in Full Color

The kites garden-A legendary place

Hello friends! It’s been a while since I wrote you something, I hope you are still here because I have an interesting travel story for you. This summer I visited many beautiful places and I’m going to show you some of them in the following blog posts. Today I’m telling you about a legendary place in Romania, not very well-known, called The kites garden.gradina zmeilor (3)The kites garden is a natural protected reservation, located in Salaj county, Transylvania. This `garden` is a forest where we can find groups of giant stones with irregular shapes. They were formed in many years by the water, wind and different natural phenomens. This place is unique for our country and because of that, local people gave interesting and funny names for each stone in the forest and some legends, as well. Now, I invite you to walk with me in the garden and meet the beautiful and magical `kites`.gradina zmeilor (1)gradina zmeilor (5)gradina zmeilor (6)The pathway in this forest is really interesting because the ground is covered in sand. This environment was formed thraugh many years and this sand was formed because of the water that washed the stones every year. It is not an actual sand, is more like a calcarose mud which creates a unique pathway in the forest. At the end of this path, we will find the giant stones (the giant kites). From the edge of the cliff it can be seen ` The Kite and the Kitees (the kite and his wife)`. The legends said that this is the home of the kites and also the place where the kites bring young girls which were stolen from their parents.

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The Kite and the Kitees

Going further in the woods, we will find a path full of a beautiful and very big kind of fern. On this fern are hidden little animals like the common lizard which you can see if you’re quiet because they can get scared very easy. Following this path, it leads us to other two giant stones, called `The monks`. This place is like a desert in a forest, all of the trees are grounded in sand and between the stones we can walk through a tiny path with no vegetation only chalk and rocks.gradina zmeilor (9)gradina zmeilor (7)gradina zmeilor (10)

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The monks

gradina zmeilor (11)There are many stones in this reservation with different names that local people gave them, like The Catana Girl, Old man, The Captain, Eva, The Thumb, The Sphinx, but we had a short time to visit this garden, and we couldn`t find all of them. Maybe next time I will show you multiple images. I hope you like this little hike in a beautiful and wild region of Romania.Watermark in Full Color

 

 

 

 

Goji berry- The fruits of youth

Goji berry – Himalayan goji – Chinese wolfberry

Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Tracheophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Lycium
Species: Lycium barbarum

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The goji berries are named „the fruits of youth” because they have antioxidant properties. Also they are full in vitamine C and A, they can reduce the side effect of chemotherapy and they have antibacterial and antifungal effects as well. In the chinesse culture these fruits have been used hundreds years in traditional medicine, and it`s said that people who eat constantly goji berries live longer then 100 years.

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Goji fruits from my garden

Adela Teban

Sorrento (2) – De la lamai la limoncello – From lemons to limoncello

In articolul anterior, am vorbit despre frumusetea orasului Sorrento si v-am promis un alt articol dedicat exclusiv lamailor, deoarece sunt un simbol pentru acest oras. Cine ar fi crezut ca un fruct banal precum lamaia poate fi atat de interesant si exploatat in diferite forme, astfel incat, un oras din Europa care nu este nici pe de parte originea lamaiului, sa fie supranumit „pamantul lamailor” (The land of lemons).

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Lamaiul (Citrus limon), este un arbust care face parte din familia Rutaceae si este originar din Asia. A fost introdus in Europa, pentru prima data in sudul Italiei, pe vremea Imperiului Roman, insa, a inceput sa fie cultivat la scara larga abia intre anii 1000-1150 d.Hr. Exista diferite varietati de lamai, acesta fiind raspandit in toata lumea la momentul actual, iar soiurile de lamai difera in functie de zona. Varietatea despre care vorbim azi se numeste, Femminello St. Teresa, care cuprinde mai multe soiuri, cele mai importante fiind Limone di Sorrento, Femminiello amalfitano, Limone di Maiori etc. Fiecare soi in parte are o intrebuintare, cele mai mari se folosesc la gatit, pe cand cele mai mici se folosesc pentru diferite bauturi.

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In Peninsula Sorrentina si pe toata Coasta Amalfi este plin de terase cu gradini de citrice care completeaza perfect peisajul de pe coasta. Intr-o zi de vara torida, dupa un drum destul de lung printre lamai si vita de vie, atmosfera mediteraneana ar fi ideala la marginea marii, savurand pe o terasa, o limonada rece, insa, in Sorrento ne-am racorit altfel. Dupa cina, se serveste direct de la congelator o bautura pe baza de lamai, dar cu putin alcool, numita Limoncello.

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Limoncello este o bautura traditionala, originara din Sorrento care nu lipseste din casele oamenilor, fiind usor de preparat chiar si acasa. Bautura are la baza sucul de lamaie, coaja de la fruct, apa, zahar si alcool. Reteta clasica se face doar cu lamaile „Limone di Sorrento” si are un gust specific dulce-acrisor, insa, mergand pe deviza „cate case atatea obiceiuri”, limoncello se poate face in mai multe moduri, jongland cantitatea de lamai, de zahar, alcool sau chiar in combinatii cu alte citrice, in functie de preferintele fiecaruia. Recomandarea localnicilor este ca limoncello sa fie baut neaparat dupa masa si rece, daca se poate scos din congelator si de asemenea in pahare de ceramica racite.

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Avand in vedere ca turistii la inceput nu cunosc astfel de reguli de servire si consumare a preparatelor locale, personal, am gustat in fiecare orasel de pe coasta, pe care l-am vizitat, sau chiar la micile fabrici de limoncello intalnite pe drum, cate un pahar din faimoasa bautura si pot spune ca nici unul nu este la fel si niciunul nu se compara cu cel din Sorrento. Este foarte amuzant cum localnicii sunt atat de entuziasmati de bautura lor traditionala, astfel incat, aflat in zona si nestiind de ea, efectiv nu ai cum sa ratezi o degustare de limoncello deoarece se ofera peste tot din partea casei, la restaurante sau chiar pe strada in sutele de magazine ce impanzesc stradutele inguste. Cat vezi cu ochii e plin de lamai si limoncello. Un simbol si o traditie exploatata la maxim!

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Adela Teban

Plumeria-Parfum la miezul noptii

Plumeria, cunoscuta si ca Frangipani, este un arbust de talie medie din familia Apocynaceae. Aceasta planta este raspandita in tarile tropicale cu precadere in insulele Caraibe, Mexic sau tarile Asiatice precum India sau Thailanda. Nu este o planta pretentioasa si supravietuieste la fel de bine atat in natura cat si in ghiveci. Are nevoie de mult soare si putina apa, de asemenea este rezistenta la daunatori.

Plumeria flower pink and white frangipani tropical flower, plumeria flower bloominge, spa flower, Bali island.

Plumeria prezinta flori cu 5 petale in diferite culori de la alb, galben deschis pana la portocaliu sau chiar rosu, insa cea mai frecventa combinatie de culori o au florile albe cu mijlocul galben. Plumeria are florile foarte parfumate, o combinatie de arome intre vanilie si gardenie, destul de complicat de descris. Parfumul florilor se simte cel mai puternic noaptea, astfel poate sa atraga moliile sfinx pentru polenizare.

Plumeria frangipani flower in woman hand on a beautiful nature background

Arbustul este folosit ca planta decorativa de apartament, fiind foarte parfumata, exotica si spectaculoasa mai ales in zonele unde nu traieste in mod natural. Plumeria, insa, nu are doar rol decorativ, petalele sale pot fi folosite in patiserie, pentru decorarea prajiturilor sau chiar pentru dulceata, fiind comestibile. Floarea se poate consuma atata timp cat sunt indepartate total frunzele, acestea sunt foarte toxice.

Beautiful picture of frangipani plumeria flowers in the garden of balinese house, Bali island, Indonesia.

In cultura, Frangipani, este o floare sacra si reprezinta un simbol complex de mai bine de 2000 de ani. In perioada Maya sau Azteca aceasta floare reprezenta simbolul vietii si a fertilitatii, iar adesea era asemanata cu sexualitatea feminina. De asemenea, in zilele noastre, majoritatea templelor budiste sunt decorate cu flori Frangipani.

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Florile sunt un simbol national pentru Laos si Nicaragua, unde apar tiparite pe cateva bancnote, iar in Europa apar ca simbol al orasului Palermo din Sicilia. In China, Plumeria este considerata mai valoroasa decat orhidea si este folosita pentru a face declaratii de dragoste, iar in cultura Feng Shui este de asemenea un simbol al iubirii.

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Lavanda – Parfum de poveste

O floare cu parfum de poveste – lavanda. Din cele mai vechi timpuri, lavanda a fost indragita pentru parfumul sau unic si pentru frumusetea deosebita a culturilor care transforma orice peisaj intr-un basm. Din cele mai feerice locuri ale regiunii mediteraneene s-a raspandit in toata lumea, ducandu-si cu ea parfumul, culoarea si povestea.

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http://www.farm4.staticflickr.com

lavanda (13)Dintre cele 210 genuri ale familiei Lamiaceae, face parte si genul Lavandula cu aproximativ 40 de specii de lavanda. Aceasta planta isi are originea in zona mediteraneana, Africa si Sud-Estul Indiei, unde se intalneste si in flora spontana nu doar in culturi. Azi este cultivata in toate colturile lumii, cu diferita productivitate in functie de mediu si temperatura. cata (1 of 1)lavanda (2)Lavanda creste sub forma de tufe, fiind o planta ierboasa. Prezinta tulpini inalte de 30-50 cm, frunze inguste la baza tulpinilor, iar in varf fiecare tulpina dezvolta o inflorescenta cu multe flori mici, violet si foarte parfumate. Denumirea de lavanda provine de la verbul „lavare” (lat.) care inseamna „a spala”. Dupa cum ii spune si numele, extractul de lavanda este folosit in industrie, in special in componenta sapunurilor, detergentilor si a altor produse de curatat.DSC_0251lavanda (12)De asemenea, in industria cosmetica este frecvent folosita lavanda, datorita parfumului sau si a proprietatilor antiseptice si antibacteriene. Lavanda ajuta la mentinerea sanatatii pielii, a tenului si confera fermitate si stralucire parului. Aromaterapia este o alta intrebuintare, foarte populara, a acestei plante, ajutand astfel la reducerea stresului si a anxietatii. Se spune ca expunerea prelungita la aroma de levantica scade secretia de cortizol, un hormon implicat in producerea starilor de nervozitate si stres. Nu in ultimul rand, lavanda este folosita si in alimentatie. Da o savoare deosebita diferitelor preparate din carne, iar ceaiul de lavanda pe langa aroma are si proprietati curative pentru organism.

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http://www.naturesownessence.com

Dintre cele 40 de specii de lavanda voi aminti 2 dintre ele. Lavandula angustifolia este cea mai comuna, rezistenta si parfumata dintre specii. Rezista pana la -15 grade iarna, infloreste de doua ori intr-un an, iar parfumul si uleiul esential au o calitate superioara. Aceasta specie este reprezentata de mai multe soiuri, cel mai des este intalnita lavanda mov sau albastru-violet, insa, este la fel de parfumata si poate mai deosebita lavanda alba (L. angustifolia varietatea Edelweiss) sau de ce nu, lavanda roz (L. angustifolia varietatea Elegance pink). O alta specie mai nou aparuta este lavandinul (Lavandula X intermedia), acesta este un hibrid format din L. angustifolia si L. latifolia. Lavandinul este steril, se inmulteste doar prin butasi. Are o culoare mai intensa decat lavanda, insa parfumul si uleiul esential nu au o calitate la fel de buna.

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http://www.thelavenderg.co.uk

Aceasta planta, comuna in zilele noastre si foarte indragita, are o istorie veche de mii de ani. Povestea incantatorului parfum de lavanda a inceput in urma cu 2500 de ani cand in Egiptul antic era folosita in procesul de mumificare. Legenda spune ca insasi Cleopatra era fascinata de parfumul special al florilor si folosea esenta lor in scopuri afrodisiace, reusind in acest mod sa il cucereasca pe Iulius Cezar si Mark Antoniu.lavanda (6).JPGlavanda (1)Mai tariu, dupa aproximativ 1000 de ani, regiunea Provence din Franta a inceput sa capete nuante de mov. Levantica a fost adusa in zona din insulele Canare unde era prezenta in vegetatia spontana. In aceeasi perioada, grecii foloseau lavanda in mancare pe rol de condiment, iar romanii o foloseau pentru improspatarea hainelor adaugand in apa pentru spalat. Lavanda a fost de folos si in Evul Mediu cand primele forme de ciuma au fost tratate cu extract din aceasta planta. Oamenii din acea perioada purtau la incheietura mainii, buchetele de flori pentru a se feri de molima.lavanda (10).JPGLa inceputul anilor 1600, florile de lavanda ajung in atentia caselor regale, aceasta planta fiind introdusa in Anglia in timpul domniei reginei Elisabeta I, mai apoi devenind floarea preferata a reginei Maria Henrietta, sotia regelui Charles I. Nici perioada victoriana nu a ramas nemarcata de parfumul lavandei. Intre anii 1837-1901 (perioada de domnie a reginei Victoria), intreaga resedinta a reginei mirosea a lavanda, deoarece ea a cerut ca fiecare obiect de mobilier sa fie sters cu extract de levantica.

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http://www.theayurveda.org

Sfarsitul perioadei victoriene atinge un apogeu al interesului pentru aceasta floare cand in 1900, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, face primele cercetari stiintifice despre efectele benefice ale lavandei, introducand oficial aromaterapia ca metoda de combatere a stresului.

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http://www.avignon-et-provence.com

Pentru iubitorii de lavanda, inima Provence-ului va asteapta sa-i descoperiti tainele si sa simtiti parfumul de levantica la el acasa, unde intr-un orasel mic de provincie, Constelle, se afla muzeul lavandei. Acolo, filele de poveste au cu totul alta aroma.

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http://www.museedelalavande.com/en/

Daca nu v-ati saturat inca de aceasta poveste, ea continua in fiecare an la „Sarbatoarea lavandei” din Montelimar, Provence-Franta. La aceasta sarbatoare, an de an se strang peste 40 000 de turisti veniti sa admire pietele pline de buchetele mov parfumate.16980475-Dried-lavender-in-bouquets-for-sale-at-a-local-market-in-the-Provence-France-Stock-Photo.jpglavanda (3).JPGAdela Teban

 

 

 

 

 

Papucul doamnei – Lady’s slipper orchid

Una dintre cele mai impresionante flori din Romania este o orhidee. O floare rara si delicata, numita Papucul doamnei. Aceasta orhidee face parte din flora spontana a tarii noastre si este cu adevarat deosebita din punct de vedere al aspectului sau si a faptului ca este foarte rara.

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Papucul doamnei (Cypripedium calceolus) face parte din familia Orchidaceae si este originara din America de Nord, dar este raspandita in Asia si toata Europa, inclusiv in Rusia. In unele tari este mai frecventa in flora spontana, insa in Romania a devenit planta protejata in anul 1938 printr-un decret regal, fiind printre primele plante protejate declarate la noi in tara. Orhidea prefera padurile si tufarisurile din zonele calcaroase si infloreste din iunie pana in septembrie.

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Papucul doamnei este o floare deosebita nu doar prin raritatea ei ci si prin aspect. Forma orhideei ne duce cu gandul la un pantof de unde si denumirea populara. Planta creste 20-30 cm inaltime. Fiecare tulpina are 3-5 frunze mari si o singura floare. Floarea prezinta o buza ca un saculet, galben cu puncte visinii, inauntrul caruia se afla nectarul florii mult indragit de insecte. Acesta fiind inconjurat de 4 petale de culoarea rubinului.

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Datorita frumusetii sale de-a lungul timpului s-au nascut legende si povesti legate de aceasta floare. In general orhideele simbolizeaza puritatea si feminitatea, iar papucul doamnei confirma aceste simboluri, preluand de-a lungul anilor diferite denumiri cum ar fi pantoful lui Venus sau al Fecioarei Maria.  Dincolo de toate povestile populate, papucul doamnei va asteapta la inceputul verii sa-i aflati ascunzatoarea din padure si sa-i admirati frumusetea. Nu este usor de gasit, dar intalnirea cu ea va fi pe masura asteptarilor.

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*Despre alte orhidee*

Adela Teban