Logan - Mediterranean aromatic plant,
with amazing effects on urinary and digestive disorders
The lovage is a very widely used plant in our country and there is almost no household in the countryside where it is not grown in the garden.
The lovage stands out among garden greens for its imposing stature, but also for the slightly bluish green of its glossy leaves. The whole plant exudes a strong aromatic smell, which is highly appreciated by all housewives, so that in the traditional Romanian kitchen the lettuce is almost indispensable.
The botanical name of the lovage Levisticum officinale, being the only species of the genus Levisticum. Part of the family Apiaceae, which also includes carrots, parsley, celery and dill. In the folklore it is also called leoštean, libistoc, luștrean, luștereag, weed of the spoon, leaf of love, păscănaț.
Basil is a fragrant herb that is widely used in cooking, especially in south-eastern Europe. It is related to celery, both in appearance and in taste and aroma. You can use all the parts of this plant: the leaves, roots, seeds and fruit, which when added to food will give it a special taste.
The origin of the lovage is unclear. It is most likely native to south-west Asia, in the territory of ancient Persia, first spreading to the Mediterranean area and then, in the 9th century, acclimatised in northern Europe by edict of Charles the Great, King of the Franks. It may well have arrived in Romania before the Roman invasion.
The word lovage comes from the Latin levisticum, derived, on Hungarian lineage, from lestyan. Word levisticum comes from the term ligusticum, indicating the origin of the plant in Liguria, a region in north-western Italy where the lovage was intensively cultivated.
A brief history
Basil has been known and appreciated since ancient times, both for culinary and therapeutic purposes.
Ancient Greek physicians were the first to record the beneficial effects of the green leaves of the lovage on the digestion and nervous system.
In Romanian folk medicine, it was used as a healing plant for chest and digestive diseases and for various wounds, but also as a magic plant.
Wine of lovage was an ancient remedy, known for its effects in combating anorexia, indigestion, some heart diseases associated with fluid retention.
In the Romanian folk tradition, the nutmeg is attributed a magical aura, considered to have an extraordinary power to keep away evil spirits. This belief is confirmed by the immense capacity of the leaves to absorb toxins from the body, which subsequently has powerful purifying effects on the subtle-energetic layers of the being.
Throughout Romania it was believed that the best remedies for subtle protection, with a particular power of exorcism, are the lovage, the odolean (valerian) and the mint-cream.
Because of its magical virtues, the nutmeg is said to be the guardian of the garden. If it is stolen, your greens wither because there is no one to guard them.
Held around the waist or around the neck, it was believed that the horsetail warded off evil, whatever form it took. In Bucovina, too, the root of the dill was used as a method of exorcism, dug out of the ground on Good Friday, crushed and given a teaspoonful every evening.
The leaves of the lovage put in the bath water chase away dark thoughts and it also keeps people away from the bad influences of the full moon, says the popular tradition. And girls who want to be irresistible should take a bath with rosehips and rose blossoms, because rose hips bring blessed love.
The Moors of the Apuseni used to give girls at puberty to eat wheat cakes with fresh basil on the morning of Pentecost, to ward off the "flies", i.e. the hormonal storms of adolescence.
Description of the plant
Although it originates from warmer regions, the lovage has adapted very well in Romania. It is not at all a fussy plant, resisting both excessive heat and frost. It is a light tolerant species and can tolerate semi-shade. In order to grow well, the lovage needs soil that is always moist, at least in the first year.
It is a perennial and when grown in the garden, it lives for an average of 7-10 years.
The lovage grows on hard, cold soils, unlike its relatives, which prefer sandy, warm ones.
The underground part contains a thick rhizome, extending with a branching taproot. The root is very large, reaching lengths of over 1 metre.
The stem is up to 3-4cm thick, tubular, hollow inside. It is 2-3 metres tall and branched at the top.
The leaves are dark green, toothed, varying in height, the lower ones reaching 50-70cm and having long petioles, the upper ones becoming smaller and less divided, with shorter and shorter petioles.
From the second year, in midsummer, the dogwood forms small, yellowish flowers, clustered in compact umbels, from which the seeds will form.
It is propagated in spring by direct sowing or with seedlings, both in the garden and in pots. After the seedlings grow vigorous enough, they need to be thinned out to give them room to grow. The lovage is resistant to pests and regular harvesting will prevent yellowing of the leaves.
You can also grow the lovage at home in winter.
The aroma of the lovage
The basil is very aromatic, with a penetrating smell, somewhat similar to celery but much stronger, with a slight hint of fenugreek leaves. The taste is characteristic, pleasant, slightly spicy, very aromatic and bittersweet.
Its unmistakable aroma gives a special flavour to our soups, broths, stews, seasoning them in a unique way when combined with dill and parsley in equal proportions. It is also used in pickles, sauces, salads and garnishes.
The whole plant can be used for culinary and healing purposes.
Thus, the leaves and stems of the lovage are used, harvested in May-June, the seeds, collected in August-September, and the root, harvested in October-November.
Basil leaves can be eaten fresh or dried. Dried, however, the flavour is much reduced. Once picked, the leaves can last for 2-3 days at room temperature and about a week in the fridge, packed in a plastic bag. The dried leaf bunches should be kept away from moisture and light. An alternative method of storage is to press the green leaves hard into jars and add plenty of salt. Chopped leaves can also be frozen, as they retain their properties best.
It is preferable to eat the leaves fresh or add them to the dish at the end of cooking so that the nutritional qualities of the plant are not lost.
The nutmeg has many curative properties, it is a true food-medicine.
The lovage is rich in quercetin, one of the most active flavonoids present in the plant kingdom, which has strong antioxidant, immune modulating, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Quercetin also enhances the activity of many enzymes in our body.
The leaves of the lovage contain aromatic volatile oils, vitamins A and C, and the seeds are rich in zinc, iron and salt. The root contains starch, sucrose, water and resin. All parts of the plant contain gummy resins, tannins, fats and mineral salts.
Coumarin (a bitter-tasting compound) present in the leaves of the lovage has beneficial effects in cases of hypertension, septicaemia, osteoporosis, asthma, and helps reduce tumours and inflammation.
Treats kidney disease
St. John's wort is indicated in renal lithiasis and urinary tract infections. A study carried out in Germany shows that freshly squeezed basil juice, 10 teaspoons to a cup of carrot juice and drunk in combination, is an excellent solution for dissolving kidney stones (urates, oxalates) and preventing their formation. When fresh basil is not available, the same beneficial effects can be obtained by drinking 3-4 cups of macerate daily, prepared from 2 teaspoons of dried plant (leaves and seeds) to 250 ml of cold water, which is left for 6-8 hours to extract the active principles.
Basil is an excellent diuretic, so in case of urine retention it is recommended to eat it fresh, added to hot soups and fresh vegetable salads. By helping the body to eliminate excess water, some heart diseases associated with fluid retention can be avoided.
The diuretic effect, coupled with an antispasmodic effect, occurs when about 20 g per day of the plant is ingested, being indicated in renal blockage that occurs post-operatively, as well as after taking drugs that inhibit diuresis and in some tumour diseases. The active ingredients present in the leaves of the lovage stimulate the formation and elimination of urine and help to eliminate urea and other waste products from the body.
However it is recommended to use with caution in severe cases of inflammation, kidney pain and kidney dysfunction.
To prevent and treat cystitis, eat plenty of fresh nettle, added to various dishes, or drink a macerate of nettle leaves, three cups a day.
Regulates the menstrual cycle
Balm has a regulating effect on the menstrual cycle and prevents cramps and discomfort that occur before or during menstruation. For this, it is recommended to drink a cup of the basil macerate in the morning and evening every day for three weeks. If severe menstrual cramps occur, drink a cup of warmed chasteberry macerate.
Studies show that treatment with chasteberry is effective against bacterial infections. In a study by the University of Birmingham, the basil showed the strongest antibiotic effect against bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli and H. pylori among 22 plant extracts used.
Lowers blood pressure
The oil obtained from the horsetail reduces blood pressure and stimulates diuresis.
Treats digestive disorders
The lovage regulates the secretion of gastric juices and promotes peristalsis, the release of bile from the gallbladder, has anti-inflammatory effects, with beneficial influences in cases of cholecystitis and pancreatitis, and alleviates inappetence. It is also recommended against dyspepsia, indigestion, hypo- or hyper-acid gastritis, biliary dyskinesia (lazy bowel). For this, chew 1-2 fresh leaves of nettle before and after a meal.
The macerate prepared from the seeds of the horsetail quickly soothes stomach pains.
Good results have also been obtained in the treatment of anorexia nervosa, thanks to the angelic acid contained in its leaves, which confers nervous and mental tonic effects.
If a larger quantity of basil is consumed, 5-10 leaves at a time, it has the opposite effect of reducing appetite, thus constituting an adjuvant against excess food cravings.
One of the most common uses of lovage is in the relief of gas, bloating, colic in children and other digestive problems. It is believed that the anti-inflammatory effect of the basil is what helps to improve intestinal tract problems. For example, the nutmeg contains the anti-inflammatory compound limonene, which one study has shown to have significant anti-inflammatory effects in rats with colitis.
A recent study shows that the flavonoids contained in the leaves of this plant have anti-inflammatory effects on the intestinal mucosa, while its antiseptic volatiles regulate the flora of the digestive tract.
Indigestion and dyspepsia are treated with a ten-day course of two teaspoons of lovage juice before main meals.
The volatile oils and bitter substances it contains are an excellent digestive stimulant and harmoniously increase appetite. For an intake of vitamins, especially useful in anorexia, the juice of the lovage, obtained by passing a few bunches of the plant, is recommended.
Nausea and biliary dyskinesia pass if you chew two fresh leaves of nettle before and after a meal.
Constipation, even the atonic forms, can be cured with juice of lovage, possibly diluted with carrot juice, one glass a day, preferably drunk in the morning.
Irritable bowel syndrome
Active substances with antispasmodic and carminative effect make of the nutmeg one of the most effective herbs indicated in the treatment of irritable bowel. Irritable bowel syndrome, enterocolitis and fermentation colitis are relieved by eating fresh basil as well as a cup of basil leaf macerate twice a day.
In case of intestinal colic and digestive spasms, drink a cup of gently warmed macerate (2 teaspoons of dried leaves are soaked for 4-5 hours in 250 ml of water, then strain).
Treats respiratory ailments
St. John's wort is traditionally used as an expectorant and to relieve coughs and sore throats. The herb contains a substance called eucalyptol, which has been shown to have an anti-inflammatory effect in bronchial asthma.
Sore throats and tonsillitis pass with a gargle of heated macerate of dried or fresh nettle leaves. Pharyngitis and laryngitis are easily treated by eating fresh nettle leaves and gargling four times a day with a macerate of leaves and seeds. Colds and flu are also prevented by eating fresh leaves, which contain volatile oils with a strong anti-infective action and polysaccharides with an immune-stimulating action. Bronchitis and coughs are treated with hot macerates, two or even three cups a day. This treatment is also a good adjuvant in case of pleurisy or pneumonia.
In case of bronchial catarrh, expectoration is greatly facilitated by ingesting the macerate from the leaves of the nettle. And the fresh juice is a powerful medicine used against chronic chest diseases such as bronchitis, tobacco bronchitis, remnant cough, asthma. Take it diluted in a little carrot root juice and take 3-4 tablespoons of leaf juice, 4 times a day.
Much improved peripheral circulation
To combat poor peripheral circulation, eat 10-25 grams of fresh chives a day. It dilates the blood vessels, helping to improve the blood supply to areas of the body such as the hands, feet and ears.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the nutmeg are also useful in treating joint conditions such as gout, arthritis and rheumatic inflammation. It is used both internally and applied externally to painful areas.
To relieve headaches and even severe migraines, chew some fresh leaves for a long time. Horehound soothes pain and reduces vomiting in migraine headaches. The treatment is also recommended in biliary crises, as it normalises the activity of the gallbladder.
Lovage also contains an important anti-inflammatory compound called quercetin, which has been shown to help in allergy treatments. Quercetin inhibits the production of histamines in the body and reduces skin irritations caused by environmental sensitivities, red eyes, rhinitis or other potential allergic symptoms.
Ne ahelps to have beautiful and healthy skin
The nutmeg is considered both an elixir of health and beauty of the skin, and its uses are surprising in this area.
In case of skin pigmentation (spots), the affected area should be gently rubbed with freshly crushed nettle leaves. The action takes five minutes and is done twice a day for a week. Exceptional results are also obtained in treating stains caused by contact with various chemicals. And in the case of those that appear as a result of internal disorders, the external treatment should be doubled with a detoxification cure, lasting at least 2 weeks, during which time 12 teaspoons of chasteberry juice are administered daily.
It has been observed that the balm can soothe or reduce skin oedema. Thus, it can be used to treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and acne. The leaves can be applied directly to the affected area as a poultice. They are also used for hard-to-heal wounds, skin ulcers and boils. The poultice is applied to the skin, covered with sterile gauze and left for a few hours, then replaced.
For beautiful thighs, it is advisable to eat a daily salad of finely chopped basil leaves sprinkled with lemon juice. This diet will stimulate poor circulation in the thighs, eliminating those unsightly "bruises".
For treating grades I and II burns, the treatment is similar. The application of chasteberry has local soothing effects, prevents infection and accelerates the recovery of damaged tissues.
Allergic reactions on the skin are reduced with freshly chopped basil leaves, which are left for about an hour. The results are due to direct antihistamine effects, which soothe itching and reduce inflammation.
Perfumes and creams
The essential oils of nutmeg are used in the cosmetics industry to make perfumes and creams.
As a cosmetic product, in the Middle Ages, the nutmeg was one of the ingredients of perfumes, beauty waters, as well as a very effective remedy for treating hair. For this, the leaves and seeds of the nutmeg are recommended in the form of a macerate or nutmeg oil, applied directly to the scalp.
Vitamin A and zinc in the composition of the lovage stimulate hair growth and strengthening, maintain the secretion of the scalp's natural oil, and vitamin C keeps it healthy and prevents hair loss.
Lovage in the kitchen
The leaves, roots and seeds of the lovage have many uses in the kitchen.
In European cuisine, it is among the few vegetables and spices that are considered to be salt substitutes in terms of taste.
In German cuisine, the lovage is used to season potato dishes.
In the Romanian and Italian culinary tradition, the main use of the leaves is in the preparation of stews, soups, especially those containing potatoes, beans, peas and lentils.
The leaves are often used to flavour dishes to which chilli peppers are added. They are also used to season vegetable pies, vegetable dishes. Fresh leaves can be added to salads.
In addition to their culinary properties, the leaves and flowers of the lovage are also used to garnish various dishes and even cakes. They can also be used to flavour biscuits, bread and butter.
Due to their celery-like flavour, the leaves of the dill can replace the celery.
Stems and seeds of lovage are suitable for seasoning pickles and vinegars, as well as tomato sauces. The seeds of the lovage have similar uses to fennel seeds.
In order not to lose their flavour, it is best to eat the basil leaves as little as possible after they have been thermally prepared. They are sprinkled on top as soon as the pieces are taken off the heat and left to stand for a while covered.
Basil should not be used during pregnancy as it can cause premature births by triggering contractions of the uterus. Consume in moderate amounts (maximum 3 g per day of fresh leaves) during breastfeeding.
Very rarely has an irritative effect of high amounts of leishthan over long periods of time been observed in kidney infections.
It is also necessary to avoid sun exposure during treatment with chasteberry, as the plant contains furanocoumarins, which can induce photosensitivity.