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La Balsamita

Commonly called the name of Erba di San Pietro or Bitter herb, Balsamita is part of the Composite family. It has creeping roots but the stem is erect and the leaves are oval and can be even 20 centimeters long. Their coloring is characteristic because it tends to the silver. The very intense aroma of the plant is due to the glands that are found inside the leaves that give off an aroma similar to that of mint. Flowering occurs in July and the flowers are very small.

Balsamita cultivation

The plant prefers temperate temperatures and cannot withstand very hot temperatures or temperatures below zero. Balsamita should be grown under some taller tree or plant that can protect it during sunny days. In fact, it needs sun for only a few hours and then requires penumbra and coolness. The plant loves rocky and limestone soils while it does not find its habitat in compact soils because it tends to tend to water stagnation that would mold the roots. The plant grows mainly in Asia but is also found in the Mediterranean areas and in North America. By fragmenting the rhizome of the balsam, its propagation is obtained but also by sowing and dividing it into tufts. The famous St. Peter's grass can be grown in vegetable gardens, in gardens and in very large pots.

Therapeutic principles of Balsamita

The therapeutic properties of the plant are found mainly in the leaves and the top of the flowers but also in the essential oils obtained from it. The plant is also excellent for different culinary preparations in fact it is used to prepare tasty omelettes and to give flavor to dishes. From the flowers and leaves of the balsam, an oil is made from the digestive and diuretic principles. The balsam leaves macerated in olive oil are used for burns and for minor injuries or excoriations. The poultices made with these leaves soothe the headache considerably. It seems that the famous St. Peter's Grass has remarkable properties against colds, vomiting, aerophagia and intestinal pains.
The plant also stimulates liver functions allowing it to secrete more bile than usual and is also used to soothe the burning caused by insect bites and the consequent swelling. If the grass is dried and placed in cloth bags, it can be used as a perfume for linen and keeps insects away.

Use of Balsamita

Already in the Middle Ages the Balsamita was widely used because it was thought to be useful for any type of pathology. Over the years, it was realized that the plant was of considerable importance for bronchitis, fever, colic and gastrointestinal disorders. Improperly it was used by the commoners, to treat those acute depressive states that led to panic attacks. After extensive studies, instead, we began to understand the true virtues of the plant that apparently was also used to defeat those menstrual disorders that make the monthly cycle painful and abundant. Even today its use is carried out in this sense. The emmenagogue action of the plant seems to be really effective for this purpose. In Florence in the workshops of Santa Maria Novella, odorous compounds are made while in herbalist's shops we find the dried St. Peter's herb ready to prepare herbal teas and decoctions. The in-depth studies that are being carried out on this plant, it seems, have not detected any type of contraindications apart from some small side effects due to an individual hypersensitivity. Of course, as with all medicinal herbs, it is essential to seek advice from an expert before taking preparations made with this plant.

Balsamita: How to prepare an infusion of Balsamita

In herbal medicine Balsamita is found very easily. If you have a cough, aerophagia, intestinal disorders or disorders related to the respiratory system, you can prepare at home, a great infusion to drink for three or four times a day. Boil a liter of water in a stainless steel pot and then pour it into a container in which you have placed 20 grams of dried flowers. Let the infusion rest for 10 minutes well covered so as not to lose the virtues. Drink the mixture several times a day, possibly sweetened with raw honey.
With St. Peter's grass, you can prepare an excellent liqueur that has the same therapeutic properties as indicated above. 500 grams of alcohol are put in a well sterilized glass jar and it is combined with 7 well-washed and dried San Pietro Erba leaves. The rind of an untreated lemon enclosed in a net is also added and the jar is then hermetically sealed. The jar should be placed in the dark in a room with a temperature that is not too hot. After 8 days, the alcohol can be filtered. In a stainless steel pot boil 600 grams of water with 300 grams of sugar. As soon as the sugar has melted and the water has cooled, you can add it to the alcohol. The liqueur should be seasoned for six months and is also an excellent digestive.