Thursday, 10 April 2008


“To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.” - Buddha

The plant for this day’s birthdays is avens (herb Bennet), Geum urbanum. The generic name of the plant is supposedly derived from the Greek word for “to taste”, geuomai. This is related to the use of the root of the plant as an additive to ale, preventing it going sour and conferring upon it a clove-like flavour. The root was also used as a substitute for cloves in stewed apples and apple pies. Bennet is a corruption of Benedict, after the Saint, as it was considered a plant sacred to him. The plant was attributed with miraculous healing properties, especially for all internal injuries and chest complaints. The upper leaves with their three leaflets symbolised the trinity in medieval times, while the five-petalled yellow flower symbolised the five wounds of Christ on the cross. Astrologically, avens is under the dominion of Jupiter.

Avens is still used nowadays by herbalists as a medicine, because of its astringent effect. Avens-based herbal cures are mainly used to treat disorders that affect the region of the mouth, the region of the throat, as well as problems that affect the gastrointestinal tract of a person. Avens-based herbal medications lead to the tightening of soft gums; it can heal canker sores, and makes a really good gargling solution to treat infections in the region of the pharynx and the larynx. Avens-based herbal medications also help in bringing about a reduction in the irritation affecting the stomach and the gut. Avens-based herbal cures can be used in the treatment of disorders like peptic ulcers, problems such as irritable bowel syndrome, in the treatment of diarrhoea and chronic dysentery. The herb is included in many herbal lotions and ointments, these can bring soothing relief from the symptoms of haemorrhoids. Avens can also be made into an herbal douche to treat problems like excessive vaginal discharge; a herbal avens-based douche can also be used for general cleansing of the vaginal cavity. One more reputed property of the avens is that it possesses a mild quinine type effect and can supposedly bring relief from a fever by lowering the body temperature.

And our word of the day is:

herbalism |ˈ(h)ərbəˌlizəm| noun
The study or practice of the medicinal and therapeutic use of plants, now especially as a form of complementary and alternative medicine.
ORIGIN Middle English: via Old French from Latin herba ‘grass, green crops, herb.’ Although herb has always been spelled with an h, pronunciation without it was usual in British English until the 19th century and is still standard in the U.S.

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