Even if the peach tree comes from China, Greece’s peach cultivating tradition is kind of a big story. Northern Greece has vast valleys of peach trees. This time of the year the countryside near the city of Veria is a ‘sea of pink’. Peach fields offer a unique view, which nowadays not only nature lovers admire.
Although the peach tree’s scientific name is Prunus persica, it came from China to Persia (Iran). Greek botanist Theophrastus called it ‘Proumni from Persia’ and then this scientific name passed on to Linnaeus. Romans called them ‘Venus’ breasts’ because of the shape of the fruit. Did you ever imagine this while eating this delicious fruit? In Taoism, peaches symbolize fertility and is a symbol for sex. Then, the tree travelled to America and Australia with the explorers. Virginia started to cultivate peach trees 1720’s.
The Peach’s nutritional value consists mainly in vitamin A and C and it is rich is potassium and magnesium. Also, it has some iron. It is low in calories (a 100 g peach has 39 calories and is rich in fiber. But its true power is hidden in the antioxidants of the peal. It is better to buy organic peaches since the fruit needs a lot of agrochemicals to fight off diseases. Organic peaches are almost free of agrochemicals. If you have a small relatively warm place, it is easy to cultivate a peach tree and have your own peaches in around four years.
Greek tradition uses all parts of the tree for healing. Leaves are a diuretic and they are good for kidney problems. Flowers are ideal for asthma and constipation and the bark is used for bronchitis and asthma. External use of leaves with olive oil helps with burns and ground seeds and flowers are used in cosmetology for strengthening hair or as a peeling to remove dead cells of the skin.
*The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira is an Agriculturist-MSc Botany-Biology and PhD in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural-Environmental Education and Science Communication.