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Food

The Beauty of the Forest in Your Home: Linking Herbalism with History

Many herbs of Greek forests were linked with language, mythology and botany. One of these plants is ‘adiantos’ or ‘polytrichi’ in Greek, Adiantum capillus-veneris, a common fern in Greek forests. According to myth, Aphrodite, goddess of beauty, rose from the sea with dry beautiful hair, which looked like this little plant. The most famous common name for it worldwide is Venus Hair Fern.

Venus Hair Fern looks like parsley and grows in all wet places like nearby streams and springs, wet walls, and caves. It is very easy to uproot and transplant it to your home in a pot. Also, it is not an endangered species, so you will not harm the environment by ‘stealing’ one or two. It looks and smells beautiful and you can keep it for many years.

The name Polytrichi refers to its hair-like appearance (poly=many, tricha=hair). Its characteristic is that it does not get wet in the water, hence its association with the hair of Venus, which emerged with her beautiful and not wet as she rose from the water. Its common and most important use from ancient times until today is strengthening hair, stopping hair loss and dandruff. It is better to use only the leaves in order to obtain all tannins, gallic acid, and other important substances. The other important use is for the health of your respiratory system. It helps with phlegm from coughs but also bronchial problems. Dioscorides used it also for asthma.

For hair health, put 50 g of dried leaves in a litter of water for about 10 hours. Afterwards, massage the roots of your hair with the liquid. You continue this recipe for two weeks.

For respiratory problems, use a teaspoon of dried hair for each cup of tea. You boil it for half an hour and drink three cups between meals for a week.

* 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

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