A curious name for a medicinal plant, which originates from an equally curious characteristic of the species itself, namely the spread between cracks in the external walls and along the streets. In fact, it is easy to find this plant as a spontaneous generation along asphalted paths and walls, which with its roots over time it even manages to destroy. Up to 70 cm high, it is particularly widespread also near hedges and more or less dense woodland vegetation. There parietary it is easily recognizable by its appearance due to its appearance with a cylindrical stem, brown-red in color and covered with protective hair. It has oval, sticky leaves and small flowers, green in color like the rest of the plant, grouped in glomeruli placed at the axilla height of the leaves. It is a plant that has male, female and hermaphrodite flowers that develop in the period between May and October, and then give life to the fruit, an oval-shaped achene. It is an odorless plant of tropical origin, which, however, is now widespread even in our areas up to 700 meters high and can be the origin of many forms of pollen allergies. In medicine it is used for its diuretic, purifying and emollient properties. Curiously, the plant is also used for cleaning in the home: with its hairy achenes it is perfect for the thorough cleaning of glass or glass containers.
Active ingredients and beneficial effects
There parietary it is widely used in herbal medicine thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties affecting the urinary tract. It is mainly used in the form of herbal teas or infusions, but to be taken only if there is no allergy to its pollens. The effects of the parietaria are highly diuretic, therefore it also has a purifying and soothing function; it is particularly indicated in case of kidney stones and inflammation of the bladder, on which it also acts by stimulating diuresis. The diuretic action of the parietaria depends on the presence of flavonodes and potassium salts, while glycolic acid and glyceric acid are responsible for the hepatorenal action which makes the plant suitable for kidney disorders and inflammation. Among the beneficial effects of the parietaria, however, there are not only the properties linked to the anti-inflammatory action: plant extracts are also exploited for external use for healing and soothing products. It can be used as an ointment in case of burns, in such a way as to also exploit its analgesic action.
Cultivation and use
Most of the parietaria plants used in the medical and phytotherapeutic fields derive from the collection of spontaneous sprouts, since in nature it is a very widespread species and easy to find even in large quantities. It grows mainly in wooded areas, near hedges or bushes, but also close to walls and walls, which with its roots can crack and destroy. It is a plant that in urban environments also adapts to the most unfavorable conditions for growth and development, but which in natural environments risks being suffocated by the presence of other weeds. It is found common on the national territory in large quantities. In Italy, the region with the greatest cultivation of parietaria is Emilia Romagna, even if it is found in every area below 700 meters above sea level. The cultivation of the parietaria turns out to be quite simple, as it grows in different types of soil and in predominantly sunny environments. Propagation occurs by sowing in spring, with flowering in spring and summer. The main use of the parietaria takes place in the form of infusions and herbal teas, which exploit its soothing properties; its leaves can also be boiled and eaten as a side dish for vegetables or used in salads. The leaves of the plant are mainly used, but also extracts in the case of soothing creams and ointments for external use, particularly popular to fight burns and to promote wound healing.
Parietary: Products on the market
The leaves of the parietaria can be consumed in their natural state, as seen, or be used to create the drug at the base of herbal teas and infusions. The plant is also used for soothing and healing creams and ointments, using the aerial portion. Herbal teas and infusions can also be used daily or, in case of kidney and bladder inflammation, even several times a day; therefore better reduced doses distributed throughout the day. The consumption does not involve particular side effects, but it must be avoided by people allergic to the pollen of the plant; allergy to the parietaria is particularly widespread therefore it is good to be sure not to fall into the category before making the consumption. The consumption of the parietaria is linked to a diuretic effect that contributes to the health of the kidneys and bladder, with purifying effects for the whole body.
Use of medicinal plants in the South-Eastern area of the Partenio Regional Park (Campania, Southern Italy)
This study documents the pharmaceutical importance of plant resources in the South-Eastern area of the Partenio Regional Park (PRP), inland Campania, Avellino province. This is reflected in the great diversity of plants used for medicinal purposes as well as in their wide range of medicinal applications.
Materials and methods
In order to collect information on medicinal plants used in the investigated area and to maximize the collection of local knowledge, informants were randomly contacted in the streets, squares and fields. Data were collected through both open and semi-structured interviews with native people between April 2012 and April 2013.
The study recorded 87 plant species belonging to 76 genera and 35 families used as medicine for treating various diseases, both human and veterinary. Herbs represent the majority (56 species), followed by trees (18) and shrubs (13). Among the recorded plants, leaves were the most frequently used and topic use is the most common remedy. Cough is the most treated human disease followed by wounds healing.
The investigated area is endowed with a strong tradition of herbal medicine usage for primary healthcare (PHC). The preservation of this knowledge is due to the continued use of plants for PHC by the local community. This is due to the fact that in the study area still exists an oral tradition that allows the persistence of such information. Recovering ancient knowledge is very important for preserving ethno-biodiversity and to discover new entities for a further evaluation of their biological activity.
Ethnobotanical investigation on medicinal plants in the Vesuvio National Park (Campania, Southern Italy)
This paper illustrates the results of an ethnobotanical study carried out in the Vesuvio National Park (VNP) (Campania, Southern Italy). It describes the medicinal uses of the plants in an ancient area rich in ethnobiodiversity investigated for the first time.
Aim for the study
The main aim of the study was to understand at what extent current knowledge on medicinal plant uses is still alive in VNP.
Materials and methods
The informations were collected using semi-structured and unstructured interviews performed on 136 persons living in the investigated area from March to November 2014 and from April to October 2015. The age of the informants ranged from 47 to 85 years old more than half of the informants aged between 61 and 70. Local plant uses were listed and analyzed in a table and compared with uses in other localities in Italy and in other regions of the Mediterranean basin.
In VNP were recorded a total number of 132 plant species, belonging to 110 genera and 51 families mentioned for medicinal purposes. Among the recorded 132 plant species, 70 are spontaneous or subspontaneous and 62 are cultivated above all in the kitchen gardens or in the apartments, as food or as ornamental. Herbs represent the majority, followed by trees and shrubs or subshrubs. The investigated plants were used to cure 116 different human health diseases and 4 veterinary problems. The majority of plants are used in the treatment of gastrointestinal, skin and respiratory problems.
The number of medicinal plants reported in this paper reflects a well-preserved traditional popular knowledge (TPK) of the elderly people living in the rural areas and in the small villages of VNP. The conservation of TPK is owed to the persistence of an oral tradition that safeguard the use of plants as herbal medicine. We realized that while the use of some wild plants is decreasing, people continue to gather some cultivated and invasive plants for preparing remedies. Researches like this are necessary to protect ancient memories, to promote the transfer of information to the younger generations, to preserve ethno-biodiversity and to provide a starting point fur further biochemical investigations on medicinal entities.
Parietaria - garden
The months from May to July are perfect for nature walks to "hunt" for various edible herbs. I start harvesting the first seedlings in February with the sprouting of primroses and other soft leaves in the woods and meadows. As the months progress, the harvest changes and in fact in the Curkumina Kitchen during this spring we have enriched our dishes with plants such as nettle, dandelion, parietaria, ramsons, alliaria, comfrey, terrestrial ivy and toxilage to name a few. Many of these herbs are considered "weeds" because they easily infest vegetable patches and gardens but in truth plants such as nettle and dandelion are real superfood thanks to their high content of vitamins and minerals. Collected in nature, naturally away from traffic and pollution, they are free of chemicals such as pesticides or fertilizers, you can find them at “zero kilometer” and they are also free!
I state that the use of wild herbs in the kitchen requires some preparation for recognizing the plants as there are also poisonous species. But starting experimenting with varieties that we all know and helping you in the recognition and description of their properties in the kitchen with some books on the subject, you could surprise your loved ones with new unexpected and healthy tastes and combinations.
Personally I started using wild plants a few years ago and from year to year I am discovering new species to taste. Each herb has its own specific taste: many have a neutral taste, then there are bitter, sour, spicy and even sweet ones. Herbs such as sorrel can be used to replace vinegar, while water cress "pinches" is remarkably spicy. The unmistakable wild garlic, on the other hand, "tastes" of garlic and many people, as well as myself, find it difficult to digest it raw - in fact, I quickly overcook it to prepare the wild garlic pesto.
The edible flowers of the garden and the many wild herbs are excellent for decorating dishes, cakes or desserts and can be combined with herbal teas. During the summer months I collect and dry the petals of the wrinkled rose, wisteria and viperine to name a few. Preserved in small glass jars, I can then use them during the winter months to decorate various dishes.
Parietaria - foraging in the garden
There parietary (parietaria officinalis, family Urticaceae) it is one of my favorite wild herbs and certainly in addition to dandelion and nettle the plant that is found practically everywhere in my area: in gardens, along shady paths, among ruins and next to old stone walls. It has an erect, rather fragile stem with a reddish color, thin leaves that are a little hairy and shiny. The hairs on the leaves make them look sticky and many remember playing as a child of sticking leaflets on their shirts. Also thanks to this property, once the leaves were used, added to water, to clean the inside of bottles and glass flasks of wine and vinegar residues, which is why it is also nicknamed "vitriol herb".
The harvest of the parietaria extends throughout the summer months: when it is cut it grows back again. For use in the kitchen, tender buds before flowering are suitable, especially eaten cooked. The taste is delicate, reminiscent of walnut and is an excellent substitute for spinach. But be careful: it has strong allergenic properties so allergy sufferers must be careful with the use of the parietary.
It is used in homeopathic medicine, it stimulates the expulsion of phlegm and treats the symptoms of cough, bronchitis and asthma. It is also an excellent diuretic thanks to the presence of potassium and flavonoids and for this reason it can be used as an herbal tea if you want to reduce excess fluids and cellulite.
The terrine that I propose is perfectly suited as an appetizer or as a side dish of a fish or meat dish. Decorating it with aromatic herbs and edible flowers makes a good impression on the table. Of course, you can replace the parietaria with another spontaneous herb or, for example, with spinach. But now let's see how to prepare this quick and easy recipe!