THE ASPARAGUS, ASPARAGUS OFFICINALIS.

February is the prime time to be out, roaming around in search of asparagus. Green asparagus is a hardy vegetable that can be found alongside the roads and in almost all abandoned fields and countryside in the Mediterranean climate. You can easily recognise the plant because of its length and spikes, with variations depending on the variety; there are more than 60!
Asparagus contains amongst other things saponins in its roots and shoots. Saponins in food have repeatedly been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties, and their intake has also been associated with improved blood pressure, better control of blood fat levels and also improves blood sugar regulation. Alongside these anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, asparagus provides a wide variety of antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin A, C, E and B (B1, B2, B6), beta-carotene, iron, calcium and the minerals zinc, manganese, and selenium. Once it arrives at our large intestine, it becomes an ideal food source for certain types of bacteria that are associated with better nutrient absorption, and boosting of your immune system (Note: the properties and nutritional power of white asparagus are reduced by being deprived of the sun).
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For Hydrops, rheumatism, jaundice, diseases of the liver and heart it is suggested to boil 15 grams of asparagus roots in a pint of water, strain your broth very well. Take it several times during the day. Some studies have shown that the frequent and permanent consumption of asparagus contributes positively in the prevention of the cancer, reason why its habituation in the diet is advisable. To increase the benefits of asparagus it is prudent to avoid consuming too much red meat, since there is some relationship between that type of meat and the disease.
People suffering from diseases of the kidneys and bladder should not consume this plant, as it is contraindicated for these organs. It is also contraindicated in people who are nervous or who suffer from insomnia. With a really high respiration rate asparagus has one of the shortest shelf life amongst the vegetables, so it is advisable to consume it within 24 to 48 hours of acquiring. It is always worth to keep an eye out for this delicious veg; sometimes you can find big bushes with more than 10 asparagus on it!
​Happy Foraging!
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The Stinging Nettle, Using it to Our Advantage.

Uritica dioica ,commonly known as Stinging nettle is a plant with many therapeutic applications due to its benefits and medicinal properties, it is also used in some traditional recipes due to its content in vitamins and minerals. In order to take advantage of its medicinal and nutritional benefits, we can use the nettle both internally (preparing it in infusion, tincture, infused oil, purees, soups, stews, etc.) and externally (plasters and oils) Both fresh and dry. For medicinal purposes mainly the leaves are used but sometimes also the roots of the nettle are used.

Nettle leaves are very rich in minerals, providing good amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, copper, boron, zinc, silica and vitamins A, B2, B5, B9, C and K. Provides chlorophyll, mucilages, flavonoids and fiber. The root of the nettle contains tannins and is well known for having astringent effects.The root can be taken dry in tea or powder form.

Fun fact, comparing spinach with nettles: Ten grams of nettle contains 290 milligrams of calcium and 86 milligrams of magnesium. In comparison, 10 grams of raw spinach contains 10 milligrams of calcium and 8 milligrams of magnesium!

When taking it orally, via tea or other, its effects benefit mainly the kidneys improving its functions and increases urine output and removal of uric acid. Nettle tea is effective in reducing itching and sneezing provoked by rashes, eczema or hay fever, also promoting hair and nail growth and eliminates acne. Studies have also shown that this plant helps with diabetes, blood pressure and arthritis.

If you have a garden or live near nature it is easy to spot this plant remember to handle it with gloves or pick it up from the under part of the leaf (only the top surface stings). Start to incorporate Nettles it into your diet and feel re-energised!

By Delfina Heskett.

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