Medical herbs on Durmitor

In the territory of Durmitor there is a host of medical herbs. The pure, unpolluted nature makes this herbs even more valuable and more healing. In its incessant battle for sheer survival, our people knew to value that, and that is very evident from our folk songs. Healing by herbs was always wrapped in a poetic silk, and into a deep secrecy:

Let the fairy be in the mountain,
Let the fairy gather herbs,
She gathers herbs and sings,
She gathered herbs,
And healed her hero.

A host of herbs so well known by highlanders found its place in the official medical science. Nowadays there is a strong trend for going back to mother nature, to use more and more herbs. That is also confirmed by more and more institutes specialized in researching herbs, but also by numerous clinics healing exclusively by medical herbs.

Medical herbs grow right here in the unpolluted nature of Durmitor, ready to help you keep your health, but also your soul, which may enjoy the wonderful scenes on Durmitor….

JUNIPER BUSH (VACCINIUM MYRTILLUS)

This is one of the gifts of the mountain, not a single home ought to be without reserves of dried juniper-berries.

The medical part of the plant: the leaf and the fruit (fresh and dried). The leaf is collected in the spring, while the plant is blossoming, and the fruit quite ripe (July – august).

Habitat: You may found the plant in semi-humid beech-tree and needle-tree forests, as well as in open spaces in forests, in the mountain.

Pharmaceutically active substances: The leaf contains 20% of catechol tonins, 18% sugar, arbuthin, organic acids, a lot of minerals and antocyans: neomyrtillin and myrtillin (plant insulin).
The fruit contains: organic acids, sugar, Vitamins C and B, carotene, dyestuffs etc.

Preparing leaf tea : one fool tea-spoon of dry and finely powdered leaves ought to be over poured with one cup of boiling water, covered for fifteen minutes. Drink unsugared, sip by sip, 2-3 cups daily, but not one hour before and one hour after a meal.

Preparing compote from dry fruit: in the evening cover two soup spoons of fruit with half a liter of cold water, boil in the morning, and drink during the day.

Preparing wine: Boil two handfuls of dried fruit in only a little water, after fifteen minutes add half a liter of red wine, and boil again for 5 minutes. Drink 2 – 3 small cups per day. This Pharmaca is not for children!

Pharmaceutical properties: by using the fresh collected leaves in springtime, you will lower the sugar level in the blood: to accomplish that you shall use equal parts of dry leaves of juniper berries and bean-pods. Dry and well cooked fruit is a very good pharmaca to stop diarrhea, bleeding of hemorrhoids, bowel problems, sand in kidneys. Fresh fruit, pure juice and compote of juniper berries sharpens sight, especially night sight (stimulating formation of eye purple) making it especially good for nearsighted and far-sighted people. Pilots, drivers and suchlike, working nights ought regularly to take juniper berries fruit in any form.

LUNGWORT (FILIPENDULA ULMARIA)

With its feathery plumage, very nice aroma, it is to be found in mountain creeks, nearby sources and in humid meadows.

The medical part of the plant: the tips of branches while blossoming, and leaves. The blossoms are gathered when approximately half of the blossoms are open, the leaves at the same time. The plant blossoms in summer.

Medical substances: salicylic acid, (plant aspirin) phenolic glycosides, etheric oils, tannins etc.

Pharmaceutical action: the salicylic acid makes this plant very suitable for treating rheumatisms, for eliminating different poisonous substances from the organism, because it makes perspiration more abundant , diminishes swelling, lowers temperature, is very good for obesity and cellulite. It makes problems like bloating and hyper-acidity in the stomach more bearable. In blood vessels, thanks to its action as a plant aspirin, it has antithrombic effects. It makes urination easier.

Remark: if dosage is to high, or use to prolonged, effects like with the same use of aspirin may be observed.

Preparing tea: two tea-spoons of the dried and finely powdered herb cover with one cup of boiling water, leave covered for fifteen minutes. During the day drink 2 – 3 cups, add sugar according to taste, after meals.

SPEEDWELL (VERONICA OFFICINALIS)

This plant has pharmaceutical action on practically all important human organs, giving it rightly the name “panacea”.

Medical part of the plant: overground parts of the plant, in blossom. It blossoms in June and July. This plant may be found in clear, light forests, on the borders of forests, in forest clearings.

Pharmaceutical substances: Glycosides (Aucubin and Veronidin), saponozides, amara, a little etherical oils, organic acids, flavonoids, mannitol, sugar and wax.

Pharmaceutical action: It is very good for the stomach (catarrhs and other perturbations in bowel movement), for cleaning blood (this plant is a very important part in many medical teas for blood cleaning) for lungs (long lasting catarrh for easier coughing), in jaundice treatment, in liver and kidney and bladder treatment. With eczema it helps mixed with tips of nettle. It calms the nerves, aids the memory and has antidepressive action. Fresh juice
Is used for treating fresh wounds.

Remark: VERONICA ALPINA has the same action as HOLM OAK.

Preparing of tea: One full tea spoon of dry, finely powdered plant over pour with one cup of boiling water, leave to stay covered for fifteen minutes. Drink three times per day, with pauses, between meals.

Preparing tincture: One part of dry, finely powdered plant over pour with four parts of strong brandy. Leave for 2 – 3 weeks in a sunny place or in a warm place. Drink three times per day, fifteen drops.

PLANTAIN (PLANTAGINACEAE)

According to folk belief, who has stomach problems must dig out a PLANTAIN and during this digging to tell her: “PLANTAIN, help me! Stomach, come where you have been, and where you have been born!” and than it the herb. There are three species of PLANTAIN : female, male, and middle. The chemical composition and medical action of all three species is practically the same, which means that in the domestic pharmacy all three species may be used separately, or mixed. For commercial use they are gathered separately.

The medical part of the plant: leaves before blossoming, or during blossoming.

Habitat: In villages, right beside roads, in meadows and pastures, in forests and in other places. This plant has a very wide habitat.

Pharmaceutical substances: phytocides, flavonoids, tannins, saponins, irridoid glycoside, mucous matter, minerals, etc.

Pharmaceutical action: on respiratory organs (antibacterial, antiallergical action, easing coughing). Very good action on the digestive organs (gastritis, stomach duodecimal ulcers). The action on skin problems is also very good (gangrenous wounds, and wounds that don’t heal easily, burns and cuts).

Remark: taking into account that plantain has leaves very near the earth, the leaves very often are dirty: it will be necessary to wash freshly cut leaves in quite a few baths.

Preparing of tea: one soup spoon of dried and finely powdered leaves should be over poured with one cup of boiling water: cover and let stay for twenty minutes. Drink 2 – 3 cups per day.

Leaves compress: triturated or milled fresh leaves may be used as a compress.

Syrup: washed fresh leaves press in a juice-maker, or mill and than squeeze through gauze. One liter of such juice mix with 2 kilograms of honey, or cook ten minutes with two kilograms of sugar. Eat 4 – 5 times a day, one spoonful.

WILD THYME (THYMUS SERPYLLUM)

A very popular herb, not only in the folk medicine (a cheap antiseptic) but also in the scientific pharmacy. Wild thyme is a part of many pharmaceuticals, prepared in pharmacies, and in the pharmaceutical industry.

Medical part of the plant: The plant in blossom. The plant blossoms are harvested from May to October.

Habitat: On sunny slopes, sunny hills, meadows, on forest borders…This plant loves sun and warm places: that is the reason it can be found even in stony places and high in dry places in mountains.

Pharmaceutical substances: the main pharmaceutical substances are ethereal oils present in quantities up to 0.5 – 1 % (thymol, carvachol, linalol and pinene). The plant has also tannin ( around 5%) flavonoids, and resins.

Pharmaceutical action: For centuries the plant has been used during epidemics of contagious diseases because its stops the development of germs, and many germs it kills. The plant is very good for treating infections of respirative organs, of the throat, of the bronchia. It is also good for asthma and whooping cough, and controlling bad odor from the mouth. It enhances the function of digestion: specially the plant is good for diarrhea, for colitis, for eliminating worms from the guts of children. Wild thyme makes the nervous system stronger, abates neurosis, eliminates insomnia and nightmares. It also helps in eliminating pathological alcoholism: every fifteen minutes a soup spoon is given making consummation of alcoholic beverages distasteful, enhances urinating and generally produces queasiness.

Remark: High dosage is not recommended during pregnancy. It is an excellent and harmless preservans, because it ethereal oils stop fermentation. It is also used as a seasoning plant.

Preparing of tea: A full soup spoon over pour with one cup of boiling water, leave covered thirty minutes. Drink three times a day, small sips, unsugared.
Preparing of tincture: A bottle shall be filled with wild thyme, fill up with brandy (40% alcohol) and leave in a sunny place for two weeks. Filter, and drink three times a day, 20 drops in water. Not suited for children.

(ARCTOSTAPHYLOS UVA URSI)

Very popular in the folk medicine, especially with our highlanders. Arctostaphylos uva ursi is a perennial evergreen bush, hugging the earth, with leaves 2-3 cm long, egg formed, thick and leathery. The blossom is bell shaped white or white-rosy in color, hanging in grapes. The fruit is a red berry. It blossoms in May.

The medical part of the plant: the leaf, harvested in spring-time. The earth hugging branches are cut, and dried in shadow, in a dry place.

Habitat: the plant is a highlander on stony slopes in light and dry pine forests. It is very often found on stone faces, on the ridge of the Tara canyon, where black pine has its habitat.

Pharmaceutical substances: Arbutin, methylarbutin, glycosides, tannins and suchlike.

Medical action: The plant is used when urine is acid, also for easier urinating, for cleaning and disinfecting the urethra, when legs or face are swollen.

Remark: Use for more than two weeks may provoke queasiness. Pregnant or lactating women may not use it.

Preparing of tea: A full tea spoon of dried and finely powdered leaves over pour with a cup of boiling water, cover and leave for fifteen minutes. Drink three times a day. If prepared with cold water leave for 8 – 12 hours to stay covered with water.

Powder: ingest dry powdered leaves, 3 – 5 grams per day, or one-fifth of a tea spoon.

DANDELION (TARAXACUM OFFICINALE WEB)

It is considered a very unpleasant weed indeed, but for a sick man it is very helpful. From its crenellated young leaves a very fine, although somewhat bitter salad is made.

The medical part of the plant: The whole plant is medical (root, leaves, and blossom). The summer leaves and root are dried (it is harvested end of summer). The plant may be found anyplace, but harvested in the mountain it has a far better chance being clean.

Pharmaceutical substances: fresh leaves are a good source of Vitamin A, B, C, large quantities of iron, other minerals ( potassium, sodium, magnesium etc), mucous substances, sugar. Taraxacine and taroxocerin (present in the milky juice are the most abundant bitter substances of dandelion). Beside the aforementioned dandelion has enzymes, tannins, etheric oils, resins, fatty acids. The root, harvested in fall, has a certain quantity of inulin.

Pharmaceutical action: perturbations in the function of the liver and the gall, gives the metabolism a push, reduces fat in the blood, accelerates the expulsion of poisonous substances from the organism. It is recommended for skin diseases, obesity, muscular rheumatism, swellings due to bad heart, very good for diabetics.

Remark: Intake above recommended doses may cause diarrhea and problems with the heart beat.

Preparing of tea:
a.) two tea spoons dried and finely powdered leaves over pour with a cup of boiling water. Let stay for twenty minutes. Drink a cup in the morning, and in the evening.
b.) Two tea spoons of dried and finely powdered root over pour with cold water, warm to boiling, let boil for two minutes, let stay for 10 minutes covered, drink in the morning and in the evening one cup.

Preparing dandelion honey: four full handfuls put into half a liter of cold water, warm slowly until boiling. Let stand overnight, covered. In the morning filter, and add 1 kilogram of unrefined sugar (yellow sugar) with half a lemon cut into slices. Open vessel put onto a slow fire, so liquid is evaporating without boiling. After obtaining wanted thickness of liquid pour into glass jars.

FIR (ABIES ALBA)

Because of its beauty, longevity and size, this tree is the substance of many a folk story, belief or poem. After one story the fir is the place where mountain fairies are living, and after another story Saint Sava, very old at the time, sat under a fir tree, and Good called him to heaven. Right from this place he went upstairs, to the Heavens, and, rising from this place, he gave his blessing to the fir tree, with the proviso to be green in summer and winter. Unfortunately, our fir forests, because of New Year’s habits, and because there is no efficient guarding system are somewhat rarified.

The medical parts of the plant: young shoots, and the resin. In the spring young, emerging shoots are collected, as well as drops of the resin.

Habitat: The fir tree is found together with junipers and pines in the mountain belt, at the feet of massive, near glacier lakes. The National Park “Durmitor” is especially rich in fir forests.

Pharmaceutical substances: Young shoots are a very good source of Vitamins C and A. However, the main component is turpentine, which contains up to 20% of etheric oils, and some other components.

Pharmaceutical action: Tea and syrup from young shoots are very good for lung problems, for influenza and chronic deficiencies in Vitamin C. Lotions and baths are helpful for skin diseases, and abate nerve conditions. In contusions the resin, spread in a thin layer, is quite helpful. Turpentine oil, won by distillation is useful for rheumatic problems, if used from without, and also very useful from within if inhaled to abate bronchitis and other lung conditions.

Remark: The fir, the pine and the juniper may be used practically the same way.

Preparing of tea: two tea spoons of young fir shoots over pour with one liter of hot water, cover and wait for 10 – 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups per day, sweetened with honey.
Preparing of syrup: Into a big glass jar, with a big aperture, stamp young shoots until the layer be 4 – 5 centimeters thick. Over that pour finely powdered sugar in a layer one centimeter thick. Repeat the procedure until the jar is filled to the brim, but take care that the last layer be sugar. Seal the jar and put in a sunny place for six weeks. The syrup should be filtered through clean gauze, and after that the syrup should be kept in a frigidaire. Three times a day sip a tea spoon, or use as an additive to tea.

MINT (ORIGANUM VULGARE)

This herb is very popular in Montenegro and Sandjak. It is also called Vranilov herb, because until the arrival of synthetic dyes the herb was used to dye wool black, together with iron sulphate.

The medical part of the plant: The blossom and the leaf. The top of the shoots are harvested, twenty centimeters long, dried in shade, where there is a draught. After the drying process is finished, strip leaves and blossoms, and discard the wand. It is blossoming from July to September.

Habitat: Mint is a herb of sunny and dry slopes.

Pharmaceutical substances: Etheric oils, up to 1.2 % with 40% Thymol (because of Thymol the mint herb is antiseptical), flavonoids, etc.

Pharmaceutical action: Mint is used for calming nerves, for strengthening, for stomach problems (especially diarrhea), for abating lung conditions, and from without to abate different skin and mucous membrane inflammations. The mint herb is also very good for gargling. As an inhalation herb it is especially good in colds and bronchitis. Avoid using during pregnancy.

Remark: Do not forget that mint is used for seasoning pizzas, for enhancing the flavor of chicken meat, and also for seasoning various dried meat products.

Preparing tea: two tea spoons of dried and finely powdered herb over pour with one cup of boiling water. Leave covered for twenty minutes. Drink two cups in the morning on an empty stomach, for strength, or after a meal for better digestion. One cup before going to bed will assure you a wonderful dream.

Preparing of baths: 100 – 200 grams of dry and finely powdered herb pour into 2 – 3 liters of boiling water. Leave covered for twenty minutes, and add to water in the tub.

KLAMATH WEED (HYPERICUM PERFORATUM)

According to a folk belief the Klamath weed harvested on St John’s day has magical power, because St. John’s is the symbol of light and warmth.

Pharmaceutical part of the herb: blossoms and leaves. Young shoots are harvested, with leaves and blossoms. The young shoots are dried in a cool and draughty place. When blossoms are over, the shoots should not be harvested anymore. The herb blossoms from June to August.

Habitat: the herb may be found in sunny meadows, fallow and not laboured places, forest clearings and suchlike places.

Pharmaceutical substances: Etherical oils up to 0.3%, hyperycine up to 0.4% (a dye, especially found in the flower: if you rub the flower between fingers the fingers will be dyed red), flavonoids and tannins.

Pharmaceutical action: Klamath weed oil is a healing substance for wounds, because it abates pain, and pulls the wound lips together (it favors the healing of the wound), for burns, for cracked skin, for dry skin etc. The oil is used for massaging, especially for neuralgic conditions of the face nerve (nervus trigeminus), for ischemia (lumbago), for gout and rheumatism. The oil is used also within, 10 – 15 drops in half a soup spoon of water (not on sugar!), for stomach pains, cramps, uncontrolled urinating in children and adults, to much mucous substance in lungs. Tea from this herb is used to abate problems with ulcers in the stomach and column, and gastritis.

Tea from this herb is especially good for helping with depressions, anxieties, stress, neurotic conditions in menopause and in puberty. A very good effect on the liver has Klamath weed tea with addition of aloe.

Remark: a prolonged use of Klamath weed oil from without may lead to skin sensitivity to sun rays, but only in certain persons.

Preparing of tea: a full tea spoon of dry and finely powdered herb over pour with one cup of boiling water, cover and leave for fifteen minutes. Drink in the morning, on an empty stomach, and in the evening, just before going to bed.

Preparing of oil: put fresh blossoms in a jar with an big opening and pour three times the quantity of olive oil. Stopper the jar and put in a sunny place for 6 – 7 weeks with frequent shaking. If the summer is wet (no sun) put the jar in a warm place (near a source of warmth). Filter over clean gauze.

YARROW (ACHILLEA MILLEFOLIUM)

Yarrow is our most common medical herb, and is very often used as a folk pharmaceutical as well from without as from within. The highwaymen from our country usually used the herb for wound treatment. They usually carried the herb in the belt, filtered through a silk gauze.

Habitat: in meadows, on slopes, right by forest roads in all dry places, as a weed. It blossoms from May to October.

Pharmaceutical substances: etherical oils, up to 1 % ( in the oil azulene may be found, a blue dye, as well as camphor, cineol, pinene) formic acid, isovalerianic acid etc. The bitter component is achilein (the name coming from the Greek hero Achilleus, who was well acquainted into the secrets of yarrow herb treatment), Vitamin K up to 0.4%, tannins, minerals (mostly potassium), etc.

Pharmaceutical action: the herb stops nose bleeding used from without and from within, stops festering of wounds, helps epithalization and mitigates pain.

The herb is to be recommended in digestive tract ulcers, and for hemorrhoids. It’s action is also good in treatment of high blood pressure with danger of thrombosis, and generally with problems of blood circulation. As a basic dilatator it is used against cramps-spasms (those which provoke headaches), leg cramps, stomach cramps and irregular menstrual cycles. The herb is also used for liver problems, and also if there are spleen problems. It’s antipyretic action is useful in lowering body temperature in early phases of fever, in influenza and colds, helps sweating, and is very good for dry skin. Regular use of yarrow tea strengthens the organism and makes it more alert.

Remark: In overdoses, allergic reaction may occur, there may be bleeding and headaches.

Preparing of tea: One tea spoon of dry and finely powdered herb over pour with two deciliters of boiling water, leave covered for twenty minutes. Drink three cups per day, unsweetened, before meals.

PANSY (VIOLA TRICOLOR)

As a herb it has a very good reputation. In our country a lot of sub-species of this herb may be found, and all of them are medicinal.

The pharmaceutical part of the herb: All of the overground parts of the herb may be used, or only blossoms. It is dried in a thin layer, in a cool and draughty place. It blossoms from May to late in the Fall.

Habitat: it is to found in uncultivated mountain fields in dry stony places and pastures.

The pharmaceutical substances: saponozoids, salicylic acid, rhutozid, anthocyan glycosides, etherical oils, mucous substances, tannin, magnesium and potassium salts, etc.

Pharmaceutical action: It is highly valued for treatment of various skin diseases (Eczema, acne, impetigo, child’s scabs, psoriasis) rheumatism, problems with breathing organs (normal cough and whooping cough), and for stronger urinating.

Remark: Mixed in equal parts with red clover this herb has better action in controlling skin diseases, and with rabbit orrache, for controlling whooping cough.

Preparing of tea: One soup spoon of dried and finely powdered herb over pour with a cup of boiling water, cover, and leave for twenty minutes. Drink two cups per day, sweetened with honey or with raspberry syrup.

SALLOW (TEUCRIUM MONTANUM)

Our highlanders are very much in love with this little herb, having an almost unlimited confidence in it. According to folk belief, the herb sallow told to the harvester: “Pick me, but don’t destroy my roots, and I will rise the dead”

The pharmaceutical part of the herb: the young shoots with leaves are harvested, when in blossom, from June to July.

Habitat: The herb is to be found in sunny, bare stony places and pastures.

Pharmaceutical action: before everything this is a pharmaceutical for digestion organs (especially if there is little stomach acid), and also infected and rotten contents of digestive organs. Also, the herb is excellent for healing lungs (tuberculosis).

Remark: This herb has very similar action to the herb TEUCRIUM CHAMAEDRYS.

Preparing of tea: one soup spoon full of dried and finely powdered herb over pour with a cup of boiling water, cover, and let stay for 15 minutes. Drink three cups per day, unsweetened, before meals.

JUNIPER BERRY (JUNIPERUS COMMUNIS)

In places where this herb is to be found, its reputation is great.

Pharmaceutical parts of the herb: Ripe berries are harvested in the fall, dried in a cool and draughty place, with frequent overturning.

Habitat: The herb is to be found in higher, mountain places, in stony country.

Pharmaceutical substances: Etherical oils, up to 2.5%, 33% of invert sugar, 10% of resins, amara, juniperin, tannin, wax, gums, flavonoids, organic acids, etc.

Pharmaceutical action: Pharmaceutical action is mainly due to the ethereal oils, which oils have irritating/exciting and antibacterial action. The herb is also used as a diuretic (for better urinating), against common colds (in the form of a syrup, and inhalation), for a better metabolism, for indigestion problems , especially if there is not enough acid in the stomach. From without it is used ( as an oil, or brandy) to control rheumatism and arthritis.

Remark: The juniper berry must be applied with some care. Do not use it longer than five weeks, because kidney inflammation may occur. The juniper berry is not to be recommended for pregnant women, because contractions of the uterus may occur.

Preparing of tea: one teaspoon of crushed berries over pour with a cup of boiling water, cover, and let stay for thirty minutes. Drink three cups per day.

Preparation of tincture: One part of juniper berries over pour with four parts of strong brandy, leave for six weeks, with frequent shaking. Filter over gauze. Drink three times per day one teaspoon, or use for massaging.