Keeping the tradition of past years, Romfilatelia dedicates a new postage stamp issue to the health domain, entitled Live Healthy! Medicinal plants, the health of your home!
Mainly, the subject addresses what is known as phytotherapy. Phytotherapy (phyton – plant and therapea – treatment) is the ancient science that uses plants for the purpose of healing. Ancient writings record descriptions of the therapeutic properties of plants. The first treatise on plants appeared 5,000 years ago in China, the later published materials talking about their use in medicine and cosmetics. The most famous texts on medicinal plants and their healing properties were discovered in Egypt, Greece and ancient Rome.
The scientific discoveries of the 20thcentury meant for the herbal therapy to eliminate empiricism and be used in the treatment of various diseases. After tests and chemical analysis, more than 80% of the plant properties attributed to them in ancient writings and folk medicine have been confirmed.
The therapeutic value of medicinal and aromatic plants is based on the relationship between the chemical structure of active substances and the synergetic action they exert on the body.
The fact that most of these plants have a complex chemical composition, the active substances identified in some plants being of tens and even hundreds, explains the multiple properties of one and the same plant.
Whether used as tea, soap, tincture or cream, the herbal products are an elixir for the human body, a real source of health care that is available to everyone.
The stamps of the issue present images of some known medicinal plants, such as St Johns wort, lavender, marigold and chamomile.
In addition to the plants depicted on these stamps, in Romania there are numerous herbs that have been used by the inhabitants of these lands since ancient times.
St. Johns wort or All-saints wort (Hypericum perforatum L.), illustrated on the stamp with the face value of lei 1.20, is an herbaceous plant that we encounter from the lowlands to upper mountainous regions, being more abundant in hilly areas.
St. Johns wort contains volatile oils, hyperin, organic acids, tannins, beta-carotene and other beneficial health components.
With a medicinal use, St. Johns wort has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, antidiarrhoeal and scaring properties.
It is recommended for digestive disorders, high blood pressure, panic attacks, depression, insomnia or irritability. From St. Johns wort one can prepare creams, ointments, oils, tinctures and infusions.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill., sin. Lavandula officinalis Chaix) is a Mediterranean plant, which is widespread in the Asian region, Southeastern India and tropical Africa. Its older name, officinalis, refers to the curative properties of the plant, due to which it was always found in the officina, the herbs pantry of monasteries. Because of its curative properties, lavender is lately found in Romania as crops.
The plant, represented on the stamp with the face value of lei 2.00, reaches a height of 80 cm, with whole, linear leaves, with a pointed top and the flowers, which bloom throughout the summer, have a blue-violet colour and exude a particularly fragrant smell.
Since Roman times, lavender has been used in aromatic baths for its soothing and beneficial effect on the skin, and in the Middle Ages it was used as an antiseptic. Later, however, the antidepressant and sedative effects of the plant were discovered.
Lavender has many uses in aromatherapy; it is found as tincture, aromatic vinegar and oil, as well as soap. In herbal medicine it is an adjuvant for cardiac arrhythmia, relieves fatigue, stress, insomnia and migraines and supports hair growth, being also used for body maintenance.
Marigold (Calendula officinalis L.), represented on the stamp with the face value of lei 2.40, originates in the center, East and South Europe, and grows naturally in gardens, parks, adjacent to trails or near the house. Marigold is used in ulcers, gastritis, eczema, hepatic and gall bladder diseases, cystitis and to treat some forms of cancer. Its action is decongestant, antimicrobial, antiseptic; it aids in scarring areas and regulates the bile function. We can use marigold as infusion, tincture and powder. In cosmetics, it can be used as an ointment for skin diseases or skin maintenance.
Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L., sin. Chamomilla recutita L.), depicted on the stamp with the face value of lei 14.50, is a very popular herb. The name chamomilla has Greek origins(chamaimelon) and means earth-apple.
Chamomile flowers are used in infusions and extracts or solutions for the eyes and throat. Also, chamomile is valued for its antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory or anti-allergic, healing actions and stimulates the immune system. It is also used in the treatment of abdominal bloating and digestive disorders. It has a sedative and antidiarrhoeal effect and the oil from this plant is found in the composition of eye, throat, sinusitis or mouthwash medicines. In cosmetics, it is used to heal inflammation and acne.
The summer savory, wormwood, basil and mint are illustrated on the borders of the minisheets.
Summer savory (Satureja hortensis L.) is a herbaceous species with purple or off-white colour flowers with red spots inside. Its pungent taste and characteristic aroma make of the summer savory a spice frequently found in the cuisine of many people. It is used in herbal treatments for the carminative, expectorant, astringent actions, for wounds, ulcers, stimulating the peripheral circulation.
Wormwood or mugworth (Artemisia absinthium L.) is a very popular robust herbaceous perennial plant, being found in Europe, Asia and Africa. Wormwood is used in the preparation of infusions and tinctures and is recommended in cases of anorexia, tissue atony and chronic inflammation of the digestive system, including dyspepsia accompanied by constipation.
Basil (Ocimum basilicum L.) is the herb that is said to have grown where the Saints Constantine and Helen discovered the Holy Cross. The plant has a height of about 40 cm. The stems, flowers and leaves are medicinally used, from them being prepared infusions, tinctures, inhalations, massage oils and ointments. It is used in gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory disorders. The volatile oil content of the basil is used as an insect repellent and to soothe insect bites, in bronchitis, coughing, earache, sinusitis, as an immune system stimulant during a cold, the flu, infectious diseases, and against illnesses of the nervous system such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, headaches.
Mint (Mentha piperita L.)is a herbaceous plant, up to 1 m high, which grows in cultures. Its leaves contain a high amount of volatile oils and are used not only in medicine, but also as flavoring in the food and cosmetic industries. It has digestive, carminative, anti-emesis, antiseptic, tonic and analgesic properties. Herbal preparations are used in gall bladder disorders, gastro-intestinal disorders, and inflammatory disorders of the respiratory tract. It is used in mouthwash composition, against halitosis and oral infections.
Herbal products, whether in the form of tea, tinctures, creams, soaps, pills or ointments can be found in health food shops and pharmacies alike, including the national network of pharmacies Catena.
Issue date: 2015-08-05