Αt Erimitis one can find flora of general type, but also with special characteristics. Wild mediterranean coastal vegetation (“machiia”) and abundance of wild orchids, flora and wildlife among all that.
The area has not been mapped very well, so the team’s researchers estimate that there are many more species in and around it. Specifically they assume that more than half have not yet been recorded.
Such a great natural wealth there is on that ground!
tall trees, laurels, and other centuries-old hardwoods, with thick trunk.
Nature in Erimitis is in its best in several occasions. The time of year that Strawberry Trees have fruits is one of the most special! The trees bearing fruits in different maturity stages look from far away like a painting with vivid yellow, orange and red brushstrokes. Most visitors and all of the birds enjoy for free the delicious fruits. However, the plant’s scientific name gives a wise warning: Arbuto unedo or “Eat only one”. Nobody I know has ever managed to fully follow this suggestion but let at least, eat these fruits in moderation! Not a great idea to lose a wonderful walk in the area because of stomach trouble!
Strawberry tree has the unusual habit of bearing both flowers and fruits at the same time. The beautiful white fairy flowers exist together with the delicious fruit, satisfying not only our taste buds, but also our deeper need to be in touch with nature’s beauty.
Self-Heal is a unique herb with special characteristics, making a big come back in western herbalism. For decades, the herbal use of this plant was almost forgotten and unlike most other herbs, modern science has shown more interest in studying its properties than traditional healers.
The plant is also known as “Heal-All”, a name suggesting that it can heal all ailments and health complaints. A little bit of research and one can easily realize that Self-Heal is an amazing herb for all organ systems.
Self-Heal is broadly known as a wound healer with hemostatic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and vulnerary properties. The Medieval woodcarvers loved the herb as a remedy for the wounds they got in their hands while working.
In Corfu, the plant is known for its antiviral, diaphoretic and expectorant properties and is deeply appreciated as a remedy for colds and flus. Mums love Self-Heal since it is absolutely safe for children.
It helps digestion, improves liver function, balances the immune system, lowers blood pressure, helps control blood sugar levels and is researched with promising results for its anticancer effects.
English daisy has been used in wound healing since antiquity. St. John’s Wort, Calendula and English daisy were the most broadly used herbs during the Roman Empire wars for wounds made by metal weapons in the battle field. Nowadays, is mostly used in the cosmetic industry for its tonic and antiaging properties. This is what the scientific name means, anyway! Bellis perrenis or Beautiful all year round.
The tincture improves memory and concentration and provides mental clarity. It is the perfect herb for these periods in life that we feel really tired after working intensively under constant pressure. The plant can helps us stay calm and optimistic in spite the difficulties and keep going with strength and courage in order to settle things down. It improves sleep and it helps us relax and regain our strength after a long full day.
Hawthorn comes in all different shapes and sizes and one can meet the plant as a small thorny bush or as a tree growing more than 10 meters tall. It can be a very long lived plant and certain specimens have seen life on this planet for more than 400 years.
The scientific name “Crataegus” is derived from the greek word “Κραταιός” (Krateos) meaning “Strong”. The plant is also known as May-Tree, Thorn apple, Bread and Cheese and White Thorn.
Hawthorn is famous as Heart Medicine. Its properties are precious for the Cardiovascular System, but also for the emotional heart that suffers when we get hurt or sad.
The flowers, leaves and fruits contain chemical compounds that increase the blood flow to the heart, strengthening its function. It tones the arteries, improves the blood supply to the whole body and in formulas with other appropriate herbs, it can help normalize blood pressure. It prevents the buildup of fatty plaques and cholesterol on the artery walls and calms down palpitations and arrhythmias. It helps regulate cardiac rhythm and it can be used to treat angina. It relieves the feeling of oppression in the chest and the shortness of breath. It gives courage and strength to cope with the loss of loved ones and relieves sadness.
It can be used in formulas with Linden flowers, Lemon balm and Motherwort for all the issues mentioned above. Hawthorn berries contain flavonoids, constituents famous for their antioxidant properties and Vitamin C. In Chinese Medicine, Hawthorn is traditionally used as a remedy to improve digestion. Hawthorn is a safe herb that we can use medicinally for long periods in life.
Blackberry leaves are a typically astringent herb. All astringents contain tannins and create a puckering sensation in the mouth when we taste them. Tannins tone, constrict and dry the tissues they come in contact with. For this reason, astringents are used to relieve diarrhea, stop bleeding and reduce mucus and phlegm. All astringents have antimicrobial properties. We can use astringents to gargle for sore throat, stop bleeding, alleviate hemorrhoids, treat incontinence and reduce inflammation in the nasal cavity, the urinary tract and the digestive system. All astringents can be used as an eye wash for red, itchy or tired eyes.
Το τσάι των φύλλων της βατομουριάς είναι ένα κλασσικό παραδοσιακό γιατροσόφι της Κέρκυρας για τη διάρροια. Στη δυτική βοτανοθεραπεία χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως η ρίζα, γι΄αυτό το σκοπό.
Blackberry leaf tea is a traditional Corfiot remedy for diarrhea. In western herbalism, blackberry root is more often used for the same purpose.
Blackberries are full of antioxidants and there are plenty of good reasons to include them in our diet. Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. They have anti-inflammatory properties, strengthen the eyes, help control blood sugar levels, they are precious to the cardiovascular system, prevent arteriosclerosis, improve memory and the overall brain function, they have antiaging properties and above all, they bind to free radicals reducing oxidative stress.
They can be preserved for a long time in the deep freezer and they can be combined with hawthorn berries and rosehips to make delicious jams and syrups.
Plantain is a precious plant that often goes unnoticed. It is an important first aid herb. It is an astringent with vulnerary, anti-inflammatory and hemostatic properties. It is often used as poultice for wounds, insect bites, skin problems and infections.
We can make the poultice by mashing the leaves with a little bit of water. Traditionally, the leaves were chewed and applied as a spit poultice on wounds or poisonous bites. A plantain leaf can be wrapped around the poultice and kept in place with a plantain stem.
The leaves are harvested before blossoming from places that are not sprayed or polluted. Plantain leaf tea is a remedy for ailments in the respiratory, digestive, urinary and immune system. It helps relieve dry coughing and urinary tract infections by moisturizing the dry mucosa in the relevant organ systems. It is a diuretic, it treats hemorrhoids (internal and topical use) and it is a precious vulnerary for the mucous membrane.
The leaves are rich in protein, vitamins and minerals and can be eaten raw or cooked when young.
The seeds are used to treat constipation. We can add the seeds in oat meal or soak them in room temperature water overnight and drink them in the morning.
Heather is a beautiful herb that blossoms in autumn. It is mostly known as a diuretic and an antiseptic for the urinary tract. It contains arbutin, a compound found in Uva Ursi (one of the most important herbal remedies for urinary tract infections) suggesting that it is equally helpful to the specific situation.
Similarly to most of the herbs that are appropriate for the urinary system, it is an equally effective herb for the respiratory system. Heather flowers can be made into a tea that relieves cold symptoms, especially coughing. It is a sedative herb that can help treat insomnia.
Red Centaury or Farmakouli as the plant is broadly known in Corfu is a very bitter herb. Bitter taste can induce chills and drops body temperature. Red Centaury has been traditionally used for malaria fever, instead of quinine that wasn’t always available.
All bitters including Red Centaury help digestion, improve liver function and help detoxification. The aerial part tincture works miracles in most cases of acid reflux.
Corfiot women used to wash their hair with the plant’s flower infusion.
Cuckoopint (Arum maculatum) is a very toxic plant that most animals tend to avoid.
Pigs may be the only animal eating this plant and old Corfiots used to let them clear the space before starting a garden.
Most families in the countryside taught their children from a very early age to avoid Cuckoopint.
However, Arum has a prominent place in traditional herbal medicine. People in Epirus used to make salves and poultices for arthritic pain with the plant’s root and there is evidence that in Corfu, a very small quantity of the root was used internally for ailments that had no other treatment at that time.
This information is important as a mean of understanding the healing power of the plants and the wisdom old Corfiots had during harsh times that there were no other means available but there are not at all suitable to be used for healing from people that do not have deep and consistent herbal knowledge. Toxic plants can cause permanent health damage or even death, if not used appropriately.
Since antiquity, Myrtle is a plant closely related to marriage. It was considered one of Aphrodite’s symbolic plants and its’ white delicate flowers were used to adorn the ancient Greek temples and holy places. Myrtle flowers are still used in the bride’s wedding bouquet.
Myrtle fruits are rich in antioxidants, they are tonic and give energy to the body and can be eaten fresh or dried. They can be used to make a tasty liquor.
In the past, the Myrtle leaves were used to give a nice fragrance to the fresh washed clothes. The leaves were boiled in water with ash from the hearth. The water was strained through a linen and was used to wash the clothes. The Myrtle aroma was distinct on the clean clothes and bed linen.
Erica arborea – Erica manipuliflora
Paliurus spina – Christi
Ajuga reptans Silene ungeri
Briza minor / maxima
Carlina corymbosa subsp graeca
Cistus creticus – Cistus salviifolius
Clematis flammula / vitalba
Galanthus reginae olgae
Due to their rarity wild orchids need to be presented in a separate category. Enjoy some photo samples.
Anacamptis pyramidalis ssp serotina
Anacamptis coriophora ssp fragrans
Ophrys oestrifera var grandiflora
The full list is given in the table below in alphabetical order.
Anacamptis laxiflora subssp. laxiflora
Anacamptis papilionacea subsp. messenicaAnacamptis pyramidalis
Anemone hortensis subsp. pavonina
Arisarum vulgare subsp. vulgare
Asphodelus ramosus subsp. ramosus
Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima
Bromus fasciculatus subsp. fasciculatus
Bromus hordeaceus subsp. mediterraneus
Bromus madritensis subsp. madritensis
Cakile maritima subsp. maritima
Calystegia silvatica subsp. silvatica
Carex flacca subsp. erythrostachys
Carlina corymbosa subsp. graeca
carrex muricata agg.
Centaurium tenuiflorum subsp. acutiflorum
Clinopodium vulgare subsp. orientale
Crataegus orientalis subsp. orientalis
Dactylis glomerata subsp. hispanica
Dittrichia viscosa subsp. viscosa
Dryopteris pallida subsp. pallida
Echinops spinosissimus subsp. neumayeri
Fraxinus angustifolia subsp. oxycarpa
Hippocrepis emerus subsp. emeroides
Juncus acutus subsp. acutus
Kickxia commutata subsp. commutata
Lemna cf. minuta
Limbarda crithmoides subsp. longifolia
Luzula forsteri subsp. rhizomata
Malcolmia maritima subsp. leucadiana
Melica transsilvanica subsp. klokovii
Melissa officinalis subsp. altissima
Micromeria graeca subsp. graeca
Myosotis ramosissima subsp. ramosissima
Myrtus communis subsp. communis
Olea europaea subsp. europaea
Ophrys oestrifera agg.
Ophrys tenthredinifera agg.
Ornithogalum collinum subsp. collinum
Pallenis spinosa subsp. spinosa
Pinus halepensis subsp. halepensis
Pistacia terebinthus subsp. terebinthus
Poa trivialis subsp. sylvicola
Pteridium aquilinum subsp. aquilinum
Raphanus raphanistrum subsp. landra
Rhamnus alaternus subsp. alaternus
Rubia peregrina subsp. peregrina
Sanguisorba minor subsp. balearica
Scolymus hispanicus subsp. hispanicus
Teucrium capitatum subsp. capitatum
Trifolium repens subsp. repens
Veronica chamaedrys subsp. chamaedryoides
Viburnum tinus subsp. tinus
Vitis vinifera subsp. vinifera