Saturday, March 29, 2014

Maltese Flora - The Red Poppy

About two weeks ago  I opened a new bottle of perfume and in a split second I was a small child running through a field full of Narcissus flowers. 

Rolling on the grass, smelling, sampling , loving the stillness, then chuckling. 

Such a beautiful feeling, A feeling of pure happiness and bliss followed by a twinge of sadness. 

My kids have never seen a Narcissus Flower. They are very rare to come by these days.

Walks in the country side are getting less frequent for a variety of reasons. Main reason being we live on a densely populated island where every bit of country side left is being developed. Every area of Garigue seems to be privately owned. Harsh signs of ‘Private Do Not Enter’ stand out jarringly through the beauty and peacefulness of these areas.

So I decided to start a new Project. I am researching Maltese Flora. Armed only with my camera, notebook and whenever I can my kids. As I feel this can be an educational experience for them although right now they are hating me for taking them on very long walks. 

They would rather play with their tablets or watch Tv. That’s what they are used to do.

I have to change that, quickly.  

During the following weeks I will be sharing with you Flora as seen through my lens and my research.

Let’s start with a beautiful flower, which inspires me. It’s deep red colour reminds me of passion, fire and a myriad of strong emotions.

It’s not a rose though. It’s the Common Poppy. Our Peprina.

For me it’s not less precious than a Rose. 

It’s different and It’s Beautiful.It seems fragile but if you look closely it’s a symbol of strength through adversity. 

Common Poppy - Peprina - papaver rhoeas

Red poppy contains various alkaloids that have sedative and relaxant properties that help in calming the mind. It is very slightly narcotic. Other anxiety related disorders like insomnia, sleeplessness, and restlessness can also be treated with this herb.

The use of red poppy in the treatment of respiratory disorders is well known since centuries. Respiratory problems like asthma, whooping cough, and bronchitis can all be effectively treated with this herb. Red poppy petals are used in cough syrups to soothe irritated mucus membranes and provide relief from related symptoms. This herb helps ease chest congestion by softening the mucus so that it can be easily expelled from the lungs. You can even consume tea made from red poppy seeds or flowers for relief from coughs and colds.

Experts suggest that red poppy is a great natural ingredient for pain relief. It is also milder and safer that most other conventional medications and drugs used for pain relief. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is beneficial to people suffering from painful conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica, neuralgia, and lumbago pain. You can even apply red poppy seed paste externally for soothing joint pain and swelling. It can even be used for mild muscle aches and headaches. Red poppy is sold in extract or tincture form commercially for this purpose.

The seeds have diuretic properties, making them a good cure for diarrhea. Other digestive system disorders like stomach pains, indigestion, colic, gas, constipation, and other gastrointestinal complaints can be eased and treated with red poppy seeds.

The petals are also used in making floral inks and liquid dyes and people also use them as bird feed mixed with seeds from other plants.

Well that’s pretty remarkable for a wild flower, isn't it?

We will continue to explore our flora during the following weeks. Until then off I go on the search of next week’s protagonist for this blog :) 

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