Posts by aetheleon_michalis

Το χώμα, η παρατημένη λεμονιά και το τεράστιο λεμόνι – The soil, the abandoned lemon tree and the giant lemon.

May 27th, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Το χώμα, η παρατημένη λεμονιά και το τεράστιο λεμόνι – The soil, the abandoned lemon tree and the giant lemon.”

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Αυτό το τεράστιο λεμόνι μόλις κόπηκε από μια λεμονιά που μεγαλώνει μόνη της, δεκαετίες τώρα, στην πίσω αυλή ενός αγαπημένου μας σπιτιού σε μια παραλία της Πρέβεζας. Χωρίς νερό, εκτός από της βροχής και χωρίς άλλη φροντίδα εκτός από αυτήν που δέχεται από το έδαφος στις ρίζες της. Έχει ελάχιστα δηλαδή, κι όμως είναι όλα όσα χρειάζεται για να μας προσφέρει περισσότερα απ΄ όσα εμείς χρειαζόμαστε. Την περιεργαζόμαστε, ενώ κρατάμε το τεράστιο λεμόνι στα χέρια μας και απορούμε για όλα αυτά τα άγνωστα που συμβαίνουν κάτω από τα πόδια μας, στις ρίζες της, μέσα στο έδαφος.

Σε μια κουταλιά χώμα ζουν κανονικά περισσότεροι μικροοργανισμοί από τον ανθρώπινο πληθυσμό ολόκληρου του πλανήτη. Στην αρχή το ακούς και τρομάζεις, και σιχαίνεσαι και λίγο. Έχεις ακούσει και για όλα τα μυκητοκτόνα και τα βακτηριοκτόνα που κυκλοφορούν, και λες «για να έχουμε φτιάξει τόσα όπλα, σίγουρα θέλουν εξόντωση αυτοί οι μικροσκοπικοί εχθροί». Και φυσικά τρέχεις στο γεωπόνο για να τους εξολοθρεύσεις.

Αν ο γεωπόνος όμως είναι ενημερωμένος (και όχι σαν αυτούς τους γιατρούς που συνταγογραφούν αντιβιοτικά για ένα απλό συνάχι) θα σου πει ότι αυτοί οι μικροοργανισμοί είναι που κάνουν όλη τη «δουλειά», αυτοί μεταφέρουν στις ρίζες τα θρεπτικά συστατικά και την ενέργεια που χρειάζονται τα φυτά.

Και ότι όσο περισσότεροι μικροοργανισμοί ζουν στο χώμα (όπως και στο σώμα μας, αλλά αυτό είναι άλλη κουβέντα), τόσο πιο ζωντανό είναι το έδαφος και τόσο καλύτερα μπορεί να θρέψει τα φυτά, τα δέντρα, και άρα κι εμάς.

Και ότι η υγεία του εδάφους (και η δική μας, θα συμπληρώναμε εμείς, αλλά είπαμε, αυτό είναι άλλη κουβέντα) βρίσκεται στην ισορροπία. Άρα κάτι που κάνει ζημιά, έχει γίνει βλαβερό επειδή λείπει το αντιστάθμισμα που χρειάζονται για να υπάρξει ισορροπία.

Τι κάνουμε επομένως;
Α. Αγοράζουμε ότι –κτόνο βρούμε μπροστά μας και ψεκάζουμε ανελέητα να μη μείνει ρουθούνι από μύκητες, βακτήρια, σκουληκάκια, αρθρόποδα, λειχήνες κλπ.
Β. Καθόμαστε και κοιτάμε μια το τεράστιο λεμόνι στο χέρι μας, μια την παρατημένη τη λεμονιά και σκεφτόμαστε ότι η παρέα που τη φροντίζει είναι αυτός ο κόσμος κάτω από τα πόδια μας, γύρω από τις ρίζες της, το δίκτυο από τους αόρατους στα μάτια μας μύκητες, τα βακτήρια, τα σκουληκάκια και όλα τα άλλα – άκια που της δίνουν βιταμίνες, αμινοξέα, ένζυμα και όλα τα άλλα που χρειάζεται για να φτιάχνει τεράστια λεμόνια σαν αυτό. Και ταυτόχρονα αναρωτιόμαστε αν μπορούμε να κουβαλήσουμε κι άλλους ωφέλιμους μικροοργανισμούς (κι ακόμη περισσότερους) να στριμωχτούν καλά, να γίνουν μια ωραία ατμόσφαιρα (να γίνουν) και να μη μπορεί κανένας να έχει περισσότερο χώρο απ’ ό,τι χρειάζεται. Για να μη μας χαλάει την ισορροπία δηλαδή και μας πουλάνε –κτόνα που κάνουν και το πιο ζωντανό έδαφος, σκόνη.

Όσοι αντέξατε να διαβάσετε μέχρι εδώ, έχετε καταλάβει αν η σωστή απάντηση είναι το Α ή το Β. Και αν αναρωτηθήκατε κι εσείς μαζί μας, σας λέμε ότι, ναι, μπορούμε να βοηθήσουμε αυτό το αόρατο δίκτυο να μεγαλώνει σε ισορροπία γύρω από τις ρίζες των φυτών και να μη χρειάζεται να το δυναμιτίζουμε μόλις κάτι παίρνει παραπάνω αέρα και πάει να «καπελώσει» τους συγκατοίκους του. Το πώς, σε επόμενο επεισόδιο όμως!

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We just cut this giant lemon from a lemon tree that has been growing on its own, for decades now, in the backyard of a little house we love, in a small village near Preveza. The only water it gets is from the rain, and the only care comes from the soil underneath. It has so little, and yet it is everything it needs to offer us more than we need. We keep gazing at the tree, while holding the giant lemon, wondering about all this unknown life unfolding beneath our feet, in the ground.

In a spoonful of soil, we can normally find more microorganisms than the human population of the entire planet. When you first hear it, it scares you a bit. You might also feel disgusted. What is more, you have heard about all these fungicides and bactericides and probably think “if we have created so many weapons, then these tiny creatures must for sure be enemies we have to attack”. And of course, you visit the expert to ask for help.

Now, if the expert is knowledgeable (and not like these doctors that prescribe antibiotics for the simple flu), he will tell you that it is exactly these microorganisms that “do the job”, that they are the ones that feed the plants with all the nutrients and energy they need.
And that the health of the soil (and our health also, but, as we said, this is a different story) lies in balance. If something is causing damage, it is because there is no counterweight to strike the needed balance.
And that the more microorganisms in the soil (as in our body, but this is a different story), the more alive the soil is, and the better it can nourish the trees, the plants, and therefore us.
So, what do we do?
A. We buy every –cide, in the market and start spraying, showing no mercy for the fungi, the bacteria, the little worms, the lichens etc
B. We keep looking at the giant lemon in our hand, next to the abandoned lemon tree, thinking that it relies only on rain and on this silent, unseen world working unstoppably under our feet, around its roots, on the network of worms, fungi, bacteria and all the other microorganisms that feed it with vitamins, minerals, enzymes and everything else this tree needs to offer us giant lemons like this one. And at the same time we wonder if we could get more beneficial microorganisms (and even more) to set a balance so that nothing can occupy more space than it is needed.

If you managed to read so far, you already know if the right answer is A or B. And if you too wonder about the network, then yes, we can help it grow in balance around the roots of the plants, so that we don’t have to bombard it as soon something tries to expand unreasonably. How? Just stay tuned!

Βιοποικιλότητα / Biodiversity

May 22nd, 2019 Posted by Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “Βιοποικιλότητα / Biodiversity”

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Διεθνής ημέρα βιοποικιλότητας σήμερα, και αυτές είναι δύο ποικιλίες φασκόμηλου, που λιάζονταν στο χωράφι μας πριν λίγες μέρες. Salvia officinalis η μία, αυτή με το έντονο μωβ χρώμα, Salvia fruticosa (ελληνικό φασκόμηλο) η άλλη, με το ανοιχτό ροζ.

Αν και στην ίδια οικογένεια, με παρεμφερείς ιδιότητες, έχουν διαφορετικό άρωμα και μοιάζουν ελάχιστα μεταξύ τους. Η ποικιλία στη φύση (αυτή που έχουμε χάσει τις τελευταίες δεκαετίες με τις μονοκαλλιέργειες, την εντατική γεωργία κλπ  –αλλά ας μην το πιάσουμε αυτό το θέμα τώρα) είναι ο μηχανισμός της για να προσαρμόζεται, να εξελίσσεται, και να παραμένει ζωντανή. Όπως πχ ένα χαρτοφυλάκιο τραπεζικών μετοχών πρέπει να έχει ποικιλία ώστε αν «πέσει» μια μετοχή να τη στηρίξουν οι άλλες, ακριβώς αυτό κάνει και η φύση! *

 

Τώρα που μιλάμε, έχουν ήδη αποσταχθεί όσα φυτά ήταν ανθισμένα. Η fruticosa έγινε ανθόνερο – υδροδιάλυμα και η officinalis έγινε αιθέριο έλαιο για τα πειράματα του Μιχάλη.

Σημείωση αγροτικού ημερολογίου: τα 45 κιλά φασκόμηλο officinalis έδωσαν 7 ml αιθέριο έλαιο και τα 20 κιλά fruticosa έδωσαν περίπου 80 λίτρα ανθόνερο (νέο προϊόν – μείνετε συντονισμένοι)

*Η πετυχημένη παρομοίωση της φύσης με τραπεζικό χαρτοφυλάκιο δεν είναι δική μας – τη διαβάσαμε πρόσφατα στο αγαπημένο “Hydrosols – The next aromatherapy” της Suzanne Catty, και η πατρότητα ανήκει στον Kenny Ausubel -“Seeds of Change”.

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It is International Day for Biodiversity today, and these are two sage varieties enjoying the sun in our field. Salvia Officinalis with the purple flowers and Salvia fruticosa with the pink ones.

 

Same family, similar properties, but different smell and looks. Nature’s diversity is its way to adjust, develop, it is its mechanism against extinction. Exactly like a bank portfolio should be diversified in case a stock fails! *

And our clever intensive agriculture has caused the loss of such a big part of biodiversity  –  but better not touch this issue now.

Most of the flowers in the picture are already distilled now.

Farmer’s diary note: 45 kg of Salvia Officinalis produced 7 ml of essential oil (for Michalis’s experiments) and 20 kg of Salvia Fruticosa produced approx 80 litres of hydrosol (new product – stay tuned!!)

*We loved this line that we read recently in one of our favourite books “Hydrosols, The next aromatherapy” by Susan Catty, who quotes Kenny Ausubel in “Seeds of Change”.

 

 

 

 

How to use the essential oil of oregano 

April 18th, 2018 Posted by blog, Uncategorized 0 thoughts on “How to use the essential oil of oregano ”

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Although oregano is such a pleasant aromatic herb, its essential oil can be a bit of a shock to the senses. It has a sharp, herby flavour and even one drop can make your throat burn and your ears pop. Remember what happens to Asterix every time he drinks the magic potion? That’s what we are talking about. It’s all well worth it, but it can be a bit brutal if you don’t know the ropes. To be precise, the more an oregano essential oil burns, the more potent it is in its antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (more about its properties in our previews post). So, you do want your oregano oil to be strong, but you don’t want to choke one afternoon in the middle of your apartment while getting your healthy fix. Fear not, friends; because we put so many methods to the test (no guinea pigs were used for this, just friends and family) and we are here to share what works… 

First, let’s start with some (boring but) important information. Oregano essential oil is US FDA approved and is indeed approved as a potable item (granted that you buy a high-quality oregano essential oil like ours, intended for internal as well as topical use). It is a hot essential oil, so you should always dilute it. Note that although its use is approved and its benefits are backed up by numerous studies, you still need to check with your doctor or naturopath before using it, to make sure that it is safe for you personally. Also, you should avoid continued use over long periods of time or exceed the recommended amount mainly because it will reduce the body’s response to the instant antimicrobial effect that the oil has. Our body cells metabolize oils through complex chemical reactions (that scientists are still studying), so we shouldn’t exceed this metabolic capacity of the cells. 

Lastly, we want to make clear that not all essential oils of oregano are the same; these guidelines are formed based on the Aetheleon oregano organic essential oil, which is of high quality, purity and potency. Weaker or diluted oils might require different treatment. 

 So, let the fun begin… 

Internal use 

  • The classic

a small shot of water with one drop of oregano essential oil. It’s quick, it’s easy and it gets the job done without faffing around. Our personal favourite for days that we feel a cold coming. Make sure it goes directly to your throat. Holding your breath before and after swallowing helps you avoid the burning sensation. A bite of bread or cheese also takes away the spicy feeling from your mouth. 

  • Last straw 

As above, but using a straw, so the solution goes straight down without burning the mouth. 

  • Oil + oil 

a drop of oregano essential oil in a spoonful of olive oil. Jug that down with water. One could say that this even tastes pleasant. Some prefer it on a slice of bread (toasted or not). Tested and approved! 

  • Chef’s special 

if you just can’t be bothered with taking oregano oil as a medicine, just throw a drop (or two) in your salad’s oil, mayonnaise, your Mexican salsa, a warm bowl of lentil soup. It adds some zing in your food, plus, you get all the benefits. 

  • Syringe 

This one came from a friend who is a doctor himself so, for treating his 10-year-old daughter’s cough, he came up with the idea of a loaded syringe (needle removed of course) with about 20ml of water and one drop of the essential oil. The taste can be too sharp for the children; however, when the watery solution is shot down their throat, they don’t taste it at all. (Reminder: only children above 7 years of age and only after medical advice!) 

  • Bread

Another classic. A small piece of soft bread with one drop of the oregano oil, rolled into a tiny (lentil-sized) ball, seems to keep the tang away for whoever doesn’t like a bit of a sting.  

  • Desserts 

Same as above. Just replace the piece of soft bread with a small sugar cube. Who eats sugar nowadays, though, so scratch that off and add a drop of oregano oil in a teaspoon of yummy honey.  

  • The capsule

For elaborate DIY-ers, you can always get a kit that helps you make your own capsules, simply by filling them with one-two drops of our oregano essential oil. This might be a helpful method for some. However, keep in mind that the rest of the methods mentioned have the extra benefit of letting the oil pass through the mouth and the esophagus, giving some love to the upper part of your GI tract as well. 

  • Flu cocktail

Oh, haven’t we been creative with this one. Juice some apple and ginger. Add in a bit of honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper and a drop of oregano essential oil. Shake, blend, or stir even. You can use a straw or one of those ridiculous umbrellas (it won’t make it taste any better). This doesn’t exactly sound like an ideal Friday night drink, but it will make sure that you fight rapidly those flu symptoms. If you want to take it up a notch, throw some garlic in that juicer too.  

  • Inhale

A choir teacher told us that she hasn’t had a stuffy nose since she started adding a drop of oregano essential oil in a bowl of steamy water. She traps the steam by throwing a towel over her nose (protecting her eyes) and inhales for a few minutes. In fact, she has the entire choir following her practice now and they all swear by it. (Note to self: try this weekly treatment and see what happens to my acne.) 

Nerdy reminder: Internal use should be kept to no more than two weeks in a month, and no more than twelve weeks every year.  Of course, keep out of eyes, ears, or nose and note that its use is not allowed for children under 7 years of age. For older children or during pregnancy and breastfeeding, always ask a professional medical practitioner before use.  

 

External uses 

  • Antimicrobial healing oil

A few drops of oregano essential oil added in a carrier oil like almond or sesame seed oil. This can be kept in a dark tinted glass bottle and used on wounds, insect bites, a variety of skin conditions and fungal problems. A cotton ball soaked in this blend and left on the nails, should keep any nasty nail fungus at bay, if repeated often.  

  • Muscle balm

A few drops of oregano along with other essential oils like sage, carrier oils and thickening agents such as with beeswax, shea or cocoa butter, makes a beautiful balm that can be used for muscle pain, strains and spasms. Just apply it in topically whenever you need to relief a sore muscle. 

  • Happy feet

Dilute 1-2 drops in your favourite carrier oil (coconut, olive, castor etc) and rub the soles of your feet to help boost your immune system. 

Your skin here is less sensitive than the rest of your body (especially if you like walking barefoot), so you are less likely to have an allergic reaction. Plus, there are more nerve endings per square centimetre in the foot than any other part of the body, so your nervous system will get the memo fast.  

  • Diffuse (Burner)

When having sick people at home, make a light blend of essential oils which include oregano, eucalyptus and orange and add them to the essential oil diffuser, just to keep the air clean. Some friends who had a major mold issue in their house, kept diffusing oregano essential oil for weeks, with impressive results. There is something about oregano essential oil that just makes the air feel pleasantly fresh. 

  • Toothpaste

A few drops of oregano essential oil in your DIY toothpaste will give it a good antibacterial kick. Some of our friends have been using this over a year and they swear that their teeth have gotten healthier. You can find many recipes online, but a basic blend of coconut oil with a dash of baking soda, cinnamon and turmeric, is all it takes. It feels awkward at first but it leaves your breath surprisingly fresh too. We thought it would smell like souvlaki to be honest. 

  • The Clean-Freak

If you don’t mind spending a few of these precious drops for your home, there are endless ways you can use oregano essential oil purely for its antimicrobial effect on surfaces. We know people adding a couple of drops of oregano essential oil in some water and spraying down surfaces or the sofa. You can even use oregano essential oil on your nail clippers, your retainer and earrings to keep things clean. A brilliant solution for us that make our own natural cleaning products at home.  

Nerdy reminder: Αs with any essential oil, always do a skin patch test before use (Take a small quantity, dilute it in a carrier oil and apply it to sensitive areas of the body like the inner wrist or inner elbow, wait for 12-24 hours to see if it causes any skin reactions – if not, go for it!) 

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That’s the information we have gathered so far, but we keep hearing more and more people using the essential oil of oregano in a lot of creative ways. If you have been using our oregano essential oil in a different way, let us know and we will keep experimenting and sharing. If you haven’t, it only takes one drop to be converted.  Just order yours online from Oliveology and join the tribe!

What’s the buzz about oregano essential oil?

March 25th, 2018 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “What’s the buzz about oregano essential oil?”

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It gets a bit boring seeing one miracle ingredient popping after the next. Don’t get it wrong, it’s good that people get more and more interested in looking after themselves; especially when it’s done in a natural, holistic way. But hasn’t it gotten too far? Didn’t you just cringe when you read the word “holistic”? People used to consume news about pop stars; now they seem to feed off of information on that special natural ingredient that will improve their health. And then there is the next. And the next after that. Do these remedies even work? You can never be certain.

Let’s be specific and take for example the essential oil of oregano. Is it another trend? Even Whole Foods makes an immunity shot with a couple of drops of this potent ingredient (tasted weird but did work!). People take oregano oil to fight colds, skin diseases and all sorts of ailments. Its use has spread so much so fast, that even the conventional research started picking up on it, proving that oregano essential oil has unique antioxidant, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. So, it seems only fair that it’s trending, right?

Well, not exactly. Oregano has been used in herbal medicine for centuries and is even mentioned in ancient biblical texts. It isn’t something new. But the research is. The tradition goes hand in hand with the scientific evidence here; both roads leading to this little, beautiful, aromatic herb. Oregano has been used not only in herbal medicine but in the kitchen as well. Most Mediterranean food is laced with some of its aroma. It has been said that many herbivores eat it to balance their gut health (and it also partakes in the secret recipe of Feta; you see, feta is not just a white cheese. Its distinct taste comes from the herbs that the wild goats eat on the rocky mountains of Greece).

If only all these powerful properties could be condensed so that we don’t have to chew on oregano leaves all day at work…  we would get a very potent vial full of oregano essential oil. And that’s exactly what we do. Aetheleon oregano organic essential oil is a product of personal passion and a lot of love. We figured that we put so much time and effort into this, we might as well make the best oregano oil possible. From the moment we picked our land, the organic native species to cultivate, caring personally for each and every plant, following all the way to getting that first drop of the finest oregano essential oil… we did nothing more but followed our vision to create excellence. Every step of the process has been fine-tuned in order to offer the purest possible essential oil of oregano. Not all oregano oils are created equal, but we can proudly say that our product deserves a place in every natural medicine cabinet.

Now that antibiotic resistance is on a whole new level and bacteria seem to survive even the strongest of antibiotics, we have a chance to look into those ancient ingredients that provide a natural alternative. Unlike conventional antibiotics, oregano essential oil does not strip our gut flora but is a strong immune booster. Moreover, this oil has a wound-healing effect if used in an ointment, reducing bacterial contamination at the same time. Oxidative stress is correlated with a number of degenerative disorders; however, the strong antioxidant character of oregano essential oil will help combat oxidation and aid proper detox. What is more, oregano is very rich in essential phytochemicals that we might be missing from our every-day diet. Phytochemicals provide positive mineral elements which are vital to fighting certain diseases. Lastly, oregano essential oil seems to be very active against certain fungi and bacteria such as candida albicans and epidermal staph infections.

The oil itself has a very strong taste and leaves behind a burning sensation. It doesn’t sound pleasant, but it’s all worth it, regardless. We have chosen one of the best tinted glass bottles, to preserve our essential oil and you only need a drop or two, so the bottle will last you a very long time. If you want any tips and tricks regarding its various uses, stay tuned. We will share all of our secrets and you won’t have to gag on oregano oil ever again. Starting here with some tips, order yours online from Oliveology and welcome on board!

Can consuming herbs harm biodiversity?

April 24th, 2017 Posted by blog 0 thoughts on “Can consuming herbs harm biodiversity?”

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When it comes to herbs, most of us think it’s only natural to harvest them from the wild. Especially in places like Greece, when you notice herbs like oregano, cistus or thyme, growing even in the most unexpected places like rocky surfaces or on the roadside, tempting you with their abundance and their resilience.

 But how sustainable is picking wild herbs nowadays?

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