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Federica Orlando

1. Do you remember using or do you still use any traditional remedies?

I remember my mother using Chamomille tea to cure my conjunctivitis and help me calm down when, as a child, I couldn’t sleep. I still use this amazing little ally in those same situations. For few years I am relying more and more on natural remedies for my overall care and those include Saint Jhon’s wort oil, calendula oil and salve, propolis, and natural herbs mixes for my hair’s health. I love to make Ginger and Curcuma kick-remedies when I start to feel a little sick and they always boost my health. I am also using soaps and toothpaste coming from my father’s crafting skills. I reached a point in which I don’t buy any chemical product or drug for personal usage and I constantly rely on plants and natural remedies for my needs. I have a passion for essential oils but I am using them less and less since I recognize that they are very strong medicines and should be used with extreme caution.
Since I come from Italy, a wide range of Mediterranean herbs have been always available to me and included in my diet. Only now do I see that I have been using them my whole life without being aware of the great positive impact they may have had on my health. I am very grateful I can be finally conscious about it!
Another observation I had only lately is that I grew up surrounded by a lot of different liquors coming from plants, roots, and berries. These were medicines crafted by Italian monks in abbeys during ancient times and then they became of popular use. It is incredible how many medicines are around us without us even noticing!
I also feel is important to mention the smudging rituals I included in my daily rituals. Smudging is an ancient way to purify and cleanse energetically the air and the body. I believe that smudging is a traditional remedy and it deeply belongs to European culture. I tried to make my own smudges from Bay leaves, Rosemary, and Sage with great results!

2. Note down a few herbs which you see for sale locally (therapeutic herbs).

Besides well-known aromatic herbs like Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, Bay leaves, and some other herbs belonging to different culinary traditions I couldn’t find any local wild herb in dutch markets! I’ll pay more attention, I might be surprised!

3. Briefly describe what you understand the Doctrine of Signatures to mean.

The Doctrine of Signature is not new to me. In Italy, it is still quite active among traditional healers. It basically says “equal heals equal” and is based on the assumption that a plant helps that body part that it visually resembles. In modern times, science brought some light on many of these resemblances between plants and body parts proving that most of them are not accurate. Officially the Doctrine lost its reputation but I can say that many people still rely on it. Personally, I have never been attracted by it and now I discover that in some cases it can be a dangerous approach.