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Our cultivated medicinal plants

Indika currently works with around twenty species of common medicinal plants from the Indian Ocean and the Mascarenes, but we intend to enrich our herbarium as the company develops. Most of these plants come from our nursery, and are then replanted on the edge of the endemic forest of Ferney before being harvested and sent to the factory. We also carry out wild picking of certain invasive plants within the forest, which contributes to the control and preservation of this important natural heritage.

Mouroum (Moringa oleifera)

Nicknamed “tree of life”, Moringa (Mouroum in Mauritius), is a true miracle of nature. In Mauritius, its leaves and fruits are eaten, mainly in broth or curry. Although the “brède mouroum” has long been considered the food of the destitute on our island, its nutritional and therapeutic virtues are immense. Mourum is surprisingly rich in vitamins A, C and E, protein (it contains all 9 essential amino acids), minerals and antioxidants. Its important nutritional values make it a food of choice to fight malnutrition. It is particularly suitable for growing children, pregnant women, people suffering from osteoporosis, lactose intolerant people, cancer patients... It is also useful for fighting colds, diarrhea, certain skin pathologies, and has anti-aging benefits. -inflammatory and antiviral. A real concentrate of benefits, available from Indika in the form of powder or pills to multiply the benefits!


Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora)

Originally from Australia, eucalyptus was introduced to Mauritius at the end of the 19th century in order to fight against tropical fevers. In its country of origin, there are more than 600 species. The one we use is eucalyptus citriodora, common on the island and whose medicinal properties are recognized. Its leaves are used to treat inflammation of the respiratory tract, sore throats, rheumatism, headaches, ear infections, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis or urinary tract infections. Giving off a pleasant scent, eucalyptus is also an excellent mosquito repellent, which is very useful in our latitudes!


Bigarade (Citrus aurantium)

A citrus fruit native to the southern Himalayas, the bitter orange tree has been known for over a millennium for its pharmaceutical properties. It was also widely cultivated in the East and in the West several centuries ago. Also called bitter orange, the bitter orange tree was introduced to Mauritius when the island was a French colony between the 17th and 18th centuries. Its fruits and leaves have sedative, anxiolytic and slimming properties, and are used to treat insomnia, epilepsy, anxiety, gastritis and stomach pain, excess cholesterol and obesity. In Mauritius, bigarade is traditionally eaten in confit or achard.


Combava (Citrus hystrix)

Kaffir lime is a citrus fruit known for the very powerful scent given off by its leaves and fruits, reminiscent of lemongrass, ginger and coriander. Its fruit, which is extremely acidic, is however rarely eaten. The leaves and zest of kaffir lime are important ingredients in traditional Mauritian cuisine. It is very rich in vitamins, more particularly in vitamin C, and in mineral salts. Its pharmaceutical properties include the slowing down of skin cells and the strengthening of immune defenses, but also the prevention of flu infections, hypertension, inflammation, cataracts and certain types of cancer.


Kumquat (Citrus japonica)

A tart little orange, the kumquat is a remarkable member of the citrus family despite its modest size. It was introduced to Mauritius towards the end of the 19th century, at a time when it was in vogue in Europe. Although the kumquat is less concentrated in vitamin C than other citrus fruits, it nevertheless has very interesting medicinal properties. For example, it is excellent for regulating intestinal transit and for treating constipation, thanks to the fibers that compose it. The kumquat also contains vitamin B9, which promotes the formation of nerve cells. It is therefore excellent for growing children. 


Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis)

A plant with many benefits, aloe Vera, or aloe, has been cultivated in warm regions of the planet for centuries. The soothing and healing powers of this succulent for burns, inflammations and skin lesions, among others, have long been known. Aloe Vera also has other virtues, such as relieving constipation thanks to its laxative properties, reducing glucose levels in diabetics, or even treating diseases such as lichen planus, genital herpes and psoriasis, among others. The gel and latex produced by the plant are mainly used for internal or external use.


Pomegranate (Punica granatum)

Did you know that eating just one pomegranate provides you with 40% of your daily vitamin C needs? Fruit of the pomegranate tree, the pomegranate was according to mythology the favorite fruit of the Egyptian gods. Toning and rich in antioxidants, pomegranate also helps reduce blood pressure. The juice extracted from its seeds is used as an internal purifier, for weight loss. Its high level of polyphenols helps prevent or slow down cardiovascular disease, arthritis, as well as breast or prostate cancer. The pomegranate is however not recommended for people suffering from constipation and pregnant women.


Ayapana (Ayapana triplinervis)

Introduced to the Mascarene Islands in the late 18th century, ayapana comes straight from the Amazon forests, where local tribes have used it since time immemorial to treat snakebites and food poisoning. In the traditional medicine of our region, ayapana is mainly used to fight against digestive problems such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn, colic, diarrhea and intestinal pain. Its leaves are consumed in the form of herbal tea or infusion. Be careful, the ayapana is not recommended for children!


Guava (Psidium guajava)

Sweet and juicy, guava is a common fruit of tropical regions. It is rich in antioxidants, as well as vitamin C and vitamin A. Interestingly, guava contains five times more vitamin C than orange! Its regular consumption allows an increase in HDL cholesterol levels, beneficial for the heart. The leaves of the guava tree contain high levels of lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene, which are nutrients recommended for eye health and can prevent the formation of certain cancers. They are also effective against diarrhea and have astringent properties. Applied to the skin, they fight against bacteria. The ripe fruit has laxative effects. For centuries, the crushed flesh of the guava has been used as a moisturizing ointment.


Papaya (Carica papaya)

Papaya is the oblong, fragrant and juicy fruit of the papaya tree, which grows in gardens and in the middle of nature in our region. Papaya is rich in vitamins (A, B1, B2 and C), mineral salts and proteins. It contains in particular papain, an amazing protein that is very effective against skin and scalp problems such as itching, hives, dandruff, acne... The exfoliating properties of papaya make it a ingredient often used by cosmetic manufacturers. Papain also has calming and slimming effects. 


Long-leaved mint (Mentha longifolia)

A herb found in many parts of the world, long-leaved mint, or scots mint, has the characteristic of giving off a less fragrant and pleasant smell than other species of mint. However, its pharmaceutical properties have made it an ingredient of choice in traditional medicine. Indeed, for centuries healers and herbalists have used it against coughs, asthma, indigestion, headaches, etc.


Balsam of Peru (Plectranthus amboinicus)

As its name suggests, balsam of Peru is used directly on the skin for its antiseptic and healing properties, in particular. In Mauritius, it is also used as an infusion against coughs, flu, colds, infections, rheumatism and flatulence. It should be noted that the plant that Mauritians call balsam of Peru does not designate the tree so called elsewhere (Myroxylon balsamum), but a herbaceous plant that is known overseas under the name of Cuban oregano or large West Indian thyme. This plant is nonetheless a real concentrate of benefits for the body!


Basilic (Ocimum basilicum)

In addition to its culinary properties which wonderfully flavor sauces and accompaniments, basil has also been known for a very long time by practitioners of traditional medicine for its benefits. It is indeed rich in mineral salts, vitamins (A, C) and antioxidants. Used internally, basil helps delay cell aging, cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers. Its digestive properties are also prized for the treatment of bloating, indigestion and stomach pain. The great basil is also effective in fighting fever, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, sore throat, cough, as well as many other health problems. Externally, it is applied in the traditional way in the form of balms or poultices to treat cramps, muscle pain and itching, as well as painful menstruation. It can also be used to treat mouth infections. Finally, did you know that drinking an infusion of basil in the evening promotes sleep?


Granadilla (Passiflora edulis)

Passion fruit is good, but not only in taste! Granadilla  is indeed one of the richest fruits in fiber, after almond and coconut, which is excellent for digestion and for colon cleansing. Low in calories, it is on the contrary rich in phosphorus, an important element for bone health. In addition, consuming 100g of grenadine provides 10% of our daily iron needs. An excellent source of potassium, passion fruit helps maintain blood pressure. It is also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C and flavonoids, a winning combination to fight cell aging and inflammation.


Victoria pineapple (Ananas comosus)

A sweet, fragrant and very popular variety of pineapple in Mauritius, the Victoria pineapple is full of health benefits. For example, it is rich in soft fibers, which promotes intestinal transit and helps fight constipation. Its high polyphenol content makes it one of the fruits containing the most antioxidants, an asset in the fight against certain chronic diseases and preventing certain types of cancer. One of the greatest benefits of pineapple, however, remains its supply of bromelain, a unique enzyme in this fruit that promotes the digestion of rich meals and helps prevent bloating, digestive disorders or heartburn. Bromelain also has amazing anti-inflammatory, anti-thrombotic and anti-platelet properties. An indisputable health ally!


Rosemary (Rosmarinus officialis)

According to legend, rosemary is the source of Louis XIVs longevity. The court of the Sun King, sovereign who reigned the longest over the Kingdom of France, was indeed extremely fond of rosemary water (or “water of the Queen of Hungary”), which at the time was thought to be a source of eternal youth… An exaggeration, no doubt, but the fact remains that rosemary has immense medicinal properties! Antioxidant, antibacterial, antiseptic, rosemary is also an excellent remedy against stress, fatigue, insomnia... It is also a real stimulant for memory and promotes brain activity. Not to mention that the fragrance it gives off is truly divine!


Plants picked in the forest


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum)

The Ceylon cinnamon was introduced to Mauritius during the colonial era. Having adapted perfectly to the local climatic conditions, they are found in almost all the forests of the island, so much so that the species is now considered invasive and threatens the endemic flora. All parts of the plant (bark, leaves, fruits) have been used for millennia. The ancient Egyptians also used cinnamon during the process of embalming their dead. Its medicinal benefits are numerous: cinnamon is beneficial for digestion, breathing and even hypertension. Rich in cinnamic aldehyde and phenols, it is also an excellent antiseptic, antifungal and vermifuge.


Jambolan (Syzygium jambos)

Jambolan is the fruit of the jamelonier, a tree from the Indian peninsula. The fruit, sugary and bitter on the palate, is oblong in shape and has a very dark purple color when ripe. Introduced in Mauritius around the middle of the 18th century, jambolan was once highly appreciated by the local population. Nowadays it has almost fallen into oblivion, although a few rare merchants can still be found selling it. Rich in potassium, vitamin C, carbohydrates, magnesium and other minerals, in particular, ham eaten as is is an excellent natural astringent. It is also beneficial in case of digestive and urinary problems. The seeds and bark of the tree contain naturally healthy active substances, such as jambosine and jambolin. The seeds, crushed in powder form, are also very effective in combating diabetes, and the leaves lower blood pressure. Like the cinnamon, the jamelonier is considered an invasive species in Mauritius.

Malagasy plum (Flacourtia indica)

Another invasive species, the Madagascar plum tree grows everywhere in Mauritius. It is a thorny shrub, which can sometimes reach 15 m in height, which gives small red fruits. In traditional medicine, the Madagascar plum tree is best known for its virtues against diarrhea, in children as in adults. We mainly use the leaves in decoction, and more rarely the fresh fruits in infusion.


  Chinese guava (Psidium cattleianum)

The Chinese guava tree is probably the most harmful invasive species to the endemic flora of Mauritius. Its speed of propagation and its surprising speed of growth have indeed caused the disappearance of many local rare plants. Its fruit, the Chinese guava, is paradoxically one of the most popular on the island. In season, thousands of Mauritians go to the island's forests to harvest them. There are two kinds of Chinese guavas in Mauritius: red, tangy, and yellow, sweeter. Rich in vitamin C, these fruits are beneficial to the cardiovascular system, the intestines, and help maintain a correct cholesterol level. It is mainly used in Mauritius to help lower blood pressure.


Margoze or bitter melon (Momordica charantia)

Originally from India, margoze has been cultivated for hundreds of years all over the Asian continent. As its name suggests, its oblong fruit has an extremely bitter taste, although new, less bitter varieties have been developed over time. In Mauritius, fried margoze is mainly consumed as an accompaniment to rice/curry. The fruit has a fairly high nutritional value. In India the fruit and leaves are used in traditional medicine to treat diabetes, colic, skin problems and skin wounds. Margoze has antioxidant, antimicrobial, antiviral and antidiabetic properties. It is a good source of vitamins A and C, which helps strengthen the immune system, boost collagen production, reduce inflammation, promote proper organ function, balance fluid production and protect bones, among others. . Margoze contains cucurbitacins, which gives it its strong bitterness. In Mauritius, the expression “létan margoze” is used when times are hard, or rather... bitter! 


Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)

A long, fragrant herb with a strong lemony scent, lemongrass forms one of the largest families of angiosperm plants, with more than 11,000 species distributed in all regions of the planet. The stems can reach four meters in height. The leaves and young stems are used to flavor fish and other meat dishes. The leaves can also be infused and consumed in herbal teas. The essential oil extracted from the leaves is commonly used in insecticidal preparations, perfumes and soaps. Lemongrass grows rapidly and can quickly become invasive when introduced. 


Chouchou or chayote (Sechium edule)

A robust perennial vine that can reach a length of 30 meters, the chouchou is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves. The fruits are oval in shape, rough and irregular, and contain a single seed. They can be eaten raw, boiled or roasted.  Originally from Central America, this plant was introduced to many countries, including Mauritius, where its fruit is nowadays one of the vegetables the most consumed in the country. An infusion of the crushed fruit can be used to lower blood pressure, and the leaves can be used to treat kidney stones. The tubers are diuretic, effective against pulmonary or intestinal problems. The seeds are an excellent source of protein. The very fibrous lianas can be used to make baskets, hats, carpets, etc.


Garlic (Allium sativa)

Native to Central Asia, garlic is however common and grows wild in many countries such as France, Italy and many more. However, the wild varieties are becoming increasingly rare, supplanted by those which are abundantly cultivated almost everywhere. Almost all the cuisines of the world use the bulb of garlic to flavor various preparations. Garlic is known for its many properties, mainly antibacterial ones. It is also an excellent anthelmintic, anticholesterolemic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, cholagogue, diuretic, expectorant, febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic, vasodilator... The fresh bulb has more therapeutic properties than when stored.


Green tea (Camelia sinensis)

The tea tree is a medium-sized evergreen plant from Asia that grows at high altitudes in tropical and subtropical regions. It is mainly grown in an area that stretches from China to Burma, as well as Sri Lanka. Mauritius has small plantations producing a free-flowing and tasty tea. Today, tea, made from the infusion of the leaves of the plant, is undoubtedly the most consumed drink in the world. Green tea is made by steaming and drying the leaves, while the leaves are fermented and then dried to make black tea. Tea has a euphoric and relaxing effect on the nervous system. The leaves have antioxidant, cardiotonic, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant and astringent properties. The tea can be used internally to treat ailments such as diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis and gastroenteritis.


Noni or Wood Turtle (Morinda citrifolia)

The noni fruit, or wood turtle in Mauritius, has been known for ages for its many therapeutic virtues. Native to Asia and Australia, the species is now widespread in most tropical and subtropical regions. In recent years, noni has enjoyed a veritable cult in therapeutic circles, entering into the composition of many creams and remedies. The fruits are yellowish white, and have a strong smell when ripe. All parts of the plant can be used. The roots and bark can be used to make tinctures and remedies, and the leaves are edible. In some Asian countries, they are also used to wrap food. The species contains many medicinal properties: noni is anti-inflammatory, immunizing, anthelmintic, analgesic, hypotensive, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antitumor… This is why many industries today use this plant for various medical and therapeutic applications. 


Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

  An aromatic plant giving off a sweet fragrance, cultivated and consumed by man for millennia, thyme also has many medicinal properties. In addition to its widely known culinary properties, it is often used as an infusion to combat nasal congestion, sore throats, colds and respiratory infections. Thyme infusion is also an excellent vermifuge, relieves intestinal problems and fights diabetes. The plant is used internally to treat dry coughs, whooping cough, bronchitis, bronchial catarrh, asthma, laryngitis, indigestion, gastritis, diarrhea and childhood enuresis. Thyme flowers are highly antiseptic, and also have antispasmodic, anthelmintic, expectorant, carminative, diaphoretic, sedative properties... Used in pot pourri, they give off a deodorizing scent.


Betel (Piper Betle

Originally from Malaysia and widely distributed in southern China, betel is considered an invasive species in certain island regions, such as the Seychelles. Betel leaves have been used for centuries in traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine. They are known for their toning and psychostimulant properties, but above all for the many benefits they bring to the liver and their action against digestive and intestinal problems, as well as food poisoning. Antifungal and vermifuge, betel is a hepato-protector which can also be used to fight against respiratory and pulmonary problems. A decoction of betel leaves, to which turmeric and a little salt are added, is effective in reducing fever. The juice from the crushed leaves can be used as a remedy for certain eye problems such as night blindness.


Malbar brede (Amaranthus dubuis)

A weedy plant widespread in the humid tropics, brede malbar is a common ingredient in Mauritian cuisine. The leaves and stems are boiled to accompany the rice. Many African countries are fond of it, and it is even cultivated and marketed in certain regions such as Kenya. According to tradition, boiled leaves are given to nursing mothers and young children for their medicinal properties. Malbar brede is also used to treat fever, hemorrhage, anemia, constipation and kidney problems. The whole plant is crushed and then used internally to fight stomach ailments. 


Spinach breda (Spinacia oleracera)

Easy to grow and growing quickly, spinach is one of the staples of the vegetable garden. Edible raw or cooked, it occupies an important place on many tables around the world. However, its medicinal properties are less known to the general public. Spinach is indeed excellent for fighting obesity, fatigue or cancer. In addition, it is good for memory and cognitive faculties, therefore recommended for children. Among the health benefits of spinach, we can cite better control of blood glucose levels for diabetic patients, a reduction in the risk of cancer, better bone health, as well as a significant contribution in multiple vitamins. and minerals.


Watercress (Nasturtium officinale)

Another common ingredient in Mauritian cuisine, watercress is a small freshwater plant that is an excellent source of cheap and easy to grow green vegetables. There are also many watercress plantations in the freshwater bodies, streams and rivers of Mauritius. When ripe, watercress contains small doses of sugars and fats, vitamins B and E, folic acids and minerals. The doses of protein, iron, carotenes and vitamin C are however higher. It has long been used in traditional medicine to treat renal colic and liver problems, as it promotes blood circulation. Watercress is also a natural diuretic, to be prescribed in case of colds, coughs and eczema. Its popularity as a natural medicine is growing; indeed, several recent studies have isolated interesting anti-cancer properties in this plant.


Tulsi, Indian basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum)

A perennial plant native to the Indian subcontinent, Indian basil (or holy basil) adorns many gardens in India and Mauritius. It was introduced to Mauritius by indentured laborers from the Great Peninsula, and has since been widely cultivated there as an ornamental plant. The Tulsi is sacred to Hindus, as the embodiment of Goddess Lakshmi (Tulsi). Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, often wears in his representations a necklace of Tulsi leaves, which would promote piety, meditation, purity, and protect its wearer against bad luck. This plant is widely used in Ayurvedic and traditional medicine. Green leaves are infused to treat coughs, boost immunity, lower acidity, and fight inflammation. Indian basil has particular antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, neuroprotective, anti-cancer properties… It is excellent against stress, and some people use it as a natural contraceptive.


Almond (Prunus dulcis)

Sweet almond has been consumed by humans since the dawn of time. Today, the almond tree grows naturally in widely separated regions such as Greece, North Africa, and West Asia. Almond oil, obtained after pressurizing the seeds, can be used as a mild laxative and as a treatment for cancer of the bladder, breasts, mouth, spleen and uterus. Some people apply the oil directly to the skin to soften it, to soothe it and to protect against germs. Besides its delicate taste, the almond promotes the health of the body. It is recommended for patients suffering from kidney stones, gallstones and constipation. Its skin benefits have made it an essential carrier oil for aromatherapy. Almond seed is emollient, laxative, and highly nutritious. It contains laetrile, a substance also called vitamin B17. In small doses, this vitamin promotes breathing and digestion, while providing a feeling of well-being.


Clove (Syzygium aromaticum)

This medium-sized evergreen bushy plant produces strongly aromatic oblong fruits, which are widely used to flavor pastries, desserts and various dishes. The buds are rich in essential oil, the main active ingredient of which is eugenol, which gives cloves their strong scent. Extracted by distillation, eugenol can be used as a local anesthetic for dental pain. It is widely used in perfumery to intensify blends. The medical properties of cloves include analgesic, antioxidant, anticancer, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial benefits, among others.


Jamarosa (Cymbopogon jwarancusa)

This evergreen herb forms clumps with short rhizomes. It is commonly found in dry regions and lowlands in the hot tropics of the Indian subcontinent and parts of the Middle East. It is sometimes cultivated in India for the production of essential oil. Its leaves are effective against rheumatism, cough, fever, gout, dyspepsia and cholera. Ayurvedic medicine advocates the use of the roots to treat feverish symptoms. They are boiled in water until reduced by half. The resulting liquid should be kept in the mouth for 15-20 minutes to treat pyorrhea.


Geranium (Geranium sp.)

A small plant with bright and colorful flowers native to South Africa, the geranium has hundreds of subspecies and just as many different colors. However, its qualities are not only ornamental, because the geranium is a veritable treasure of pharmacopoeia. Geranium essential oil, for example, is an excellent astringent, which can be mixed with water to cleanse the face or in a bath. Its antiseptic properties are very powerful, and it has extremely beneficial effects on the hair. The leaves or flowers can be used in herbal teas or decoctions. Geranium has an amazing ability to reduce stress, inflammation, strengthen the nervous system, aid digestion, and improve kidney, skin, and hair health. It also has antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.


Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii)

This herb is cultivated in India for its powerful essential oil with pleasant aromas reminiscent of the scent of roses. This oil contains geraniol, an active component with multiple uses. Geraniol, for example, is very popular in Indian households to protect certain foodstuffs such as beans or dried grains from harmful insects. Anthelmintic, palmarosa essential oil is also used to fight against parasitic nematodes, as a fungicide or mosquito repellent. It is used in the composition of many soaps, perfumes and cosmetic products.


Avocado (Persea americana)

Native to Mexico, the avocado is nowadays one of the most consumed fruits on the planet. In addition to its excellent nutritional intake, the benefits and medicinal properties are indeed numerous. The leaves are astringent, carminative, antitussive, emmenagogue and hypotensive. Infused and chewed, they can relieve dysentery, cough, lower blood pressure, treat liver congestion, facilitate menstrual flow and fight gout. The pulp of the fruit can lower cholesterol levels. Very nutritious, it would also be an aphrodisiac, according to some sources. The green fruits, which are inedible, are sometimes used to induce abortions. Externally, the pulp has soothing and moisturizing properties on the skin. It can be applied to purulent wounds or on the scalp to promote hair growth.


Lemon (Citrus lemon)

Very rich in vitamin C, lemon (called silt in Mauritius) is very effective against infections of all kinds, but also to prevent certain ailments and strengthen the immune system. In the past, long-distance sailors had to drink 3 centiliters of lemon juice a day to prevent scurvy. Applied locally, the juice is an excellent astringent, and can be gargled to relieve sore throats. It is also a powerful bactericide. Despite its high acidity, lemon has an alkalizing effect on the body, which makes it effective against rheumatism. The essential oil extracted from lemon peel has stimulating and carminative effects when consumed in small doses. Lemon is also rich in bioflavonoids, an active component that strengthens blood vessels. The oil from the seeds is used for making soap, and the dried fruit is a traditional household insecticide that is used to repel pests such as moths.


Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

A small herbaceous plant whose purple flowers give off a powerful and very pleasant fragrance, lavender is used in the composition of many desserts and pastries. Lavender honey is renowned for its taste qualities and its delicious aromas. Lavender essential oil is a staple in the cosmetics industry, used for the production of perfumes, soaps, shampoos and more. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help relieve superficial burns and insect bites. According to some studies, lavender oil would be useful for fighting anxiety, insomnia, depression and agitation. Infused, the flowers relieve digestive disorders (vomiting, indigestion, nausea, bulges, etc.) as well as pain, headaches, dental inflammation, sprains...


Common castor bean (Ricinus communis)

This herbaceous plant native to Africa is the source of castor oil, which has many applications, but also of a poison, ricin, derived from the toxic fruits. The fruits are small shells bristling with spikes, while the leaves are recognizable by their webbed shape. This plant is considered invasive in many areas, but it is also grown for oil production. Castor oil, obtained by pressing the seeds, is known for its purgative properties internally and soothing against various pains when applied externally. Nowadays, this oil is used by various industries for the production of soaps, margarine, lubricants, paint, ink and plastics, among others. Castor crops can also be used as feedstock for the production of biodiesel.


Black cummin (Nigella sativa)

This herb, reaching 20 to 60 centimeters in height, has long been used by the peoples of South-West Asia, the Mediterranean and North Africa. The seeds are often roasted and then crushed to season various culinary preparations. In the Islamic religion, cumin seeds have the reputation of being a panacea. They also play an important role in traditional Western medicine, being used to treat a number of health conditions such as headaches, rheumatism, asthma, nausea and cough. Crushed then mixed with vinegar, they can also treat certain skin infections such as ringworm, eczema or hair loss. Cumin seeds have galactagogue, emmenagogue, deworming and diuretic properties, among others. It can also be used to treat purulent wounds. In parts of India, the crushed seeds are sometimes used to induce abortions.


Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

A variety of mint that owes its name to its spicy scent, peppermint is a hybrid of two other varieties: Mentha aquatica and Mentha spicata. A plant native to Europe and the Middle East, it is nowadays widely distributed in most regions of the planet, and is often cultivated for its commercial value. According to some studies, peppermint oil combined with certain carrier oils would be effective against indigestion. However, there is no evidence that pure peppermint oil has such benefits, and using this oil without additives can instead cause ingestion. Other studies suggest that peppermint oil can cure headaches. Some peppermint gels, creams, and other products are used to treat sore nipples, cracked nipples, and other lesions in breastfeeding women. However, it is necessary to clean properly after application because peppermint contains menthol, an organic component that can affect infant breathing. 

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