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The Good Henry
The botanical name of what in slang is called the Buon Enrico is Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus. It is a sometimes creeping herbaceous plant that manages to branch out in an exemplary manner even if it reaches an average height of only 60 centimeters. The leaves of this plant are characteristic because they are undulating and have the typical shape of an arrow so much that they are called sagittate or astate. The covers a very thick hair that gives the plant an almost grainy appearance to the touch and in case you touch this plant, the fingers remain sticky for a long time. The flowers of the good Enrico are formed inside an ear and vary in color because sometimes they are red and others tend to be very bright green. Flowering occurs between July and September.
How good Henry is cultivated
The plant grows spontaneously in the mountain and sub-mountain areas at a height of about 2000 meters and prefers well-fertilized and nitrogenous soils even if it is also suitable for other types of soil. We find it very often in those mountain areas where flocks used to graze leaving their manure that acts as an organic fertilizer and in that soil, the good Henry finds his natural habitat that would be the same as the nettle plant and it is for this reason that often the plant grows in combination with the latter. The mountainous areas of Italy, are full of the good Enrico that we often find also on the sides of the roads. The plant could also be cultivated in gardens or vegetable gardens if one wanted to use it for therapeutic purposes. We do not find these crops, however, in our area, because the good Henry is a plant that has never been appreciated for its medicinal virtues while it has so many.
Property of Buon Enrico
Buon Enrico has never been a plant appreciated in herbal medicine but has very powerful virtues as an anti-anemic and brings many vitamins to the body, including iron. Its therapeutic properties, are being re-evaluated after the studies of experts of medicinal plants even if its use is above all the home one. Since ancient times this plant was used to prepare compounds that soothed sores or intense burns due to sunburn. Some recipes handed down from family to family are still used today.
The fresh leaves of Buon Enrico, are used for dental accesses or for boils from which purulent substance comes out. Although little known, this plant has quite effective medicinal virtues. It seems, however, that it has contraindications and that the oxalic acid present in it, integrates abundantly with the calcium present in the blood that circulates in our body. For the collimation of these two elements, calcium oxalates could be formed which are the main cause of the formation of kidney stones. It is therefore preferable not to use Buon Enrico-based compounds if you suffer from this condition. The plant is emollient, laxative and vermifuge. The seeds of the plant in infusion, are given to children because it is a mild laxative. Furthermore, since the leaves are rich in iron, they are suitable for those who have anemia. From the good Enrico we get an oil called "essence of chenopodium" which contains betalains.
Use of Buon Enrico in the kitchen
The alpigiani prefer this plant in the kitchen where they use it to dress some dishes since it gives a strong and intense flavor similar to that of spinach. Only very tender leaves and sprouts are used and cooked in the same way as asparagus. The nutritional power of this plant is very high. In the alpine areas it is collected and fried in a pan or boiled and seasoned with oil and lemon. In ancient times it was considered one of those very poor dishes but today it is instead appreciated because it replaces the common spinach. The tender raw leaves can be seasoned with oil, lemon, pepper, salt and walnut kernels and thus prepare a tasty and fresh salad that is very nutritious and appetizing. Sprouts are appreciated in soups and omelettes and many local trattorias, they use the good Enrico as a specialty. "Parьch with local cream" is a well-known Alpine delicacy in those areas.
Therapeutic preparations with Buon Enrico
To prepare a Buon Enrico infusion as a remineralizer, put 5 grams of fresh or dried leaves in a cup and pour over 100 grams of water and then let it sit for a few minutes. Care should be taken when there is a lack of iron and should be continued for three months.
To prepare a laxative, you need 1 gram of seeds in 100 grams of hot water. Let it rest for a few minutes and then sip before going to sleep, sweetening the drink with raw honey.
With 5 grams of leaves boiled for 10 minutes in 200 grams of water, you can make excellent compresses for hemorrhoids.
10 grams of leaves boiled in 100 grams of oil, make a compound with which to make poultices for sunburn and erythema.
Buon enrico: Curiosity about Buon Enrico
It seems that Henry IV of Navarre, allowed the population of his city, to access the park of his garden to feed himself with the herbs cultivated in this. The plant takes its name from Henry IV because his subjects wanted to dedicate this plant to him as thanks.