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The genepм: natural remedies of the aromatic plant
Aromatic plant that develops mainly in the Apennine and Alpine areas, the genepim includes numerous species that are part of the Artemisia genus: the black genepim (Artemisia genepim according to the botanical name) and the white genepм (Artemisia mutellina according to the botanical name) are the varieties more known, and appear in the form of a bush no more than twenty centimeters high. Distinguished by simple stems with erect or creeping branches, the plant has at the base leaves with a small petiole, and on the part high leaves (called heads) arranged as spikes. Each head is made up of numerous yellow flowers, both feminine and masculine (with the latter more aromatic than the former). Speaking of aromatic essences, the larger ones are found in the black genepm, while they are more rare in the white genepim, where they are confined to the aerial parts. The plant generally grows between two thousand and three thousand meters of altitude, in Italy especially in Piedmont and in the Valle d'Aosta. Flowering occurs between the months of July and September.
Use in herbal medicine
The genepм is known, as well as for the homonymous liqueur, above all for the natural herbal remedies which guarantees: the flowering tops are used, including the flowers themselves. They are harvested in the early days of flowering, and then placed in a ventilated place in the shade where they dry. In herbal medicine, moreover, the root is also used, but it is taken in the summer months. The natural remedies that the genepim is able to ensure are linked above all to the bitter principles, which are then used by the liqueur. In fact, inside the plant there are essential oils such as cineol, a component rarely found in other plants: it is a terpene oxide that favors digestion. Among the other properties of the genepim, however, there are also those that are healing, expectorant, stimulating, balsamic, anti-spasmodic and tonic; the extracts, in particular, have beneficial effects in blocking or in any case alleviating intestinal spasms and coughs, but they also serve to soothe wounds, and to treat different pathologies of the respiratory system such as bronchitis and asthma. It is not over: thanks to genepм extracts it is possible to find relief after a difficult and elaborate digestion, and in cases of flatulence. Lower fever and increased sweating are other reasons for the use of extracts from this plant.
Soothe altitude sickness
The flowers of the male species of the genepim are used in phytotherapy and at the artisan level in the production of liqueurs (in the past the mountaineers used to mix grappa with genepim liqueur to soothe mountain sickness, that is to say the blockage of digestion caused by the cold and from excessive altitudes). The liqueur is prepared using the dried leaves, while the active ingredients are extracted by suspension or infusion. As regards the infusion, in particular, the parts of the plant must be left in a hydro-alcoholic solution for a month and a half: the infusion, after this period of time, is pressed, and then mixed with sugar water in order to reduce it the alcohol content. Therefore it is obtained in liquor that is left to mature to favor the sedimentation of soluble components; finally, we proceed to filter the whole, so as to obtain a bright and pure product, whose pale green color tends towards straw-colored. As for the suspension, on the other hand, the plants are placed on special grids that are suspended inside hermetic containers on the alcohol solution. So it happens that the alcohol evaporates, and inside it holds only the aromatic parts of the genepim. Once the evaporation phase is completed, it is necessary to add, also in this case, sugared water. The suspension lasts about three months, after which it proceeds to a maturation of five months: the result is a liqueur of forty degrees, the brandy.
Genepi: A much requested product
Natural remedies and the possibility of obtaining liqueurs make genepim, therefore, a rather popular product. A mother tincture of this plant costs about ten euros for a bottle of fifty milliliters, while not more than five euros costs an infusion filter. Liqueurs and bitters, evidently, have higher prices: a 700 milliliter bottles can also be sold for twenty euros.
It should be remembered, however, that thanks to genepм it is also possible to make vinous tinctures and infusions. The infusion, in particular, is obtained using four grams of flowering tops each deciliter of water, and should be drunk once a day, after eating. The vinous tincture, instead, derives from the maceration in one hundred milliliters of white wine of twenty grams of flowering tops for five days. The same procedure, but applied in an alcohol solution at seventy degrees, allows instead to produce the mother dye.
In conclusion, the natural remedies of genepim help to promote digestion, block the spasms of the respiratory system, cure wounds and speed up recovery from fever: in short, it is a decidedly valid plant.