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FERULA COMMUNIS L.

FERULA COMMUNIS L.

Ferula communis is a plant known as Finocchiaccio, Ferla or Silfio, typical of Southern Italy and widely used in the tradition of Sardinia, Sicily and Calabria.
It is said that Prometheus, wishing to give fire to men, hid a spark in a plant, much sought after for its many properties, to the point of being depicted on the coins of Cyrene, which monopolized its trade. Ferula was a medicine and a spice: dried or pickled seedlings were used as a side dish by the upper middle class, but it was above all the latex (laser) the true object of desire of gourmets, obtained by making small incisions on the fresh plant from which it escaped a whitish and milky liquid which in contact with air coagulated into small lumps with a waxy appearance. The laser, used to flavor vegetable dishes and roast meats, was also appreciated as a corrective of wine. Hippocrates used its juice to cure many diseases: even Cato, Strabone, Columella and Pliny wrote about it as an excellent remedy for many ailments and to neutralize the poisons of animals and arrows.
In the description of Theophrastus an Ombrellifera is recognized. Today Ferula is considered a species of Fennel belonging to the Apiaceae family such as Cumin, Carrot, Parsley, Angelica, Parsnips and Dill, plants with healing properties for asthma, bronchitis and digestive.

The Egyptians already used it mainly to treat dermatological diseases such as psoriasis. Traces of Ferula have been found in India and China: even in the East medical properties were attributed to the plant. It was used to treat cough, sore throat, fever, indigestion and even as a contraceptive due to its estrogenic properties.

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