A SELECTION OF MEDICINAL HERBS – SEA ONION OR SQUILL {SCILLA, URGINEA MARITIME) (INTRODUCTION)

Along the shores of the Mediterranean, more specifically the blue waters of Greece by the Peloponnesian peninsula, an extraordinary plant is found. It shoots up out of the dry ground on a stem more than a metre (3 feet) high and is crowned with a dense spike of small white flowers. The stem has no leaves and if you dig down for its root, you will come upon a large bulb which, on average, is about 15 cm (6 inches) in diameter and over 1 kg (2 pounds) in weight. This is the genuine sea onion or squill that flourishes in the dry ground and the fragrant sea air and is known to the botanists as Scilla maritima. The plant contains an essential oil, scillitin, or scillin, besides other important substances, and was used as an internal as well as external remedy even by the ancient inhabitants of the Mediterranean region. They praised its medicinal effects in the treatment of various heart troubles, oedematic congestion, and breathing difficulties.

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