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The Alps are a paradise for botanists: indeed, anyone with an interest in plants. Around 4500 different plant species, adapted to the harsh climatic conditions of high altitudes, can be found in the Alps,.

Although the Alps are home to thousands of medicinal and edible plants, many are protected, such as edelweiss or arnica. The protection of these plant types is essential to their survival, so you should be aware which plants are currently on the red list of threatened plant species.


Wild Thyme - Thymus serpyllum

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Wild thyme is one of the most versatile plant species you can find in the Alps. Not only does it smell incredibly good, it also tastes wonderful! Wild thyme is an excellent remedy for coughs, inflammation and sore throats. As a spice plant, its taste goes perfectly with meat, sauces and soups.
The aromatic dwarf shrub grows in sunny regions, in dry fields and in warm, rocky, or sandy soils from the vallies up to 2800 meters above sea level.
Use: collect the leaves and flowers during the flowering period, put them in a cup and pour hot water over them. Then let the tea steep for 5-10 minutes.
If you can't pick thyme fresh, you can also buy it dried. Thyme can also have healing properties in the form of oil, ointment, or cream to counteract coughs and sore throats.

Chamomile - Matricaria Chamomilla

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Chamomile is one of the most well-known and widely-used herbs. It is often found as a tea in the household. But if you pick the herb yourself and pour the tea fresh, it tastes worlds better!
Chamomile prefers sunny and warm places in fields, pastures and forests.
Application: Chamomile has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-spasmodic properties. As a natural sedative, it also has a relaxing effect; in the evening before going to bed, drink chamomile tea or add a little chamomile oil to your fragrance lamp for a particularly restful sleep.
Be careful: there are many similar-looking species without healing properties. Chamomile is best recognized by its strong scent. The other species look very similar, but have no fragrance.

Ribwort plantain - Plantago lanceolata

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Ribwort plantain is a wild herb that is found frequently: on hiking trails, by the roadside and in fields. The leaves of the ribwort can be used to make a cough-relieving tea; they also provide a fast remedy for wounds and stings. The leaves at the base are rosette-shaped and their flower stems can grow up to 50 cm high. The flowers are so clearly recognizable that you can't miss them!
Application: If you injure yourself in the great outdoors and don’t have band-aids or disinfectant with you, chew a few ribwort leaves and place them on the wound.

Edelweiss - Leontopodium nivale

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The Edelweiss is the star among alpine plants. The flower and the leaves are covered with short white hairs, which gives them a felt-like appearance, hence the Latin name (Leontopodium means "lion's feet"). These fluffy hairs protect the plant from the cold and strong UV radiation in the mountains.
Application: In folk medicine, the edelweiss was used as a remedy for treating diarrhea and stomach pains. The most popular is the preparation with hot milk and honey, but it can also be made as a tea.
Warning! Alpen-Edelweiss is under strict nature protection and may not be picked or dug up. That's why it's all the more beautiful when you plant and enjoy edelweiss as a cultivated plant in your own garden.

Arnica - arnica montana

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Arnica has been used as a medicinal plant for centuries. In monastery gardens, it was an integral part of the "green pharmacy". It can be found in the high plains of the Alps; the yellow flowers are full of sesquiterpenic lactones, flavonoids and other metabolic products, which have many health benefits.
Application: arnica oil has an anti-inflammatory effect. Arnica accelerates the healing of soft tissue, reduces swelling, increases blood flow and relieves pain. It can be used in the form of ointments, tinctures and infusions - often in conjunction with witch hazel - as an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic agent.

Arnica is a valuable medicinal plant, but it is also slightly poisonous. It is protected, so please refrain from picking and using it yourself.

Do you know any other plants from the Alps that have healing effects? How do you integrate them into your everyday life?

Share your tips with us in the comments!

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