No Stress on Cres

It’s been a while since I wrote anything about alternative medicine and since I have patients now and a little bit more cases that I can relate to, I’ll start posting articles up on how to use preventive medicine at home!

So I moved here the weekend before the 1st of July.  I was in the City of Cres and waited for my colleague to come and drop me off in Martinščica, a small outskirt camping town and docking marina on the west coast of the Island of Cres.  As we pulled into the tiny town with a little over 100 local inhabitants, I immediately fell in love with the heart-shaped bay and the collection of houses that line the coastline after the serpentine drop from the top of the hill from the main road (9 km away).

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I immediately felt relaxed and let my guard down as we sat at Sidro with my hyperactive nurse from Rijeka.  After a few dips in the sea, my colleague left and left me alone to open the small tourist clinic in the middle of Martinščica.  My nurse, full of energy, decided to clean up nature and made me clean all the pine cones, basically to make the clinic more presentable.  However, she quickly lost will and energy, leaving me to finish cleaning up the exterior and to clean up the trash that was laid around by the people who trimmed our trees.

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I also lost a lot of energy and soon began to take more and more naps outside.  The temperature got warmer and the only way I could snap out of it was to jump into the sea, which was at that time a crisp 20 C.  Bura, a cold west wind coming from the mountains, was blowing cooling down the temperatures, but still I felt like something was always dragging me down.  I slowed down on smoking, which usually gives me a bunch of energy.  Nothing was working and I became worried.

Then on one EARLY morning (thanks to mosquitoes), I woke up to a wonderful smell that filled the clinic and decided to go jogging, since the morning was cooled down by a drizzle from the night before.  I suddenly realized that it was a mixture of different aromas and narrowed it down to the aromas of pine, rosemary, lavender and immortelle. 

My sister, who is into aromatherapy for her clinics, got me interested in alternative, hippie techniques and therapies to sometimes disprove her methods, but more importantly find a reason why they seem to work.  I’ve always used lavender as a sleep aid, and during that morning jog, I realized that this entire island is full of wild lavender, rosemary, immortelle and pine!  That did not help the energy level as I took deep breaths of aromatherapy during my 3 mile run!  I eventually came back to the clinic, showered and passed out until my first patient woke me up from my aromatherapy-induced nap.

I also learned from a newly acquainted friend, who is from Martinščica, that there were cases of people with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases that have left Cres cured of their chronic pulmonary diseases.  This is my theory why.

ABOUT CRES

According to Cres-Adventure.com, Cres has the least inhabitants in the whole of the Mediterranean.  Therefore, there is a lot of preserved flora and fauna.  Since it falls on the 45th parallel, Cres has both continental and Mediterranean climates.  This mixes the local flora into both evergreens and pines to seasonal plants.

PINE

Pine is good for bronchial infections as it is both antibacterial and an antiseptic.  Making an oil out of pine and using it as aroma therapy can fight against lower respiratory infections.  Pine oil also works as an expectorant, breaking up mucus and clearing it out from your lungs.  Steam inhalations work the best to clear up the lungs, but because the Island of Cres is covered with pine and the aroma is carried through salty winds, the people living on this island is constantly breathing in aromas of pine and its beneficial properties.  Pine is also great as a muscle relaxant, which is probably the same reason why I am having troubles getting motivated to move about and jog or bike.

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IMMORTELLE

When my colleague who has a summer house on Cres said that she missed the smell of Cres, I didn’t get it at first.  Then she went to explain the smell of this yellow flower and looking into it, I found out that she was talking about immortelle.  I didn’t even realize these flowers were EVERYWHERE, but after going two steps into the nature, I found FIELDS of them!  Immortelle gets its name, because they stay the same shape when they’re dead and dried.  Oils made from this flower are rich in italidone, a ketone that help in the absorption of hematomas and has an effect on tissue regeneration.  Traditionally, immortelle is used against asthma, liver problems, migraines, psoriasis, dilated veins, etc.  As an inhalant, immortelle can also break apart mucus, reduce irritating coughs as well as having an inflammatory effect.  According to an article from Dr. Nina Bašić-Marković, the peppery smell of immortelle also invigorates the mind and reduces lethargy and depression.  Since the clinic is surrounded by a field of immortelle, I’m very unsure about that as we lose a lot of willingness to work.

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LAVENDER

Lavender can be found all over the Mediterranean and is known all over the world for its anti-mosquito properties (although it never works), it’s sleep-inducing properties and it’s amazing ability to keep moths away from clothing.  Due to high levels of camphor and esters, essential oils are not suitable to be used with small children and pregnant women.  One article mentions that lavender is great for the common cold, rhinitis, cough and sinusitis.  Its aromatic properties have the same effect as pine and immortelle, adding to the muscle soothing and pulmonary healing effects.  However lavender has a sedative effect on the heart muscle and thus is great for high blood pressure, palpitations and tachycardia!  Being an antiseptic and analgesic, lavender is an ideal choice for treating burns and reducing scarring.  Besides many other uses, the most important effect of lavender is its ability to reestablish balance to the mind and the body.

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ROSEMARY

It is believed that rosemary strengthened memory and also is the symbol of fidelity. The smoke from burnt rosemary was inhaled to protect against brain weakness and dizziness, and the herb was burned in schools and universities to inspire the pupils.  Until the twentieth century, the branches were burned with juniper in French hospitals to purify the air.  Rosemary is abundant in the Mediterranean and blooms in late winter and can be found very close to the sea.  Rosemary, like many other natural plants, is full of esters and aromatic -ols that serve as an antiseptic, astringent and antioxidant.  This plant can relieve rheumatic and muscle pain, relaxes nerves, improves digestion and appetite, and increases sweating.  Vapors from its essential oil can reduce congestion and stimulates the nervous system to increase energy.  It encourages old, dry skin to produce its own natural oils and reduces canker sores!

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MAKE YOUR OWN SCENTED OIL!

So basically, I realized that the aromatic mixture of these four plants have increase my lung capacity and I don’t feel the need to smoke.  I can breathe better, but my muscles are so relaxed that I do not feel like jump starting anything.  With this in mind, I think I found the perfect mix to have whenever you have a hard day at the office, or if you have sore back and a significant other to rub oils into your back!  I have neither.  Thus I decided to make my own Cres mixture of aroma therapy and see if I can recreate this relaxing sensation for my friends.  Looking op on Wiki How, I found a simple way to create a mixture of these four herbs and see if there is something to this alternative medicine aromatherapy doo-hickey!

Sterilize your jars and lids

1. Place them in a large pot of boiling water for around 5 minutes

2. Allow the jars and lids to cool and air dry.

Choose your herbs

1. Chop up enough of the fresh herbs to fill up the jar.

2. Fill the jar with the freshly chopped herbs, and compress them.

3. Heat about 0.250 L of light unscented oil in a small saucepan until it reaches 71.1C.

4. Use a meat or candy thermometer to obtain a precise reading.

5. Pour the hot oil over the fresh herbs in the jar.

6. Use the knife blade to move the oil and herbs around to release any air bubbles and to seal the lid.

7. Allow the jar to cool until you can handle it.

8. Use a label and marker to indicate what blend is in the jar.

9. Pick a cool, dark place to store the jar for at least 1 month.

10. The oils from the herbs will infuse with the oil in the jar to make essential oils.

11. Aromatherapy essential oils must be stored in the dark to prevent light from breaking them down.

 

SOURCES

1. Pine

2. Immortelle and Lavender

3. Rosemary

4. Oils

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