The magic 10 herbs
Yarrow was said to be able to heal kings, burnet could ward off the Plague and the glistening dew drops on the leaves of lady’s mantle were thought to possess magical powers!
Numerous positive properties are attributed to the medicinal plants used in the Ricola blend of 10 herbs. Many of these powers undoubtedly spring from popular legends and folklore. But behind the legend, there is usually a grain of truth.
Ricola combines all the goodness of 10 medicinal herbs to produce its soothing herb blend. This blend is used in all Ricola products. Find out which herbs we use in our famous blend and which active substances are contained in their leaves, stems, flowers or roots.
Focal point for village dances, citizens’ meetings or local courts: In many central European locations, until a few decades ago community life still revolved around the village linden tree, some of which are up to a 1000 years old. Yellowish-white linden flowers can be used to make tea to treat complaints of the respiratory tract. They contain mucilage that is soothing for coughs and sore throats. Linden flower tea also promotes perspiration and is a good home remedy to treat fevers and influenza.
Linden flowers grow here…
Linden flowers are lime tree blossoms growing up to 40 meters in height. Commonly found throughout central Europe and North America, the tree grows at up to 1,000 meters altitude and flowers in June and July. Linden flowers and leaves are collected during this season.
Linden flowers are effective because of …
… the natural colorings in the flowers, essential oils, mucilage, saponins and glycosides.
Wild thyme is a ground-loving plant, growing to a height of only 30 centimeters - but plenty of tall tales surround it! From the Romans to the Germanic tribes in the European Middle Ages, wild thyme was used for its healing powers to treat illnesses of the respiratory tract and “women’s complaints”. The Roman natural historian and researcher Pliny the Younger wrote for instance that around 200 BC the plant was already an ingredient of the famous “theriac” concoction to treat all types of poisons.
Wild thyme is a sun-loving plant and can grow on soils low in nutrients as well as waysides and dry grassland in central and northern Europe.
Wild thyme grows here…
… its antimicrobial terpenes carvacrol and thymol, lemon grass oil, natural colorings in the flowers, bitter substances and tannins.
Wild thyme is effective because of …
One could almost consider hyssop a “sacred” plant – so frequently is it mentioned in the Bible’s Old and New Testaments. The related words ésóv (Hebrew) or azzol (Arabic) mean “sacred weed”. It says in Leviticus 14:49, “To purify the house [the priest] is to take two birds and some cedar wood, scarlet yarn and hyssop.” Hyssop is slightly bitter tasting with a minty flavor. Like rosemary, sage, lavender and thyme, hyssop belongs to the family of labiate plants.
Traditional folk remedies use hyssop to treat colds, coughs, hoarseness or influenza.
Hyssop grows to a height of 60 cm and flowers from July to October, especially in southern and Eastern Europe, but also in parts of southern Switzerland (in Ticino and Valais). Preferred habitats are dry mountainous cliffs and slopes and alkaline soil.
Hyssop grows here…
Hyssop is effective because of …
its tannins, flavonoid glycosides and the bitter marrubiin.
The leaf shape and white flowers of horehound are often mistaken for white deadnettle. But it is worth taking a closer look at the many properties of this herb.
Swiss botanist Paracelsus, Bavarian herbalist Sebastian Kneipp and Herbalist priest Künzle valued horehound for its properties in healing complaints of the spleen and liver as well as lung conditions such as asthma and bronchitis. Horehound invigorates the gastrointestinal tract, stimulates the appetite and promotes the secretion of bile as well as loosening bronchial catarrh.
Horehound grows here
Horehound traditionally grows in southern Europe. North of the Alps, horehound is cultivated in gardens and grows wild on wasteland, scree and rocky soil. In Switzerland, it grows especially in the Valais.
Horehound is effective…
... for its essential oil as well as tannins and bitter constituents produced from the dried, flowering herb.
Marshmallows usually conjure up an image of white, cottonwool-like and absolutely delicious sweets. But marshmallow is also a herb – simply a member of the mallow family. In fact, it was the French and not the Americans who previously used this herb to make marshmallows. The sticky extract of Marshmallow root was beaten with egg white and sugar to produce the “pâte de guimauve”, which was the forerunner of Marshmallows!
When food was scarce, people used to cook and fry the white, turnip-like roots. Marshmallow also has a reputation as a medicinal plant: Althaea officinalis is derived from the Greek altho meaning to heal. Mucilage from the Marshmallow root coats irritated mucous membranes with a protective layer. The effect is especially soothing for tickly coughs.
Marshmallow grows here
Marshmallow originally grew in salty soil in Eastern Europe, though now it thrives in central Europe. Marshmallow is also cultivated as a medicinal plant in Swiss gardens.
Marshmallow is effective …
... due to the mucilage, sugar and mineral salts contained in its roots.
Beware of cutting back, uprooting or burning an elder bush without good reason. Why? So you do not release the evil spirits which are being warded off by the elder plant. A popular belief was once that elder gave protection against all bad omens. There are many stories about the elder plant. According to a Christian legend, the Virgin Mary rested beneath an elder bush when escaping from King Herod into Egypt. A pagan myth is that the elder is sacred to the Goddess Holle – the protector of animals and plants. Germanic tribes therefore made sacrifices beneath an elder tree.
For centuries, elder – and chamomile – were seen as excellent herb remedies. Elder boosts the immune system and can prevent colds. The herb encourages perspiration and counteracts feverish colds or flu.
Elder grows here
Elder is commonly found throughout Europe up to altitudes of approx. 1,500 m. The plant prefers damp and shady spots.
Elder is effective ...
... for its essential oil, mucilage and flavanoid glycosides in the blossom.
5,000 years ago the Chinese were already using mallow to prepare a reddish, sweet-tasting tea. Could they have known even then that a daily dose of mallow tea prevents thickening of the arteries and can prevent heart attacks?
Mallow is derived from the Greek malakos meaning soft or soothing. The etymology refers to the plant’s soothing and protective properties. Even Greek and Roman physicians used mallow for internal and external use. The Romans called the herb “omnimorbium” – a remedy for all ailments. During the Middle Ages, mallow was a widely used herb remedy. Mallow counteracts inflammations and is soothing for colds and diseases of the respiratory tract. This herb also gives relief for gastrointestinal complaints and acts as a disinfectant for the mouth.
Mallow grows here
Mallow is very undemanding and grows in Europe on sunny slopes up to altitudes of 1,500 m.
Mallow is effective …
... due to its substances containing mucilage, glycoside and the tannin in the leaves and flowers.
A love-struck God of the Underworld, his spouse and a girl torn to pieces were, according to Greek mythology, involved in the creation of mint. Minthe was the daughter of the river God, Kokytos. Hades, the God of the Underworld, fell in love with her. But his wife, Persephone, was so angered by this that she tore Minthe to pieces. Hades took the pieces and scattered them on a mountain: The plant mint was formed.
Peppermint, in its current form, has only existed since about 1700. The plant was a cross of wild varieties and is a very versatile medicinal herb. Thanks to its menthol content, peppermint is cooling and acts as a disinfectant. It gives soothing relief for colds, catarrh and hoarseness, and can be applied externally. The herb can also counteract cramps of the gastrointestinal tract. This fresh tasting and smelling herb is also used in the production of cosmetics and perfume.
Peppermint grows here
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a cross of different wild mints and is therefore not found in nature. Various mint varieties are therefore cultivated.
Peppermint is effective ...
... for its essential oil with menthol, tannins and bitter constituents, polyphenols and flavanoids.
Sage is derived from the Latin salvia or salvare meaning to heal. People’s trust in sage’s medicinal powers was so great that in 1630, during the Plague epidemic in Toulouse, thieves rubbed themselves with sage and other herbs dissolved in vinegar to steal from deceased victims without fear of infection. When the thieves were caught, their lives were spared on condition that they told their secret.
In antiquity, sage was well known in southern Europe. Monks brought the plant across the Alps during the Middle Ages. Sage is effective against catarrh of the upper respiratory tracts and counteracts perspiration during the night. Sage is often used as a gargle to heal inflammations of the mouth and throat because of its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.
Sage grows here
Sage grows in southern Europe on sunny mountain slopes, preferably on alkaline soil.
Sage is effective ...
... for its essential oils, tannins and bitter constituents, flavanoids as well as rosemary acid.
Thyme is revitalizing and boosts your stamina. At least, this is implied by the Greek name thymos meaning courage or vitality. Why not try it? Maybe a cup of thyme tea or using thyme to season your food will revive you?
Thyme is also a powerful medicinal plant and was highly valued by the Greeks, Egyptians and Etruscans who cultivated the plant for its versatile properties. Monks brought the plant across the Alps during the Middle Ages. Thyme is an anti-inflammatory, acts as a disinfectant and also gives relief from irritable coughs. Thyme is also said to have a soothing effect on the nerves and to provide relief from cramps or pain during the menstrual cycle.
Thyme grows here
Thyme prefers a dry, Mediterranean climate. In Switzerland, Thyme flourishes on the southern mountain slopes in the Valais.
Thyme is effective ...
... for its essential oil with Thymol, bitter constituents as well as some tannins in the flowering stems.