Good Henry

Good Henry

The Good Henry

The botanical name of what in the jargon is called the Good Henry is Chenopodium Bonus-Henricus. It is a sometimes creeping herbaceous plant that can branch out in an exemplary manner even if it reaches an average height of only 60 centimeters. The leaves of this plant are characteristic because they are wavy and have the typical shape of an arrow, so much so that they are defined sagittate or astate. It is covered with a very dense hair that gives the plant an almost grainy appearance to the touch and if you touch this plant, your fingers remain sticky for a long time. The flowers of the good Enrico are formed inside an ear and vary in color because they are sometimes red and others tend to very bright green. Flowering occurs between July and September.


How good Enrico is cultivated

The plant arises spontaneously in mountainous and submontane areas at a height of about 2000 meters and prefers those nitrogenous and well fertilized soils even if it also adapts to other types of soil. We find it very often in those mountainous areas where flocks are used to graze that leave their manure that acts as organic fertilizer and in that soil, the good Henry finds his natural habitat which would be the same as the nettle plant and it is for this reason that often the plant grows in association with the latter. The mountainous areas of Italy are full of the good Enrico that we often also find on the roadsides. The plant could also be grown in gardens or vegetable gardens if you wanted to use it for therapeutic purposes. However, we do not find these crops in our areas, because the good Enrico is a plant that has never been appreciated for its officinal virtues while it has so many.


Property of the Buon Enrico

Buon Enrico has never been a popular plant in herbal medicine but it has very powerful anti-anemic virtues and provides the body with many vitamins including iron. Its therapeutic properties are being re-evaluated after the studies of medicinal plants experts even if its use is above all for home use. Since ancient times, this plant was used to prepare compounds that soothed sores or intense burning caused by sunburn. Some recipes handed down from family to family are still used today.

The fresh leaves of Buon Enrico are used for dental accesses or for boils from which purulent substance comes out. Although little known, this plant has quite effective medicinal properties. However, it seems that it has contraindications and that the oxalic acid present in it integrates abundantly with the calcium present in the blood circulating in our body. Due to the collimation of these two elements, calcium oxalates could be formed, which are the main cause of the formation of kidney stones. It is therefore preferable not to use Buon Enrico-based compounds if you suffer from this disease. The plant is emollient, laxative and vermifuge. The seeds of the plant in infusion are given to children because it is a mild laxative and since the leaves are rich in iron, they are suitable for those with anemia. From the good Enrico an oil called "essence of chenopod" is obtained which contains betalain.


Use of Buon Enrico in the kitchen

The mountaineers prefer this plant in the kitchen where they use it to season some dishes as it gives a strong and intense flavor similar to that of spinach. Only very tender leaves and shoots are used and they are cooked in the same way as asparagus. The nutritional power of this plant is very high. In the Alpine areas it is harvested and fried in a pan or boiled and seasoned with oil and lemon. In ancient times it was considered one of those very poor dishes but today it is instead appreciated because it replaces the common spinach. The tender raw leaves can be seasoned with oil, lemon, pepper, salt and walnut kernels and thus a tasty and fresh salad is prepared, very nutritious and appetizing. The sprouts are appreciated in soups or omelettes and many local trattorias use the good Enrico as a specialty. The “Parüch con la panna nostrana” is an Alpine delicacy very well known in those areas.


- Good Henry infusion">Therapeutic preparations with the Good Henry

To prepare a Buon Enrico infusion as a remineralizer, put 5 grams of fresh or dried leaves in a cup and pour over 100 grams of water and then let it rest for a few minutes. The treatment must be done when there is a lack of iron and must be continued for three months.

To prepare a laxative, you need 1 gram of seeds in 100 grams of hot water. It is left to rest for a few minutes and then sipped before going to sleep by sweetening the drink with raw honey.

With 5 grams of leaves boiled for 10 minutes in 200 grams of water, you can make excellent compresses for hemorrhoids.

10 grams of leaves boiled in 100 grams of oil, make a compound with which to make poultices for sunburn and erythema.


-">Buon Enrico: Curiosities about Buon Enrico

It seems that Henry IV of Navarre allowed the population of his city to access the park of his garden to feed themselves with the herbs grown in this. The plant takes its name from Henry IV because his subjects wanted to dedicate this plant to him as a thank you.


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