Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Агроуниверс 2006" - представяне от проф. д-р с.н. Иван Михов - Председател на УС

"Агроуниверс 2006" е регионално неправителствено сдружение , действащо на територията на Югоизточния район за планиране. Седалището на сдружението е в Бургас, в сградата на Бургаската търговско-промишлена палата на бул. Демокрация, бл. 117. Сдружението има три поделения в административните области Сливен, Ямбол и Бургас и се управлява от Управителен съвет. Сдружение "Агроуниверс 2006" е приело функциите на регионален информационно-консултативен, иновационен и образователен център по земеделие, агробизнес и устойчиво развитие на селските райони.
Мотото на Сдружението, ориентирано към своите потенциални партньори е :
" Ние знаем как да ви помогнем да успеете във вашия агро-бизнес и знаем как да го направим , защото притежаваме :
  • висок професионализъм на нашите членове - 67 ерудиране професори, доценти, научни работници и висококвалифицирани специалисти и икипите на 19 колективни членове на Сдружението
  • иформации за най-доброто в земеделската наука, практика и агро-бизнеса, както в България така и в страните от ЕС, Русия и САЩ
  • капацитет и умения в разработката на проекти по програмите на Европейския съюз, ориентирани към повишаване на конкурентната способност, регионалното и социално развитие на селските райони, инфраструктурата и трансграничното сътрудничество
  • възможности за повишаване на квалификацията и различин форми на обучения в сферата на аграрния бизнес, устойчивото развитие, иновационните технологи и интернет пространството
  • условия за предоставяне на широк кръг безплатни консултантски услуги

Monday, November 5, 2007

The basics of Essential Oils therapy

Aromatherapy And Essential Oils - The Basics

by: Donovan Baldwin

Aromatherapy is the use of oils extracted from various, primarily fragrant, plants to aid in the relief of a range of physical or mental discomforts or illnesses. These oils, commonly referred to as essential oils are also used to enhance or encourage positive responses in the user. These oils may be used by direct application or by inhaling the aromas, hence the name aromatherapy. The inhaled aromas can be dispersed by candles prepared with the essential oils, by applying the oil to some object, such as a handkerchief or pillowcase, by spraying a mix of the essential oil and water into the air, or by means of a diffuser. A diffuser is a device generally available from essential oil providers which uses heat to disperse molecules of the chosen essential oil into the air.

Although long used in other parts of the world, such as the East and Middle East, aromatherapy is essentially new to Europe and the United States. In the last few years, in addition to an increase in the numbers of aromatherapy practitioners, a broad interest and corresponding retail market in aromatherapy, essential oils, and related items such as candles, perfumes, and diffusers has sprung up. It is now very easy for someone knowing little or nothing about aromatherapy to buy the necessary supplies and reap the benefits of aromatherapy.

EFFECTS OF ESSENTIAL OILS AND AROMATHERAPY

There are several essential oils, some having effectiveness in more than one situation. The list is not complicated, but is too long to go into in this article. You may wish to visit http://eherbsstore.com/aromatherapy/ to view a short list of some of the more common oils and their uses.

Overall, the effects may be divided into two basic groups. Some essential oils have actual physical effects. For example, eucalyptus oil can be inhaled to help clear sinuses and the respiratory tract. This would obviously relieve some symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (URI). Some oils may be used topically (directly on the skin, where they would usually be absorbed by the body, or on a wound) to possibly relieve swelling or fight certain infections.

Secondly, aromatherapy, usually thru the inhaling of the molecules of the essential oil, can affect moods and emotions. Since feelings and emotions are more and more appearing to be hard-wired to the health of the body, it is beginning to become apparent that improvements in such areas as moods can affect the actual health condition of the body in addition to simply making the individual feel happier, or more energetic, or more alert. Studies have shown, for example, that the status of someones emotional state can affect the ability of their immune system to fight off infection.

ESSENTIAL OILS IN OTHER PRODUCTS

Essential oils can be used in other products such as perfumes, lotions, cleansers and other cosmetics and personal care items. Essential oils are even used in such common items as household cleaners and toothpaste. Many people even use essential oils with other elements to create their own products. One company even offers a Health, Home and Beauty Kit so that those interested in aromatherapy can use essential oils to ...create hundreds of blends for everything from women�s concerns to cleaning your bathroom tiles.

SCIENTIFIC STUDY TENDS TO SUPPORT AROMATHERAPY

Being an alternative form of healthcare, aromatherapy was, until recently, looked down on by the traditional medical community. However, with the increasing tide of evidence of the importance of the mind-body connection in health, and with an increasing volume of empirical and anecdotal evidence, the scientific community has begun to accept aromatherapy and the affect of essential oils on health...at least to some extent.

In the last few years, researchers at the Kurume University School of Medicine in Japan, the University of Miami School of Medicine, the University of Alaska, and the University of Pittsburgh, to name a few, have shown positive results in subjects through the use of aromatherapy. Subjects have experienced improved mental and physical functions after the use of essential oils. Subjective measurements have indicated positive experiences in participants, while objective measurements, such as electroencephalograms (EEG) have borne out these results as well.

Participants have used essential oils to improve their immune systems, improve athletic ability, increase alertness, ease depression, be more effective students, and to quit smoking.

PRECAUTIONS BEFORE USING ESSENTIAL OILS

While essential oils are natural products and may be inhaled directly with no harm, you should always be careful to merely inhale the aroma rising from the container, much as you would inhale the scent of a cologne or perfume. Do not place essential oils directly into nasal passages. Using a diffuser, candle, or item with the oil on it to release the molecules are the most common ways of experiencing the actual aroma.

Essential oils are stronger than what would be experienced when sniffing a rose, for example, so it is best to ease into their use. Essential oils usually come in small vials or bottles and are used a drop or two at a time. Products from various suppliers may have different concentrations, so the product from A may only need a drop while that from B needs two drops.

Take time off. Prolonged contact with the oils can result in allergic reactions in some cases or even mild toxic reactions. Always follow your distributors recommendations and make sure you have a distributor who can and will give warnings and recommendations.

If using a product claiming to be an aromatherapy product by virtue of its ingredients, always check to make sure that it is actually using essential oils. While the smell which reminds us of the fragrant flower or plant it copies might produce positive feelings in most of us, the genuine essential oil itself will be more effective.

Unless you are under the guidance of a skilled, experienced aromatherapist, you should never ingest essential oils. Children and pregnant women should never ingest essential oils.

Lastly, while essential oils used in topical applications or inhaled during aromatherapy can certainly produce beneficial results, they should never be used in place of professional medical treatment.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Promoting Sustainable Rural Development

Numerous articles and news items released during the last months confirm that organic farming and food in Bulgaria is increasingly gaining public attention in the country and abroad.

Organic agriculture was introduced to Bulgaria in 1990, when agricultural land was put into small plots and distributed among the population after the fall of the communism. The EU as well as the government of Bulgaria encourage the transition to organic farming and subsidise organic farmers and food producers. Precisely it is since 2006, when SAPARD (Special Accession Programme for Agriculture and Rural Development) got introduced in Bulgaria in preparation of accession of the country to the European Union, that farmers receive financial support during the three-year conversion period to organic farming.

Most organic farms in Bulgaria are very small and run less than one hectare. Some cooperatives have succeeded in bundling the activities of these small holders or wild collectors in order to make available quantities relevant for export. Only few farms are large enough to provide these quantities directly. They often rely on investments from and supply contracts with foreign companies. On one hand, this hinders the establishment of local processing capacities, on the other hand it helps surviving the difficult conversion period. In 2005, about 0.3 per cent of agricultural land was farmed organically.

Currently, 90 per cent of all Bulgarian organic food is exported to wealthier members of the EU. The country’s crops include fruits (apples, peaches, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, and grapes for wine-making), nuts (walnuts and almonds), herbs and spices (dill, peppermint, lavender and many others) as well as essential oils, tobacco, and vegetables. Cows, sheep and goats are kept for the production of milk, yoghurt and cheese. Lamb and calf meat is available as well as organic jam and honey. In addition, large areas of wild land have been certified as organic to collect wild fruits, herbs and mushrooms. It is assumed that currently about 60 per cent of raw materials come from wild collection.

Organic rose oil, tobacco, wine and fruit growing are assumed to be of the highest potential for the country. Organic aquaculture seems also promising due to favourable natural conditions. In 2004, four farms produced organic propagation material and seeds (strawberries, lavender, roses, and dill). Only five farms kept livestock according to organic guidelines, compared to 77 organic plant production holdings and 12 green house facilities. The “National Plan for Development of Organic Farming” reports that the beekeepers produced close to 1000 tons honey in the same year – which seems a lot, considering that they kept 23 500 bee colonies only.

According to the Ministry of Agriculture, nine manufacturers are currently certified organic and provide dried and frozen herbs, spices, seeds, (wild) fruits, vegetables, honey and rose oil. Examples for processing companies which maintain an internet website are:

· IRA-EKO Ltd. (www.ira-eko.com), dried herbs, spices, seeds, and roots

· Biostart Ltd. (http://biostart.cbivel.org/html/hist.htm), herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables

· Ecomaat Ltd. (http://www.ecomaat.com/), essential oil and cosmetics

· Cooperative Bio-Bulgaria (http://www.biobulgaria.hit.bg/), essential oils, herbs and fruits, dairy products, meat, and honey

· Balkan Bioherb (http://www.euroherb.nl/uk/BULGARIA.asp), herbs and spices – in cooperation with the Dutch company Euroherb

Two milk producers and one processors recently launched the organic yoghurt brand “Bio Kiselo Mlyako” (the dairy was formerly known as “Rima”) which since has attracted much media and consumer interest. The project was initiated by the largest certified organic dairy farm in Bulgaria near Troyan, keeping around 50 cows - with plans of expansion. (http://www.bio.bg/english)

The project has been promoted since its beginnings by Magdalena “Magi” Maleeva, Bulgaria’s international tennis champion. Ms. Maleeva spent several years in Switzerland were she became interested in organic products. On her website www.gorichka.bg she aims to inform her fellow citizens on organic production and environmentally sustainable practices in a fresh and funny way.

In the meat sector, “Tandem”, a local producer of meat products, has announced plans last year to invest EUR 2 million within the next two years in an organic animal breeding programme. Tandem is one of few Bulgarian meat manufacturers which only process locally farmed beef and pork, despite the fact that beef from Argentina and Brazil and pork from Western Europe is available to lower prices than meat of Bulgarian origin. Although Tandem has already adopted the EU standards necessary for export, production is primarily intended for the domestic market.

However, awareness for and availability of organic foods within Bulgaria is still limited. Nevertheless, there is reason for optimism: some supermarkets have started to sell a small range of organic products, mostly imports. Furthermore, the first organic box scheme “Gaia” (home delivery service for organic vegetables) was launched in August 2006. (http://gaiaorganic.com)

Most data are based on the annual reports of the two national certification bodies, SGS Bulgaria Ltd. (www.sgs.bg) and Balkan Biocert Ltd. (www.balkanbiocert.com), although several foreign control bodies have also been active within Bulgaria. Balkan Biocert is being established in cooperation with the Swiss Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL), the Swiss Institute for Market Ecology (IMO) and the Foundation for Organic Agriculture “Bioselena” in Bulgaria (www.bioselena.com). In 2005, Balkan Biocert already opened its first branch in neighbouring Macedonia where organic farmers, processors and traders also need accredited certification services to be able to export their produce.

Besides Bioselena, the association “Agrolink” is lobbying for the interest of organic farming and sustainable rural development in Bulgaria (www.agrolink.org). Agrolink also publishes the organic magazine “Zhiva Zernia” (Living Earth) and maintains an organic demonstration farm where consumers can directly get involved with the production of organic food. The chairperson, Dr. Svetla Nikolova, represents her country at the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM). In addition, the Organic Farmers’ Association Agrolink (OFA Agrolink) was founded in 2004 as a second, independent organisation. The cooperative “Bio-Bulgaria” is another organic farmers’ initiative already founded in 1999, which is linked to “Bioselena”.

Another project which has helped to spread and promote organic agriculture methods in Bulgaria is the “Bulgarian Herbs Network” which was created within the framework of the JOBS scheme. “Job Opportunities through Business Support” is implemented by the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Policy with the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The mission is to support the growth of competitive businesses by providing professional and innovative assistance to micro and small entrepreneurs. Herbs and organic agriculture form part of the priority areas.
(www.jobs-bg.org/herbs.htm)

The continuous effort of these and many other organisations eventually resulted in considerable political support. A working group formed, together with representatives from all relevant ministries and under the guidance of the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), to develop an Organic Farming Action Plan. The process was co-financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and MAF, and backed by the larger project “Capacity Building for Sustainable Land Management in Bulgaria” SLM (http://www.unccd-slm.org/), a joint initiative of the Bulgarian government and the UNDP.

The “National Plan for Development of Organic Farming in Bulgaria 2006-2013” provides a comprehensive overview of the current situation and of future opportunities and challenges for organic farming in the country. It is available for download in Bulgarian language from the Bioselena-Website and as hard copy in English language from the SML Project Office (slm@moew.government.bg).

In the future, foreign control bodies will have to apply for permission to the MAF if they want to become active in Bulgaria. In addition, a Bulgarian organic logo is going to be developed by the MAF. The ministry also announced to support organic farming and food processing with around EUR 12.6 million in 2007 in order to boost the domestic market and gain market shares on the European market. 75 per cent of this investment is to be financed by the European Union (SARPAD), the remainder by the Bulgarian government. It is expected that within 5 years 1000-1500 crop producers with an average farm size of 5 hectares will be supported. There are, however, no plans to also directly support animal farming. Till 2013, 8 % of agricultural land in Bulgaria shall be farmed organically and 3 % of the food products sold there shall be organic according the strategic goals of the National Plan. In addition, legislation, education and research, and certification in the field of organic farming shall be improved within the next years. The Bulgarian law on genetically modified organisms (GMO) is already highly restrictive which favours organic farming and prevents conflicts between organic and non-organic farmers.


Katharina Reuter (PhD thesis)

Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Why buy Essential oils from Bulgaria

Essential Oils straight from the core of the Balkans – Bulgaria

Essential oils marketed by Elboma Ltd. are 100 % natural and contain the true essence of the plant it was derived from. Our Essential oils are distilled from leaves, flowers and roots of plants. Bulgaria has been renowned for the high quality and range of its spices and medical plants. In more recent times spices, medical and aromatic plants have been the source of a number of unique Essential Oils.

Essential oils are not the same as fragrance or perfume oils

Essential oils are derived from true plants, whilst perfume and fragrance oils are artificially created or contain artificial substances. They do not offer the therapeutic benefits of Natural Essential oils.

Uses of Essential oils

Essential oils can be fun and offer therapeutically benefits to your lifestyle. Discover the secrets of the ancient art of aroma therapy , first used many thousand of years ago. See how nature can help you improve you and your immotional well-being. Time and again modern science is turning back to this age old knowledge for answers.

Handy hints on the use of Essential oils :

Massage

For a massage place a table spoon of oil into a saucer and add two or three drops of the Essential oil

Vaporising

Fill the top of the vaporiser with a few table spoons of warm water and add a few drops of your chosen Essential oils.

Baths

Run a a warm bath and add four to six drops al the Essential oil under the running tap. Lie back and soak in the goodness for at least ten minutes.

Steam inhalation

Boil two cups of water and pour the water into a bowl. Add 3 - 5 drops of a proper Essential oil. Place a towel over your head and the bowl and inhale the vapor for a few minutes. Steam inhalation can help you with colds and influenza.

Easy inhalation

Place 2 - 3 drops of Essential oil on a tissue. Place the tissue near your nose and inhale. Initially ensure that you don't have a reaction to the Essential oil.

Insect repellent

Some Essential oils are an excellent repellent against insects. Sprinkle a few drops onto cotton balls or tissue and place them suitably.

Room freshening

Make up a pot with petals and leaves and add a few drops of Essential oil. Make a room freshener by adding a few drops of Essential oil to the water in an Atomiser.

Storage of Essential oils

All our Essential oils are sold in 2,5 Kgs metal bottles to keep sunlight away and avoid deterioration. This will protect the aromatic and therapeutic properties of the Essential oils.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Organic Farming Can Feed the World

National Gardening Association

http://www.garden.org/regional/report/national/2505

National News: July 19, 2007

From NGA Editors
Organic Farming Can Feed the World

One widely held criticism about large-scale organic farming is that if all farmers grew crops organically they could not produce enough food to feed the world. Researchers at the University of Michigan set out to see if this belief is actually true. Researchers compared yields of organic versus nonorganic production from a global database of 293 farms and estimated the average yield ratio (organic:nonorganic) of different food categories grown in the developed and the developing world. For most food categories, organic production yields were projected slightly lower than nonorganic yields in the developed world, but up to three times higher in the developing world. Models predict organic agriculture can produce enough food on a global per capita basis to sustain the current population and even a slightly larger one, without increasing the amount of land farmed.

The study also calculated the amount of nitrogen fertilizer that cover crops could supply compared to synthetic fertilizers. Researchers found leguminous cover crops could fix enough nitrogen to replace the amount of synthetic fertilizer currently in use. Not only can organic agriculture produce enough fertilizer and yields to feed people, the benefits of this farming system include less soil erosion, less habitat disruption, less groundwater pollution, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

If it's organic, EU labels will tell it like it is

LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) - EU ministers ended 18 months of squabbling on Tuesday over new rules for organic farming and came up with a labeling system that will tell consumers exactly what they are buying on the supermarket shelves.
ADVERTISEMENT

Farmers who sell produce containing at least 95 percent organic ingredients will use a special EU logo, along with a label to indicate the product's origin. Below that, there will be labeling of the organic ingredients present.

"This is an excellent agreement which will help consumers to recognize organic products throughout the EU more easily and give them assurances of precisely what they are buying," EU Agriculture Commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said.

The labels can be accompanied by national and private logos, at the discretion of individual EU countries. Mass catering operations are excluded from the new rules although countries can choose to apply national rules if they wish.

Now, EU organic farmers have difficulty selling organic food in different EU countries as there is a patchwork of national and private logos that can be costly and complicated to obtain.

At present, the EU has two labeling categories: a "gold standard" where organic ingredients comprise at least 95 percent of the final product, and "emphasized labeling" where there is at least 70 percent organic material.

Although Europe saw its organic farming area jump nearly 70 percent in the late 1990s, growth has now slowed in several countries where it has reached a plateau.

In the 25 EU states, before the accession of Bulgaria and Romania, the amount of organic farmland stood at around 6.1 million hectares, or some 3.9 percent of total farm land.

But the average market share for organic products in the EU remains small at around two percent, with some exceptions such as vegetables at between five and 10 percent.

BIOTECH IN ORGANIC FOOD?

The main problem for many EU governments, and Europe's organic movement, was the issue of genetically modified (GMO) food -- specifically, the issue of setting an acceptable degree for the unavoidable presence of GMO material in organic farming.

The new law says products containing approved GMO material may not be labeled as organic, except those with up to 0.9 percent content of GMOs that are already authorized in the EU, via accidental or unavoidable contamination.

This is in line with current EU rules on biotech food and feed thresholds. It remains illegal to use GMOs in organic farming knowingly.

Fischer Boel has often said it would be too costly for farmers to achieve higher purity in their organic produce.

"We needed to clarify the rules on GMOs, to say they are not allowed in organic production. Before the agreement today, there were no limits. Everyone should know that we have tightened the rules," she told a news conference.

"It can be very tempting to say 'zero tolerance' but that wouldn't work in real life. To avoid accidental contamination it would be so expensive to produce organic products that it would damage the market completely. It would simply kill the sector."

Not all countries were impressed with the GMO provision.

"It is clear that this (GMO threshold) is not a license to contaminate. Any contamination would have to be involuntary and unavoidable," Austrian Agriculture Minister Josef Proell said.

"We cannot simply go on raising the threshold and pretend we are still on a path to organic farming," he told Reuters.

Environmental groups have been outraged by the idea, with one attacking it as the "thin end of a wedge which will allow the creeping contamination of organic food across Europe" and calling for cross-border EU laws to protect organic farmers.

"Now the EU has declared traces of genetic contamination in organic crops acceptable, organic farmers will find it increasingly difficult to keep their crops GM-free," said Helen Holder, GMO campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Transition to Organic Farming

Organic farming is more than just farming without chemicals. It involves changes to many parts of the crop and livestock production system. It involves enhanced use of integrated pest, weed and nutrient management techniques. Crop rotations, cover crops, improved genetics, optimum populations, stress management and sanitation are all examples of this. These preventative measures to enhance plant and herd health are essential since many of the chemical tools for pest and disease control are not used in organic production. Organic farmers chose not to use synthetic pesticides, fertilizers and antibiotics.

Producers should consider their transition to organic carefully and plan their options. Making the transition too quickly can create financial hardship. During the first years of the transition there are few premiums for transitional organic product and yields will be decreased initially, and then with good management will improve to profitable levels. Profits in organic may also depend on the availability of market premiums.

The transition to organic will take several years depending on commodity and on your approach to make various challenges. The requirements for organic certification must also be considered throughout the process of transition.

One should also evaluate their reasons for making changes. What are your goals - hobby or a profitable business? There are many assets that you will require to become a successful organic farmer. Here are a few.

Friday, February 23, 2007

What is transition to organic farming?

Transition is the process of converting a non-organic farm to a certified organic farm, one which will meet the organic standards set out by the industry. Organic farmers manage their farm as a complex system where every part of the farm interrelates with every other part.

The term transition has two facets:

* transition as a process from one farming system to another;
* transition to meet organic standards set out by the industry, as verified by a third party.

Goals of transition

To build healthy, fertile soil

To manage weeds, pests and diseases within tolerable levels, without the use of chemicals

To establish all aspects of organic farm management as required by organic standards, including record-keeping and certification

To prepare for marketing certified organic products

To maintain a viable level of income

Changing to an organic farming system requires you to make some major shifts. The two key ones are a shift in thinking, and a shift in management – apply new knowledge and concepts to work in harmony with nature. The key tools of organic farming are weed and pest management, crop rotations and green manures and composting .

"The most important aspect is the transition of the mind. If you're not with it mentally, it's not going to work.” – Ken Marisett, ON

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Garden Lovage (Levisticum officinale KOCH.)

Botanical: Levisticum officinale (KOCH.)

Family: N.O. Umbelliferae


Synonyms:
Ligusticum Levisticum (Linn.). Old English Lovage. Italian Lovage. Cornish Lovage.

Parts used:
Root, leaves, seeds, young stems.

Habitat:
It is not considered to be indigenous to Great Britain, and when occasionally found growing apparently wild, it is probably a garden escape. It is a native of the Mediterranean region, growing wild in the mountainous districts of the south of France, in northern Greece and in the Balkans.

The Garden Lovage is one of the old English herbs that was formerly very generally cultivated, and is still occasionally cultivated as a sweet herb, and for the use in herbal medicine of its root, and to a less degree, the leaves and seeds.

It is a true perennial and hence is very easy to keep in garden cultivation; it can be propagated by offsets like Rhubarb, and it is very hardy. Its old-time repute has suffered by the substitution of the medicinally more powerful Milfoil and Tansy, just as was the case when 'Elecampane' superseded Angelica in medical use. The public-house cordial named 'Lovage,' formerly much in vogue, however, owed such virtue as it may have possessed to Tansy. Freshly-gathered leafstalks of Lovage (for flavouring purposes) should be employed in long split lengths.

Description
This stout, umbelliferous plant has been thought to resemble to some degree our Garden Angelica, and it does very closely resemble the Spanish Angelica heterocarpa in foliage and perennial habit of growth. It has a thick and fleshy root, 5 or 6 inches long, shaped like a carrot, of a greyish-brown colour on the outside and whitish within. It has a strong aromatic smell and taste. The thick, erect hollow and channelled stems grow 3 or 4 feet or even more in height. The large, dark green radical leaves, on erect stalks, are divided into narrow wedge-like segments, and are not unlike those of a coarse-growing celery; their surface is shining, and when bruised they give out an aromatic odour, somewhat reminiscent both of Angelica and Celery. The stems divide towards the top to form opposite whorled branches, which in June and July bear umbels of yellow flowers, similar to those of Fennel or Parsnip, followed by small, extremely aromatic fruits, yellowish-brown in colour, elliptical in shape and curved, with three prominent winged ribs. The odour of the whole plant is very strong. Its taste is warm and aromatic, and it abounds with a yellowish, gummy, resinous juice.

It is sometimes grown in gardens for its ornamental foliage, as well as for its pleasant odour, but it is not a striking enough plant to have claimed the attention of poets and painters, and no myths or legends are connected with it. The name of the genus, Ligusticum, is said to be derived from Liguria, where this species abounds.


Cultivation
Lovage is of easy culture. Propagation is by division of roots or by seeds. Rich moist, but well-drained soil is required and a sunny situation. In late summer, when the seed ripens, it should be sown and the seedlings transplanted, either in the autumn or as early in spring as possible, to their permanent quarters, setting 12 inches apart each way. The seeds may also be sown in spring, but it is preferable to sow when just ripe. Root division is performed in early spring.

The plants should last for several years, if the ground be kept well cultivated, and where the seeds are permitted to scatter the plants will come up without care.


Constituents
Lovage contains a volatile oil, angelic acid, a bitter extractive, resins, etc. The colouring principle has been isolated by M. Niklis, who gives it the name of Ligulin, and suggests an important application of it that may be made in testing drinking water. If a drop of its alcoholic or aqueous solution is allowed to fall into distilled water, it imparts to the liquid its own fine crimson-red colour, which undergoes no change; but if limestone water be substituted, the red colour disappears in a few seconds and is followed by a beautiful blue, due to the alkalinity of the latter.


Medicinal Action and Uses
Formerly Lovage was used for a variety of culinary purposes, but now its use is restricted almost wholly to confectionery, the young stems being treated like those of Angelica, to which, however, it is inferior, as its stems are not so stout nor so succulent.

The leafstalks and stem bases were formerly blanched like celery, but as a vegetable it has fallen into disuse.

A herbal tea is made of the leaves, when previously dried, the decoction having a very agreeable odour.

Lovage was much used as a drug plant in the fourteenth century, its medicinal reputation probably being greatly founded on its pleasing aromatic odour. It was never an official remedy, nor were any extravagant claims made, as with Angelica, for its efficacy in numberless complaints.

The roots and fruit are aromatic and stimulant, and have diuretic and carminative action. In herbal medicine they are used in disorders of the stomach and feverish attacks, especially for cases of colic and flatulence in children, its qualities being similar to those of Angelica in expelling flatulence, exciting perspiration and opening obstructions. The leaves eaten as salad, or infused dry as a tea, used to be accounted a good emmenagogue.

An infusion of the root was recommended by old writers for gravel, jaundice and urinary troubles, and the cordial, sudorific nature of the roots and seeds caused their use to be extolled in 'pestilential disorders.' In the opinion of Culpepper, the working of the seeds was more powerful than that of the root; he tells us that an infusion 'being dropped into the eyes taketh away their redness or dimness.... It is highly recommended to drink the decoction of the herb for agues.... The distilled water is good for quinsy if the mouth and throat be gargled and washed therewith.... The decoction drunk three or four times a day is effectual in pleurisy.... The leaves bruised and fried with a little hog's lard and laid hot to any blotch or boil will quickly break it.'

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Garden Angelica

Garden Angelica
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Scientific classification

Kingdom: Plantae

Division: Magnoliophyta

Class: Magnoliopsida

Order: Apiales

Family: Apiaceae

Genus: Angelica

Species: A. Archangelica

Binomial name:Angelica archangelica L.

Garden Angelica (Angelica archangelica) is a biennial plant from the umbelliferous family Apiaceae. Alternative English names are Holy Ghost, Wild Parsnip, Wild Celery, and Norwegian angelica
During its first year it only grows leaves, but during its second year its fluted stem can reach a height of two metres. Its leaves are composed of numerous small leaflets, divided into three principal groups, each of which is again subdivided into three lesser groups. The edges of the leaflets are finely toothed or serrated. The flowers, which blossom in July, are small and numerous, yellowish or greenish in colour, are grouped into large, globular umbels, which bear pale yellow, oblong fruits. Angelica only grows in damp soil, preferably near rivers or deposits of water.
Angelica archangelica grows wild in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Iceland, mostly in the northern parts of the countries. It is cultivated in France, mainly in the Marais Poitevin, a marsh region close to Niort in the départment Deux-Sèvres.

Usage/History

From the 10th century on, angelica was cultivated as a vegetable and medicinal plant, and achieved great popularity in Scandinavia in the 12th century and is still used today, especially in Samic culture. A flute-like instrument with a clarinet-like sound can be made of its hollow stem, probably as a toy for children. Linnaeus reported that Samic peoples used it in reindeer milk. Other usages include spices.
In 1602, angelica was introduced in Niort, which had just been ravaged by the plague, and it has been popular there ever since. It is used to flavour liqueurs or aquavits (e.g. Chartreuse, Benedictine, Vermouth and Dubonnet), omelettes and trout, and as jam. The long bright green stems are also candied and used as decoration.
Angelica contains a variety of chemicals which have been shown to have medicinal properties. Chewing on angelica or drinking tea brewed from it will cause local anesthesia, but it will heighten the consumer's immune system. It has been shown to be effective against various bacteria, fungal infections and even viral infections.
The essential oil of the roots of 'Angelica archangelica contains β-terebangelene, C10H16, and other terpenes; the oil of the seeds also contains β-terebangelene, together with methylethylacetic acid and hydroxymyristic acid.
Angleica seeds and angelica roots are commonly used in making absinthe.

Etymology

Archangelica comes from the Greek word "arkhangelos" (=arch-angel), due to the myth that it was the angel Gabriel who told of its use as medicine.
In Finnish it is called väinönputki, in Sami fádnu, boska and rássi, in English garden angelica, in German arznei-engelwurz, in Dutch grote engelwortel, in Swedish kvanne, in Norwegian kvann and in Icelandic it has the name hvönn.

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Angelica archangelica
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garden_Angelica"
Categories: Apiaceae

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Peter's ASFB- Competence Center and Organic Farming of Herbs


ASSOCIATION FOR START-UP CO-FINANCING AND VOCATIONAL BUILDING OF SMALL AND FAMILY BUSINESSES

(ASFB – COMPETENCE CENTRE)


PROSPECTUS

Background.

The Association for Start-up , Co-Financing and Vocational Building of Small and Family Businesses (ASFB - Competence Centre) was founded in 2003 as a Non Government Organization (NGO). It has assisted small family-owned wood, plastic and agricultural businesses, some of which had become inactive due to the current unstable economic conditions in Bulgaria, but whose owners have demonstrated a strong entrepreneurial spirit. The ASFB - Competence Centre members are these small and family-owned businesses who agree to cooperate with, support, aid, and exchange knowledge with one another. The ASFB - Competence Centre has a number of partners for education and co-operation like the Bourgas Free University, the Bourgas Chamber of Commerce, a Regional Business Newspaper, some high schools and NGO-s.

Mission.

The mission of ASFB - Competence Centre is to assist small businesses, including in areas with large minority populations (Turkish-Bulgarian and Romi) in the greater Bourgas economic region.

Most of the ASFB - Competence Centre businesses are run by young or minority entrepreneurs. The ASFB grew out of a year-long work with European and American organizations and individual volunteers as well as of management training courses in USA, Germany and the UK during the 1990s.

Goal.

The goal of the ASFB - Competence Centre is to support small and family businesses having entrepreneurial spirit by helping them overcome their lack of a market and marketing skills, lack of practical training in management, and knowledge of sources and programs for micro-financing at reasonable interest rates.

Among the groups most vulnerable to these problems are small and family businesses run by young Bulgarians and minority entrepreneurs among the Romi and Turkish-Bulgarians. The problems have manifested themselves in the frequent failure of such businesses and in the dormancy of many others.


Objectives
.

The ASFB’s objectives include:

  • micro financing of small projects among the members by purchasing production equipment , spare parts and raw materials, upgrading production facilities
  • restarting inactive family businesses
  • establishing contacts with local, central and international partners and institutions, scientific organizations, business centers
  • involving its members in participating in international projects for economic growth, financed by local as well by EU and American organizations, directed to rural and multiethnic regions
  • training “at risk minorities” such as illiterate Romi and ethnic, rural Turkish people in starting small businesses
  • teaching basic reading and arithmetic, needed to run a small business
  • solving problems of supply and local infrastructure (e.g. energy, waste, etc.) and distribution of end-products
  • exploring recycling possibilities to increase profitability
  • considering new areas of production and new fields of business that focus on foreign markets

Current Projects:

Teaching Garden: With the support of a BIC member "Arbeitsgemeinschaft NaturStoffe" the ASFB-Competence Centre has established a Teaching Garden for educating and training young illiterate Romi in aspects of modern Agriculture. This garden was developed following three years of efforts by the ASFB-Competence Centre in a unique farm outside of Zhelyo Voyvoda, without fresh water and electricity supply, owned by an young entrepreneur and his elderly parents. The hourly workers on this 5 hectare farm are exclusively Romi , most of them illiterate and unable to perform basic arithmetic. The success of this project will give the entrepreneur an opportunity to learn methods of modern biological agriculture and will provide elementary knowledge of how to grow eight non-food groups of plants to the Romi participants.

Past Projects:

Resurrection of Woodworking Businesses: Two ASFB-Competence Centre members developed their own wood-working project, based on a long-term contract with the Bourgas crude oil refinery. In this project, several small, inactive businesses in different parts of East Bulgaria (Regions of Bourgas, Shumen and Sliven ) were resurrected, six of them with Romi or ethnic Turkish entrepreneurs, with more than 150 employees. In some cases three-party contracts were signed to cover some of the businesses’ debts or to get water or electricity supply to the small businesses’ areas. The most successful example is a Romi family business south of Bourgas, where agreements with the forest authority, and the water and electricity supply companies, were signed for a four month period. In this period one of the future ASFB- Competence Centre members took the financial risk and after implementing new management and cash flow methods, a successful business was resurrected. At the moment, this business is one of the very serious partners of the state owned forest company in the region, with more than 17 small family subgroups.

Know-How Exchange: The ASFB-Competence Centre has successful examples of know-how exchange among small businesses in the ethnic Turkish area north of Aytos and Romi timber businesses in Carevo, south of Bourgas . ASFB-Competence Centre created opportunities for know-how exchanges among small Turkish Bulgarian and Romi timber businesses during critical periods of time .

Current Focus and Need.

ASFB’s current focus is the extending the Teaching garden project to build up a Business and practical training center for biological agriculture . In that connection the ASFB-Competence Centre will need support in consulting, PR development and obtaining farm equipment by donation or favorable financing. The most recent project we have already started is the biological farming of cultivated herbs on 11,6 Ha in the village of Zhelyu Voyvoda, Region Sliven


ASFB is focused also in creation of a network between science and businesses for establishing of a
Business Innovation Center for developing new technologies, professional life long building and training in rural areas. For that reason the ASFB-Competence Centre has already undersigned agreements for co-operation with the Bourgas Chamber of Commerce, the Bourgas Free University, with vocational and foreign language schools in Bourgas and Yambol.

Mr. Peter Petrov is chairman of ASFB - Competence centre