Properties and uses of the male Genepì
The male Genepì (Artemisia genipi Weber) which is also synonymous with the term Artemisia spicata Wulfen is a perennial herbaceous species, covered everywhere with a silky hairiness that gives it a typical green-silver color; the plant reaches heights between 5 and 20 cm, rarely more than 25 cm, and is equipped with woody stems at the base and widely branched, upright or ascending, tomentose; basal rosettes with leaves supported by petioles 10-25 mm carnosetti, with laminae generally tripalmate; the cauline leaves are sessile or subsessile for a short peduncle, are generally pinnate; presents a raceme with a spike-like terminal, folded, formed by numerous sessile or subsessile flower heads, 3-5 mm wide; the flowers are small yellow, tubular, corolla glabrous and have the scape covered with woolly, lanceolate bracts and brownish margin.
The antesis occurs in the period between July and August.
In this sheet we will see Properties and uses of the male Genepì and its habitat for a possible cultivation.
The male Genepì grows in nature on acidic acid soils in screes, moraines, fissures in the rocks, we find it in Italy throughout the Alps, excluding Liguria, at fairly high altitudes between 1800 and over 3000 m s.l.m. it must be considered that this species has become rare for the reckless collections of the whole plant, including the root. Being a plant at risk of extinction, endemic to the Alps, it is everywhere protected everywhere. For this reason it is absolutely not recommended for the harvest and it is hoped the cultivation, which is quite easy.
Artemisia genipi has multiple pharmaceutical properties: the young flowering plants are used for medicinal purposes, collected at the beginning of flowering and dried in a shady and ventilated place. You can also use the root by collecting it in the summer. It has tonic, antispasmodic and diaphoretic properties.
But Artemisia genipi is also used in the kitchen; in fact, the properties of the genepì and similar varieties are exploited for the bitter principles contained in them which make them excellent for packaging aperitifs and digestives. They can also be used to combat respiratory diseases
The inhabitants of the mountain areas use the many species of genepì macerating them in the grappa to obtain a stomachino liqueur that seems to have the ability to cure altitude sickness. In general this plant is very used above all for liquor uses.
It is also important to know that some artemisias contain the tuion, a compound that in the past was associated with a specific pathology: absintism. Modern research has reduced the toxicity of the tuion, which, moreover, is contained in small quantities in the absinthe of the Western Alps, characterized by the presence of another terpene, the oxime oxide. Many artemisias contain bitter non-volatile terpenes, such as absintin, a compound capable of being perceived as bitter at the homeopathic dilution of 1 mg in 30 liters of water. Even if reduced from the toxicological point of view, the problem of the tuion remains from the regulatory point of view, given that the EU has set a maximum limit for its presence in liqueurs prepared with artemisie (35 mg per liter).