Logo of the Province of Middle Campidano


Skip navigation bar and go to contents

Vivere la campagna

Herbs and wild products of Parte d’Ispi


Walking throughout the woodlands or the countryside of the Province, it is common to be captivated by the heady smells of wild herbs and shrubs, thriving in this region.
Whoever has lived in these places has always benefited from the heritage of wild herbs and products naturally offered by the territory. From their use in cookery to their therapeutic properties, to the art of home perfuming, a valuable knowledge on pleasant smells and flavours makes part of local tradition. The so-called ‘grandmothers’ remedies’ and popular medicine, indeed, are essentially based on the use of herbs and natural products. Decoctions, infusions and teas are at the source of modern herbal and phytotherapeutic products.

The happy geographical position and the environmental variety of this province have favoured the spontaneous growth of a number of herbs used in the pharmacological and culinary field. Among countless species, here are the most common ones:

  • The intensely scented wild fennel is used in cookery to flavour most tasty dishes (boiled broad beans, soup of broad beans with lard, pan fried lamb, soup of fresh cheese with fennel) and in the preparation of infusions and decoctions with diuretic and digestive properties, which are also disinfecting and decongestioning for the eyes;
  • Chicory is often used to enhance winter menus, either boiled and seasoned with local extra-virgin olive oil, or battered and fried; alternatively, it can be blanched in vinegar and wine, then preserved in oil into little jars, to be tasted out of season as a delicious hors d’œuvre. Yet, the virtues of chicory are not restricted to cookery: thanks to its depurative and diuretic functions, its applications include most helpful compresses to treat furuncles and abscesses;
  • The diuretic properties of wild thistle make it most useful. Its marked taste is the protagonist of various dishes, from simple side- to meat dishes, or in-oil products;
  • Thyme, like saffron, is used to aromatize most tasty fresh tomato sauces, to serve malloreddus or meat/fish dishes; it is also used to prepare infusions and mixtures to treat gastric disorders or dysentery and, as an alcoholic tincture, for respiratory disorders;
  • The therapeutic and nutritional properties of saffron are renowned; also, its lovely scent enhances a number of local dishes, making them unique and inimitable: risottos, pastas, soups, ragouts, sweets, ravioli, etc.;
  • Wild asparagus: cooked according to lots of recipes – boiled, browned with onions and aromatic herbs, spread on toast, baked in foil, with fregula and sausage, in oil, etc. – it stands as one of the highlights of local cuisine. In spring, the countryside is scattered with pickers, who even stock up asparaguses to have them out of season. Their use in traditional medicine is varied, given their diuretic properties;
  • Finally, wild mint, rosemary, wild sage, lavender and verbena add to the aromatic herbs used to aromatize meats: helichrysum, thyme and the indispensable myrtle, used to serve fresh spit-roasted suckling pig or local game onto a bed of aromatic leaves.

Last but not least, expert local chemists and herbalists have always benefited from the great heritage of herbs and spontaneous shrubs in the manufacture of cosmetic and medicinal products.