From the vast Åland flora, the Post chose three medicinal plants to be featured in the 2016 stamp booklet issued on 9 May. Artist Jonas Wilén’s illustrations are reminiscent of old pharmacy bottle labels.
Representing nature pharmacy are the medicinal plants henbane, foxglove and tansy that all appear in Åland to a smaller or greater extent. Since time immemorial, herbs and spices have been used to cure or ease various ailments. According to Nordic folklore, curative plants were also ascribed magic powers.
Henbane (Hyoscyamus niger) is a sticky and odorous herb that flowers from June to September with large dingy yellow flowers. It has been grown in the North for medicinal purposes since the Viking and Middle Ages. Highly toxic, henbane has been used for its painkilling and sedative effect.
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) is a biennial herb and flowers from July to August with purple or white tubular flowers. Foxglove is a highly toxic plant that affects the heart. An extract containing the glycoside digitoxin was earlier used for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac arrhythmia.
Tancy (Tanacetum vulgare) is an herbaceous perennial plant with clusters of yellow flowers. The plant is slightly toxic and has been used for medicinal purposes to treat intestinal worms and vermin. The leaves and flowers may also be used to flavour aquavit and colour yarn and fabric.
Three maximum cards elaborating on the healing and magic powers of the plants complement the booklet.