On the island birthplace of Greek love goddess, Aphrodite (the Roman ‘Venus’), it’s no surprise that Cyprus preserves the traditional annual festivals dedicated to celebrating all things floral. The rose and myrtle flowers were both sacred to Aphrodite but did you know that the national flower of Cyprus is actually the perennial and hardy growing ‘Cyclamen Cyprium’ or Cyprus Cyclamen? In Limassol there is also a museum dedicated to the healing powers of medicinal flowers and plants.
Flower remedies and herbal treatments can often form part of holistic therapies, alongside personalised nutrition plans, yoga and meditation sessions. In recent years, a new generation of hotel guest increasingly seeks out a boutique lifestyle experience that connects relaxation and enhanced personal wellbeing with rejuvenation and natural, organic treatments.
Recommended as a remedy for a variety of ailments
The cyclamen flower can be found across the Akamas region — in the extreme northwest of Cyprus — and high up in the Pentadaktylos and Troodos mountains (300 — 1,200 m / 980 — 3,940 ft). Originating in the Middle East, and naturally growing in Mediterranean countries such as Cyprus, Greece, Turkey and Tunisia, the 7-15 cm high crimson-purple, white and pink herb was only officially declared the national flower of Cyprus on 1 February 2006. On the same day, the Ministers of the Republic also declared the Golden Oak as the National Tree of Cyprus.
The Cyclamen name is identified with the Greek ‘Cyclos’ or circle, which refers either to its spherical root tuber or rounded leaves. The juice from the fleshy tuber, which is harvested between autumn and spring when in full bloom, was once used to make the homeopathic agent, ‘cyclamen’ in herbal medicine. Despite the tubers containing toxins which produce dangerous side-effects, cyclamen was once recommended as a remedy for a variety of ailments, including eye diseases, gout, skin rashes, snakebites and tinnitus.
The culturally curious visitor and the lifestyle hotel guest would be naturally interested to discover that Limassol has its own museum, which offers knowledge, insight — and an immersive journey — into the floral and herbal sources of natural remedies and therapies.
Dedicated to the island’s many varieties of ‘medicinal’ plants
The Medflora Museum at Trachoni village is a short walk from the fortified 15th-century Kolossi Castle — around 14kms (9 ml) from Londa Hotel. The centre is dedicated to the island’s many varieties of ‘medicinal’ plants which are used in mental health therapies, beauty and overall well-being, and in helping to treat depression, anxiety, insomnia and weight problems.
The museum is divided into two visitor experiences. The Orpheus Exhibition Hall contains a myriad of plant specimens — dried or resin cast — accompanied by photographs, images and fascinating knowledge about the collection on display. From there, visitors can then enjoy an even more ‘immersive’ experience with a 15 minute meditative walk through Persephone’s Fields where the distinctive colours and scents of medicinal herbs can be encountered and explored. There’s also an opportunity to make a purchase at the Eco Bio Market held in the grounds every third Sunday of the month.
One of the most important elements of the Troodos mountains
And what of the Golden Oak, the national tree of Cyprus? Of more than 600 species of oak tree known to exist the Golden Oak is the more commonly found species of tree on Cyprus (alongside the cedar). It also has an enduring presence in the sprawling forests of the Troodos mountain range. The bark of the oak is traditionally used in medicinal therapies for its strong astringent properties. The oak tannin can be taken internally as a tea to help fight conditions such as dysentery and also applied externally to help treat eczema, skin wounds and reduce minor blistering.
The ‘organic’ natural world, and its relationship with personal wellbeing, continues to grow in importance in the search for the authentic and meaningful in boutique lifestyle experience. Hotel guests and visitors often seek to relax and re-vitalise at LondaSpa with an Elemis, Thalgo or a Londa Signature Spa-Therapy session. Adopting a holistic approach means wellness treatments are developed using only the purest organic ingredients, antioxidants, vitamins and phytonutrients.
«Phyto» is derived from the Greek word for plant, and natural plant compounds are strongly linked to health-protecting qualities. The enduring energies of Aphrodite, the ancient goddess of love, beauty and pleasure may also be found in today’s health giving and life-affirming principles.