The caper, whose scientific name is "Capparis spinosa L.", is part of the Capparidaceae family and represents one of the traditional plants of the Mediterranean environments and has the characteristic of developing spontaneously along the escarpments and, in many cases, also against The walls.
The caper is a shrubby annual plant that has a creeping habit.
The main feature is represented by the stem, extremely branched, and by the leaves, which have a lanceolate shape and a light down on the upper part.
The flowers grow alone, along a very beautiful peduncle to observe.
Flowering occurs during the summer, especially in the period between the months of June and September and is able to develop a flowering of extraordinary beauty.
The caper harvest must take place before flowering has begun: the curiosity is represented by the fact that the smallest capers are, in reality, the best ones.
The bark of the roots must be collected when the plant is at rest: you can choose between the period between September and October, or the month of March.
The caper plant is characterized by preferring direct sun exposure and extremely high temperatures (up to 35 degrees centigrade); moreover, it does not tolerate excessively harsh winters and frost, adapting instead to any type of terrain, especially even the most rocky and drier ones and finally presenting an excellent level of resistance against diseases and parasites.
As far as multiplication is concerned, this particular plant is characterized by the fact that the production of new specimens can take place by cutting or by sowing.
Sowing must be completed during the spring season.
It is a plant that does not need excessive quantities of water, since it prefers drought to excess watering.
The caper plant loves all those poor, dry soils with an excellent level of drainage.
Inside the capers we can find a good amount of protein, vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C, vitamin K, riboflavin, folate, niacin, calcium, manganese, iron, magnesium and copper.
The beneficial properties did not go unnoticed even in the course of antiquity, given that two famous doctors such as Dioscorides and Galen have discussed them in various treatises that have come down to us.
The two doctors, in fact, believed that the plant was able to carry out a fundamental diuretic action, but also a beneficial action against toothache up to also cure the hardness of the spleen and ear worms.
According to the officinal literature, capers have important tonic, stimulating and aperitif properties.
A good number of doctors have also recognized the digestive properties of capers, to the point that caper wine has also been prepared, which is obtained by macerating 60 g of zest and at least two liters of red wine for a long time.
The caper plant is also very popular due to its stimulating properties, especially towards the appetite and digestive system.
These are properties, especially the latter, which can be found not only in the bark of the root (which represents the drug that can traditionally be found in herbalists), but are also characteristics of the buds, which are widely used in the kitchen.
A good number of researches, even quite recent ones, have shown how capers are able to perform a remarkable skin bioactivating action, as well as renormalizing the superficial cutaneous circulation in erytosis and rosaceae.
When it is exploited for internal use, the caper plant is extremely useful for carrying out a stimulating function of diuresis and digestive functions.
As for external use, however, it is essentially used for the treatment of hemorrhoids, but also to lighten cheeks that redden easily and to counteract dilated capillaries.
Furthermore, as regards the methods of use, it is important to remember that the root bark, prepared in decoction, is used to increase diuresis and act as a stimulant for digestive functions.
For external use, on the other hand, the bark of the roots in oily dye is very useful for fighting hemorrhoids, inflammation of the mouth, but it is also quite effective for combating vascular diseases of the extremities.
Furthermore, we must not forget how the fresh buds, prepared in infusion (by applying gauze soaked in this infusion), are extremely useful for lightening cheeks that redden very easily, but also against the dilation of the capillaries.
Capers are particularly not recommended for all those people suffering from hypertension, given the very high salt content (which can be removed by rinsing the capers and taking a cold water bath for about ten minutes).