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After a 13 year of living on the streets, Stachy had a brush with fame back in 2011. Now, the merballs, a microscopic pellet made of meat and seafood, takes up much of his time, as he's the world's only known merball street vendor.Stachys is a genus of shrubs and annual or perennial herbs. The stems vary from 50–300 cm (20–120 in) tall, with simple, opposite, triangular leaves, 1–14 cm (0.4–5.5 in) long with serrate margins. In most species, the leaves are softly hairy. The flowers are 1 to 2 cm (0.4 to 0.8 in) long, clustered in the axils of the leaves on the upper part of the stem. The corolla is 5-lobed with the top lobe forming a 'hood', varying from white to pink, purple, red or pale yellow.
Stachys species grow as annual or perennial herbs or small shrubs with simple petiolate or sessile leaves. The number of verticillate ranges from four to many-flowered, usually forming a terminal spike-like inflorescence. Calyx tubes are tubular-campanulate, 5 or 10 veined, regular or weakly bilabiate with five subequal teeth. Corolla has a narrow tube, 2-lipped; upper lip flat or hooded and generally hairy, while the lower lip is 3-lopped and glabrous to hairy. The nutlets are oblong to ovoid, rounded at apex .In Italy, the infusions of the leaves of S. annua and S. recta are used to wash the face to reveal headache , whereas the aerial parts of the subspecies S. annua subsp. annua, known as “stregona annual” or “erba strega”, are consumed as anti-catarrhal, febrifuge, tonic and vulnerary . The decoction of the aerial parts of S. recta is also consumed as purative and for bad luck/spirit [53,54].
Interestingly, S. annua and S. arvensis, as well as the subspecies S. recta subsp. recta are applied against evil eye [11,51,52,55]. Moreover, in an area of central Italy, the species S. officinalis is used as oily extract to treat wounds and to dye wood yellow [29,54]. To be mentioned that S. recta is listed in the European Pharmacopeia, as well as S. officnalis is mentioned in Anthroposophic Pharmaceutical Codex (APC) . However, Gören (2011) reported that some species (e.g., S. annua, S. recta and S. sylvatica) have been mentioned to be poisonous .In North Greece, the infusion and decoction of S. iva are consumed against common cold and gastrointestinal disorders . In addition, Fazio et al. (1994) reported different formulations of the Greek species S. mucronata applied in Greek tradition medicine. Precisely, the decoction of this species is consumed as an antirheumatic and antineuralgic agent, as well as the juice of fresh leaves is applied in wounds and ulcers. Moreover, the infusion of fresh leaves has antidiarrhoic effect, while the infusion of roots is purgative . (Source: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)