HERBS! Spicy Medicine!

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A quick blog on some of my FAV herbs and how I use them! ENJOY spicing up your LIFE!

ALLSPICE:Allspice is a spice that is commonly used in Caribbean recipes, and is an anti-inflammatory, and anti-gas.  It helps conditions such as rheumatism, fatigue, arthritis, and stiffness with its analgesic and muscle relaxant properties. Allspice can also be used in cereals such as oatmeal as well as a variety of Jamaican and Caribbean meals.

 

BASIL:Basil is an herbal carminative which can relieve gas and soothe stomach upsets. Basil is a great herb to combat stress and mild depressed moods. Easily added to vegetables, soups, and pasta preparations, basil helps

with normalization of epinephrine (adrenaline) and norepinephrine (stress hormone) and serotonin. This also makes it good for headaches (particularly of the migraine variety). Basil lives in the mint family and can also be drunk as tea. Basil leaves contains many health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.

 

BLACK PEPPER:Black pepper is one of the oldest and most commonly used spices. It has a stimulating effect on the digestive organs and produces an increased flow of saliva and digestive juices. Black pepper can help relieve indigestion as well as flatulence (gas). It also helps improve absorption and utilization of curcumin, which the body normally does not absorb very well.

 

CARAWAY SEEDS:A digestive aid, spicy and warm. Caraway seeds ease colic, painful digestion, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. Caraway tea is safe for children and adults. Drink tea 1 cup 2-3 times a day.

 

CARDAMOM:Anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, essential oil, mucilage, improving circulation Drink Recipe:
water

2 tablespoons orange peel

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon coriander

1 tablespoon cardamom

1 tablespoons fennel

1 teaspoon clove

1 teaspoon black pepper

Put water and herbs into a large pot. Turn on the lowest heat setting on the stove with the lid on. Simmer for fifteen minutes, turn off the heat and let everything cool down for one half hour. Strain out the herbs and add any nut milk (almond, coconut...) and honey to taste. Drink cool or re-heat. Serve as a triple batch recipe for parties!

 

Cayenne pepperhas wonderful cardiovascular benefits, including lowering blood pressure. Master herbalist, Doctor John R. Christopher noted that a couple of teaspoons of cayenne pepper never failed to stop a heart attack in only minutes. When added to food, cayenne increases appetite, improves digestion and relieves gas, nausea and indigestion. It also thins phlegm and eases its passage from the lungs. Cayenne is one of Dr. Christopher’s favorite herbs! In fact, he would have a glass of cayenne water every morning upon awakening (cayenne water = tsp cayenne + 1 c water…WOWZA!).

 

Other benefits of Cayenne include: anti-cold and flu, anti-irritant properties, anti-fungal properties, prevents migraines, anti-allergen, boosts metabolism, greatly reduces inflammation, promotes saliva production, detox support, and it can be used topically on bites and wounds. I (Caitlin) actually cut my finger to the bone earlier this summer while opening a package and the first thing I did was panic..BUT THEN I ran to the spice rack, grabbed cayenne and dumped it all over my wound and within 30 seconds the bleeding STOPPED! I was then able to get to the hospital for some stiches without a lot of blood loss. 

 

CINNAMON:Cinnamon contains a compound that kills a variety of illness causing bacteria, including the E.coli, Salmonella, and Staphylococcus aureus. Cinnamon has multiple medicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, aids digestion and muscle relaxing. However, cinnamon is most notable for its studies in type 2 diabetes where it has been shown to lower blood sugar in some European studies. It was also shown in one German study to also lower cholesterol and triglycerides. Cinnamon goes great in oatmeal or amaranth, and can spice up a smoothie too. If you suffer from allergies, indigestion, or arthritis, you might add cinnamon to your regular eating regimen too. In addition, cinnamon has a tranquilizing effect that helps reduce anxiety and stress.

 

CLOVE:Oil of clove is 60 to 90 percent eugenol, which is a potent pain deadening anti-microbial. Clove has earned the official endorsement of the FDA as an effective stopgap measure for tooth pain. Clove also helps lower blood sugar by helping the body use insulin more effectively.

 

DILL:Spicy and warming and helps digestion. Dill is a carminative and good to relieve gas. Take the seeds of dill as a tea. Lightly simmer 2 tsp of seed in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes.

 

FENUGREEK:Fenugreek seeds help with diabetes, lower blood sugar and lower bad cholesterol. Fenugreek also helps maintain good metabolism, prevents constipation, purifies the blood and helps flush out harmful

toxins. Fenugreek seeds and leaves are good for increasing breast milk in lactating women.

 

GARLIC:Garlic is a natural antiseptic and powerful cancer fighter with numerous other health benefits. It helps lower cholesterol, reduces plaque, lowers blood pressure, and lowers the risk of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). Garlic is also effective against digestive ailments and diarrhea.

 

GINGER:Ginger is a wonderful digestive aid which stimulates saliva flow and digestive activity, settles the stomach, relieves vomiting, and eases pain from gas and diarrhea. Ginger is also effective as an anti-nausea remedy. Researchers have found that ginger is more effective against motion sickness than the most commonly used over the counter medication. Ginger is also used as a pain reliever and it helps lower bad cholesterol.

 

OREGANO:Oregano is a powerful natural antiseptic. It contains 19 chemical compounds with antibacterial actions as well as four compounds that soothe coughs. Oregano’s healing properties lie in its ability to fight microbes such

as viruses, fungi, parasites, and certain bacteria. It is also anti-spasmodic (relieves muscle spasms). So, stock oregano during the cold and flu season and use it generously in recipes.  Oregano is great when used with other

healing spices such as Marjoram (which also fights bacteria, viruses and is antispasmodic), and Thyme a strong antifungal. 

 

PARSLEY:Parsley is high in Vitamin C, Vitamin A, chlorophyll, iron, calcium, sodium, magnesium and more. It also helps the adrenal glands, benefits the optic and brain nerves, strengthens digestion, and helps the urinary system. It's a diuretic and relieves water retention.

 

ROSEMARY: Helps the nervous system and is good for headaches and migraines, chronic fatigue, poor appetite, low blood pressure and weak circulation. It's also high in antioxidants. You can make an infusion of rosemary by steeping 1 tsp of the dried herb per cup of water for 20 minutes. Add rosemary to soups and beans for a delicious flavor and medicinal properties. See the benefits of the Essential Oil Rosemary below!

 

SAGE:Sage helps improve appetite and to ease inflammation, particularly of the mouth. For nursing mothers who may be experiencing over-production, sage can help to slow milk production.

 

THYME: Thyme contains thymol, which increases blood-flow to the skin. The warmth is comforting, and some herbalists believe that the increased blood-flow to speed healing. An anti-spasmodic. Thyme relaxes respiratory muscles and is endorsed for treating bronchitis by Commission E, the expert panel that judges the safety and effectiveness of herbal medicines for the German government. Aromatherapists say that thyme's scent is a mood lifter.

 

TURMERIC:The curcumin contained in turmeric provides powerful anti-cancer properties, especially for past smokers. Curcumin has clinically proven anti-inflammatory effects, including significant beneficial effects in

relieving rheumatoid arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Turmeric is also packed with antioxidants, including vitamins A, C, and E, and may help prevent cataracts.

 

Karen Urbanek