Sunday, December 30, 2007

Medicine in the Spice Cabinet

This month's blog party is hosted by Tansy

I am singing the praises of many herbs this winter. And dancing too with their health giving benefits.

You see, I fell terribly ill suddenly due to what seems to be low thyroid. I am uninsured and do not have the $225-$500 I have been quoted to get an exact diagnosis, but from the symptoms I have suffered, I am pretty sure that is the issue.

An herbal friend of mine is helping me keep tabs on good and bad choices as well as incorporating some new herbs into my diet. I would love to share a few with you.
Rosemary I fill my quart stainless steel pot with lid full of filtered water, bring to boil then add a sprig of organic rosemary and allow to steep. This makes a delicious tea and is useful as a nervous system tonic, good for circulation, strengthens the heart and aids in memory. Also may be helpful for hair and skin although I have not applied externally, only internally as a tea. Delicioso!

Cinnamon A mild stimulant and warming herb, this is rich in tannins, volatile oils, mucilage and coumarins.
Coumarins can thin blood, fight tumors,and fight fungus.
Tannins are bitter and astringent(help dry things up like excess mucus or diarrhea)
Cinnamon has antiviral and also antiseptic properties and is useful in fighting infections.
Can be blended with other herbs as well to increase their efficiency.

GingerI am greatful for this powerhouse. I have been taking care of sick family for 2 weeks and due to this herb and chicken soup made with lots of garlic and astragalus, I have fared strong.
Ginger is helpful in improving circulation, especially to the pelvic region. This herb is diaphoretic and opens the pores to promote sweating which helps the body remove waste. Also good for cramps and morning sickness. Good for the respiratory system as well. I have heard that if you feel the flu begin to creep up on you, make some ginger tea immediately and it may by-pass you. I feel this has been true this winter thus far.
So keeping warm inside is easier with a good ginger tea or added to your favorite stir fry.

Garlic A delicious powerhouse of medicine in this bulb! Garlic is one of the aromas most often found in my home. With some Italian heritage in my roots, garlic has always been included in our meals. But once I understood the medicinal benefits of garlic, my family gets more of it when needed.
Antiseptic with its sulphur and volatile oils, it works internally and externally. Garlic stimulates the immune system and is known to expel intestinal worms. Garlic is antimicrobial, antibiotic, antioxidant and more. I have a recent article published in the Essential Herbal magazine on ways to apply garlic if you are interested in a good read (the magazine is so wonderful). Garlic is most potent in its raw form, but light cooking should not diminish the potency too much.

Other spices we use often are basil, nutmeg, comino, curry powder, salt, black pepper, cayenne, to name a few. I love cooking with spices and herbs. Enhancing the flavor of our favorite foods while aiding the health of the body is an exciting ritual in our home. I will write more on spices soon I hope. ~Bless

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