THE KITCHEN HERBALIST ~
Fresh sage leaves in roasted potatoes, onions and carrots; Rosemary on a handcrafted pizza; roasted garlic slathered on fresh sourdough bread, a warm cup of Turmeric milk at the end of the day.....this is the way I love to use my kitchen herbs ~ in nourishing foods, teas or drinks.
These same delicious, culinary herbs are also medicinal. When you combine medicinal culinary herbs with whole nourishing foods you have a combination that can aid you in healing your body and in achieving optimal health.
In order to receive the medicinal qualities of the herbs, freshness is very important. If you can grow some of the herbs on your own, then please do so. The next best thing is to buy local from your farmers market. Also, many of the fresh herbs I will mention over the next several weeks are available for purchase from grocery stores. Just check the produce section. As for the dried and/or powdered culinary herbs I will suggest ~ Please do not buy these from the local store. Most culinary herbs are well over a year old and have lost many of their medicinal qualities. There is a company I use on Amazon for dried culinary herbs (Please see link on side bar these). They provided organic, dried culinary herbs and I have been very pleased with the quality.
Here is the first in a series of blogs on culinary herbs and their medicinal qualities. This will be a regular, weekly post over the next several weeks, so please follow this blog to keep updated. Green Blessings!
Kitchen Herbs for Health ~ 1 -3
1. Cinnamon ~ is an herb for strengthening and harmonizing the flow of circulation. It is an
excellent diaphoretic and expectorant for colds and flues. Cinnamon is also a pain reliever.It promotes a healthy digestion strengthens the heart, and warms the kidneys.
· Helps regulate blood sugar
· Effective against ulcer causing bacteria
· Reduces pain linked to arthritis
· Lowers LDL cholesterol levels
· Two chemical extracts of cinnamon, cinnamon in and camphornin, have been shown in laboratory test, to reduce the growth of cancer cells
· Reduces indigestion
· The Cytokine Research Laboratory, Department of Experimental Therapeutics, the University of Texas. Their research shows that cinnamon reduces chronic inflammation linked with these neurological disorders
· Cinnamon seems to have the same anti clotting benefits of aspirin without the side effects
Typical Dosage ~ ½ to 1 teaspoon per day (2 to 4 grams). Tea, capsule or food
Caution ~Very high quantities of cassia cinnamon may be toxic, particularly in people with liver problems. Because cinnamon may lower blood sugar, people with diabetes may need to adjust their treatment if they use cinnamon supplements.
Ways to use~
· Add to smoothies and Green Drinks
· Put on Steel Cut Oats
· Sprinkle on a mixture of apple slices, walnuts, and honey
· Add to coffe or tea
· Add to baked apples, sweet potatoes or grilled pineapple
· Make a tea with cinnamon & chamomile
2. Fennel Seeds ~ Fennel seeds are an excellent super-herb that has been used for centuries for both culinary and medicinal purposes. They have many health benefiting nutrients, compounds, anti-oxidants, minerals and vitamins that are known to help prevent and treat disease. Fennel contains high amounts of flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin which makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory which prevent oxidation and inflammation.
Medicinal Usage ~
• Cough, cold & sore throats
• Immune support• Liver detoxification
• Colic pain and indigestion for babies. A double-blind study published in the Journal of Pediatrics
in 1993 discovered that an herbal tea made from fennel seeds was effective in treating infantile
• Increase breast milk in nursing mothers
• Conjunctivitis and dermatitis
Typical Dosage ~ 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons per day (4 to 6 grams) in tea, capsule or food
Caution ~ large quantities of the herb should be avoided by pregnant women (it is a uterine contractor) and diabetics (high sugar content). It may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb the antibiotic Cipro. You must take the herb and medication 2 hours apart.
Ways to use ~ A slight roasting of fennel seeds increases their effectiveness but will also add more flavor.
· Crush and add to smoothies and Green Drinks
· Fennel Tea ~ Crush 1-2 teaspoons of fennel seeds using a mortar and pestle. Another way is to put
the seeds in a zipped bag and crush using a rolling pin. Bring 1 cup of water to boil. Put the crushed
fennel seeds in a teapot and pour the boiling water over it. Now let the mixture steep for 2-3 minutes
(do not boil). You should cover the pot while steeping. You may add black tea to this blend and
· Chew them! They have a slight licorice flavor
· Add to veggies and meats when cooking
3. Turmeric ~ Turmeric root contains many healthy substances and oils such as a termerone, curlone, curcumin, cineole, and p-cymene which are responsible for its healing properties.
Specifically, curcumin, a poly-phenolic compound (the main pigment that imparts a deep orange color) is known to have the anti-tumor, antioxidant, anti-arthritic, anti-amyloid (prevents neurodegenerative diseases), anti-ischemic (prevents cardiovascular diseases), anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory properties and anti biotic benefits
Turmeric is extremely beneficial to those suffering from arthritis and other inflammatory disorders. The curcumin in its roots have been shown to inhibit the enzymes responsible for the inflammatory process. Turmeric dosage for anti-inflammatory works in capsule form or as powder mixed with honey or milk, taken with food.
· Inflammatory pain
· Alzheimer and dementia
· Helps improve intestinal flora
· Studies indicate anti-cancer benefits by inhibiting the growth of tumor cells
· Helps to cleanse and purify the lymphatic system
· Externally for healing wounds
Dosage ~ 1 teaspoon per day for normal health benefits. For arthritis up to 3 teaspoons per day. Listen to your body! Always start with a lower dosage and build up. More is not always better. You may spread the dosage throughout the day.
Caution ~ Too much turmeric may thin your blood and contribute to bleeding disorders. For this to occur, the dosage is usually extremely high. Excessive consumption of turmeric may cause stomach upset.
*In 1995, the University of Mississippi Medical Center was awarded a patent for turmeric. They were the only ones allowed to sell the spice specifically for the purpose of healing wounds. India fought the patent claiming that it had been using turmeric for that purpose for more than 2,000 years, a fact that was confirmed by ancient documents. In 1997, the patent was revoked.
Ways to use ~ NOTE: Turmeric will usually stain pots, pans, cups, etc… You need to soak these items immediately following use. I have a pot and cup I use specifically for Turmeric Milk (I drink this for arthritis pain)
· Sprinkle on your sautéed dishes
· Use on organic chicken or beef
· Use in a Greek Yogurt dipping sauce
· Make Turmeric Milk (recipe below)
Turmeric Milk~ Anti-inflammatory drink Ayurvedic healers love turmeric for its anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-oxidant properties. Try this tonight — the turmeric will settle your stomach, the warm milk will make you sleepy, and the spices provide extra flavor and warmth.
Heat 2 cups organic milk or alternative (Almond is good!) with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, a pinch each of freshly grated ginger-root and cracked black pepper, and 1 cinnamon stick. Cook until the milk comes to a boil. Remove from heat. Add honey or organic sugar to taste. Drink Wars.
Herbal treatments usually act gently and slowly. In modern terms herbs are said to have a long onset of action. Give them time to work. Start with the smallest dosage and then build as needed. It may be necessary to use these herbs for seveal weeks or even months before they can help the body. Remember, it took a while for the body to be in a health crisis (sometimes years), it will take a while to get it back in balance ~ Green Blessings
*Disclaimer ~If you take any medicines regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using any herbal treatments. The information is not intended as medical advice and does not take the place of consulting a physician. Information here has not been approved by the FDA.