Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT
[You can fight inflammation with common ingredients from your own kitchen. Here's a list of the top nine anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, plus some of my favorite recipes using them.] You may think that “inflammation” only occurs after a bee sting, when you scald your hand on a hot…
Turmeric: This common spice used so often in Indian cooking (it’s the main ingredient in curry powder, and what lends it its golden hue) has been noted over and over as a top anti-inflammatory herb. The reason is curcumin, the pigment that provides that glorious color. Curcumin has been shown to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, reduce the risk of various cancers, and even help with liver function. as well as showing promise preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric has a very subtle, slightly nutty and fragrant taste.
Ginger: You’ve probably heard that ginger can help treat nausea and improve digestion, but its anti-inflammatory properties are also impressive, courtesy of compounds called gingerols. But note that the powdered form is more effective than the fresh to treat inflammation. According to Studio Botanica, ginger pairs up with turmeric as the two most potent anti-inflammatory spices.
[Watermelon-Basil Cooler --basil]
Basil:The base of your favorite pesto is also a potent anti-inflammatory, shown to work in a similar fashion to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or Tylenol. In addition, the natural oils in this herb are anti-bacterial and can help fight infection. Plus, like most herbs, basil is chock full of vitamins and minerals, too.
Black Pepper: Yes, it does more than make you sneeze! Black pepper not only decreases inflammation, but also helps to reduce the pain associated with it. Interestingly, it also helps improve digestion by preventing intenstinal gas; and it can help to increase the bio-availability of turmeric by up to 1000 times when the two are ingested together. So don’t pass by the pepper grinder next time you have that plate of pasta, soup or salad.
Cloves: I love cloves in all kinds of festive baked goods and puddings, so I was thrilled to discover their anti-inflammatory properties, too. Like many other spices or herbs, the major benefits are derived from cloves’ volatile oils, which contain eugenol, an anti-inflammatory compound. Clove oil has long been known as a remedy for toothache pain, providing both analgesic and antibacterial properties to soothe pain and prevent infection. There’s also some evidence that, when combined with other existing anti-inflammatory compounds, cloves will increase the overall effects of the other spices or herbs. Gingerbread, anyone?
[Grown-Up Superfood Cookies--cinnamon]
Cinnamon: This common household spice is not only slightly sweet tasting, fragrant and delicious; it also helps to keep blood sugar stable, lowers cholesterol, is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and possesses a slew of other health-promoting properties. Among these, of course, is that it decreases inflammation in the body.
Garlic: Garlic is another staple household superfood that confers multiple health benefits along with its anti-inflammatory properties. Containing sulfur compounds called allicins, garlic (and to a lesser extent, onions) work to prevent the body’s inflammatory response from following through, much the way nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) do. The anti-inflammatory effects also work to help prevent heart disease and perhaps even obesity.
Cayenne: Spice lovers, rejoice! Feel free to sprinkle your cayenne pepper with abandon, knowing that the compound called capcaisin in it helps to decrease inflammation in your body. It’s even been used topically for arthritis with good results. Furthermore, contrary to what many people may think, cayenne is actually good for stomach upset and may even help to protect against ulcers due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
[Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque--rosemary]
Rosemary: Perhaps the least familiar ingredient in this list, this herb from an evergreen shrub is another useful anti-inflammatory food that works by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory response in the body. Rosemary has been shown to reduce pain, to reduce cortisol levels (which are raised by stress) and–perhaps most interesting–to stimulate hair growth! It’s also a delicious addition to many vegetable-based dishes.
Of course, there are many other foods that can help reduce inflammation, such as Omega 3 fatty acids (the most common source is fish oils, but walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and seaweeds and many other foods are also good sources); nettle and licorice (both available as tasty teas); berries; or cruciferous vegetables; all topics for a future post!
Not sure how to incorporate these powerhouse herbs and spices into your daily regime?? Here’s a list of some of my favorite recipes that contain them.
Carob-Buckwheat Breakfast Bake (cinnamon)
My All-time Favorite Tofu Scramble (turmeric)
Almost Instant Pumpkin Porridge (cinnamon)
Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Pudding (cinnamon, cloves, ginger)
Watermelon-Basil Cooler (basil)
Holiday Nog (cinnamon)
Meal-in-a-Bowl Pesto Bean Topped Salad (basil, garlic)
Apple and Red Wine Soup (cinnamon, cloves)
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad (basil, garlic)
Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque (rosemary)
Almond “Feta Cheese” (rosemary)
Raw Gingersnap Cookie Bon Bons (ginger)
Soba Noodles with Ginger, Chard and Walnuts (garlic; use gluten-free noodles–and forgive the awful photo!)
Vegan Cassoulet (garlic, cloves)
Vegan Tortière (cinnamon, cloves)
African Sweet Potato Stew (turmeric, cayenne)
Gingered Potatoes with Browned Onions and Tomato (ginger, turmeric)
Tempeh “Bourguignon” (garlic, cloves)
Grown Up Superfood Cookies (cinnamon)
Cinnamon-Crumb Coffee Cake (cinnamon, of course!)
Cinnamon-Spiced Coconut Bark (yep, more cinnamon)
Corn Tea Health Benefits
| By Stephanie Lee
The silk threads that surround an ear of corn may be steeped in boiling water to create tea. Corn silk is reported to have a variety of health benefits, as it contains moderate amounts of iron, potassium, zinc, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Prior to ingesting corn tea, consult with a healthcare provider regarding health concerns and treatment options.
Corn tea may improve urinary tract infections and kidney stones. According to the Phytomed Health Group, the corn silk utilized in the production of the tea has diuretic properties and may help to sooth irritation in the urinary system. Furthermore, corn silk, when used in conjunction with other herbs, may help treat health conditions such as mumps or inflammation of urinary bladder or urethra.
Lori A. Futterman and John E. Jones, co-authors of “PMS, Perimenopause and You,” explain that corn silk may alleviate common symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, such as water retention, breast tenderness and bloating. Futterman and Jones also mention, however, that corn silk tea should not be ingested by pregnant or nursing women.
Blood-glucose stabilization is another health benefit that is associated with consumption of corn silk tea. A study published in the November 2009 edition of “Nutrition & Metabolism” investigated the effect corn silk may have on mice diagnosed with hyperglycemia, which is the excess of glucose in the bloodstream. The results indicated that corn silk extract significantly decreased hyperglycemia levels through the amplification of insulin levels and the mending of damaged beta cells. Furthermore, the mice exhibited an increased ability to store sugar in the liver.
In addition to supporting urinary tract health, relieving symptoms of premenstrual syndrome and stabilizing blood-glucose levels, Phytomed Health Group notes that corn silk may also alleviate prostate disorders, carpal tunnel syndrome and obesity. Corn silk also contains antiseptic properties that may help to eliminate skin boils and treat other minor wounds or infections. The vitamin K content of corn silk may also help to control bleeding during childbirth. Additional benefits include treatment for heart complications, jaundice, malaria and gonorrhea.
Gymnema is a Potent Anti-FungalFriday, November 01, 2013
Byron J. Richards,
Board Certified Clinical Nutritionist
The Ayurvedic herb Gymnema sylvestre has long been a traditional remedy for blood sugar issues and type 2 diabetes. A new study has shown for the first time that it is also a powerful anti-fungal, helping to stop simple Candida yeast from forming biofilm germ gangs as well as dismantling existing germ gangs.
Blood sugar problems and Candida biofilm problems often coexist in the same person as higher-than-normal blood sugar levels feed Candida overgrowth. The toxins of Candida cause brain fog, digestive disturbance, and thyroid problems – locking in a wide constellation of metabolic issues that lead to health decline. Antifungal drugs are quite toxic to human cells, and therefore, of limited value. Gymnema is non-toxic to human cells or even friendly single-cell Candida, but highly toxic to the infectious germ gangs that pose health problems.
This research from Kansas State University is the first to document various ways in which Gymnema inhibits biofilm formation as well as dismantles existing biofilms. Biofilms are like weeds in the digestive lawn, wreaking havoc with healthy digestion and causing many digestive problems to develop – such as gluten intolerance. Gymnema is one more natural remedy that can be added to the list of effective ways to help deal with this issue.
As a clinician I have known for many years that Gymnema is an excellent anti-fungal, one of the best remedies for stopping sugar cravings (a sign of Candida overgrowth). It is nice to see some science that correlates to the clinical observations.
Nervine Herbs – Oatstraw
This is one of my all time favorite nervine herbs!Diane Van Doesburg TV Episode #6
This herbal tonic is a must for the nervous system if you tend to be stressed and overworked. It feeds the depleted body if too much caffeine is consumed and if you feel burned out. Also, if depression from nervous exhaustion is happening, oatstraw will come to the reuse!
To make an infusion of oatstraw follow these directions: Oatstraw Infusion
- See more at: http://dianevandoesburg.com/nervine-herbs-oatstraw#sthash.3Fz76VvE.dpuf
Taste of Herbs: Elderberry Oxymel Recipe
http://tasteofherbs.com Oxymels are a great preparation for boggy and congested coughs. An oxymel is basically a combination of vinegar and honey giving these preparations a sour and sweet taste. Adding herbs gives it those healing qualities as well. (recipe below)
This oxymel is a gorgeous purple color and combines the healing power of elderberries along with the stimulating expectorant qualities of ginger and elecampane.
What you’ll need…
2 tablespoons of dried ginger
2 tablespoons of elecampane root
apple cider vinegar
jar with plastic lid
Fill a quart size mason jar 1/3 to 1/2 full with elderberries. Add the elecampane and ginger to the jar.
Add an equal amount of honey and apple cider vinegar. Stir well.
Cover with a plastic lid. (Don’t use a metal lid.)
The next day stir it again and add more vinegar if necessary. (The dried elderberries will swell a bit.)
Let this sit for 2-6 weeks, stirring occasionally.
When done, strain off well using a cheesecloth.
Take this liberally for wet, congested coughs that produce a lot of mucus.
Store in the fridge and use within 6 months or so.
Recipe by Rosalee de la Forêt. ©LearningHerbs. Visithttp://tasteofherbs.com
spinach, basil, cilantro, tomatoes, aloe vera
Cilantro: This herb can purify water too
(TIME.com) – The next time you find yourself facing some questionable drinking water, look for some cilantro.
At least that’s what a team of U.S. and Mexican researchers made up of undergraduate students suggest.
The research team, lead by Douglas Schauer of Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, Indiana, along with colleagues from the Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero in Hidalgo, Mexico, have been studying the region of Tule Valley near Mexico City to identify cheaper ways to filter water.
Mexico City has long dumped its waste water in the valley, and the contaminated water is then used by regional farmers to irrigate crops. Once in the edible foods, heavy metals such as lead and nickel can make their way to consumers, where they can contribute to neurological and other health problems.
“The organic toxins we can take care of pretty easily with a number of different methods, but the only way to really get rid of those heavy metals is to treat them with filtering agents like activated charcoal (like what’s found in a Brita filter), but those types of materials are kind of expensive,” says Schauer. “They are a little expensive for us to use, but they are very expensive to the people living in that region.”
After testing various samples of plants from cacti to flowers, the researchers determined that cilantro is the most prevalent and powerful so-called bioabsorbant material in the area. Bioabsorption is the scientific term for using organic materials often found in plants, that when dried, could replace the charcoal currently used in filters.
The team suspects that the outer wall structure of the tiny cells that make up the plant are ideal for capturing metals. Other plants, like dandelions and parsley may also provide similar bioabsorbant capabilities.
Schauer says ground-up cilantro can be inserted into a tube into which water is passed through. The cilantro allows the water to trickle out but absorbs metals, leaving cleaner drinking water. Dried cilantro can also be placed into tea bags that are placed in a pitcher of water for a few minutes to suck out the heavy metals.
“It’s something they already have down there, it takes minimal processing, and it’s just a matter of them taking the plants and drying them out on a rock in the sun for a couple of days,” says Schauer.
Because cilantro isn’t an essential crop, using it as a purifier won’t take away from people’s food needs in the region, and the relative ease with which the plant grows also makes it a realistic option for cleansing water.
So far, the researchers reported success in removing lead and nickel with their cilantro filters, and are studying how well the herb can removed other heavy metals found in the Tule Valley water such as arsenic and mercury. “We are hoping we can look at how cilantro absorbs those metals, and see if those metals work in some kind of synergy when they come into contact with the biomass,” says Schauer. “We need to look at mixtures of metals to see if cilantro evenly pulls all the metals out.”
How much cilantro would it take to effective make contaminated water drinkable? Schauer says a handful of cilantro will nearly cleanse a pitcher full of highly contaminated water of its lead content.
The researchers are presented their findings at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society.
This article was originally published on TIME.com
thedurianking – I’ve always really liked his site/vids
Learn how to dry rose hips, make puree, and turn the puree into rose hip fruit leather. The fruit leather directions are for sun-drying, but you can dry it in your oven on the lowest setting (see below), if you wish.
- 4 cups (1 Litre) of rose hips
Just after a frost is the best time to gather rose hips. Snap off the tails as you pick,or later when you reach home. Spread the hips out on a clean surface and allow to dry partially. When the skins begin to feel dried and shriveled, split the hips and take out the large seeds — all of them. If you let the hips dry too much, it will be difficult to remove the seeds. If not dry enough, the inside pulp will be sticky and cling to the seeds. After the seeds are removed, allow the hips to dry completely before storing or they will not keep well. Store in small, sealed plastic bags. These will keep indefinitely in the freezer or for several months in the refrigerator. They are packed with vitamin C and are good to munch on anytime you need extra energy…or a moderately sweet nutlike “candy.”
Use soft ripe rose hips (the riper they are, the sweeter they are). It takes about 4 cups (1 Litre) of rose hips to make 2 cups (480 ml) of puree. Remove stalks and blossom ends. Rinse berries in cold water. Put them into a pan and add enough water to almost cover. Bring to a boil and simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Press through a sieve or strainer. All that does not go through the sieve is placed in the pan again. Add a little water, enough to almost cover, if you want a thicker puree, add slightly less. This time heat but do not boil so vigorously. This will dissolve a little more of the fruit so that it will go through the sieve. Press again and then repeat the process one more time. By now, most of the fruit should have gone through the sieve leaving only seeds and skin to discard.
Yield: about 2 cups
Line a cookie sheet, 12 by 17 inches (30 by 42 cm), with plastic wrap. This size cookie sheet holds approximately 2 cups (480ml) of puree. Spread puree or fruit leather evenly over the plastic but do not push it completely to the sides. Leave a bit of plastic showing for easy removal. Place on a card table or picnic table in the hot sun to dry. If the plastic is bigger than the cookie sheet and extends up the sides, anchor it with clothes pins so it will not flop down and cover the edges of the leather. Puree should dry in the sun six to eight hours.
Recipe Source: “Cooking Alaskan By Alaskans” (Alaska Northwest Books)
Reprinted with permission.
Rose hips may also be dried in an electric dehydrator (following the manufacturer’s instructions for fruit leathers) or in the oven.
Oven-Dried Rose Hips
Prepare rose hips as instructed above. Preheat oven to the lowest setting or 200 F. Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil. Spread cleaned rose hips evenly on the pan in a single layer. Dry in the oven for 6 to 12 hours. Time will vary due to the size of your rose hips and your oven. Check often. The rose hips should remain pliable, not brittle. Place dried rose hips in freezer bags, remove the air, and seal tightly.
Oven-Dried Rose Hips Fruit Leather
To dry in the oven, make puree as above. Preheat oven to the lowest setting or 200 F. Line cookie sheet with non-stick foil. Spread puree evenly over the foil. Place in the oven and let dry for 3 to 4 hours (oven temperatures will vary). The leather should feel slightly tacky to the touch, but still be pliable. Roll up the fruit leather on the foil and cut into strips about 1-inch wide, or to suit your needs. Store the rolled up strips in an airtight container.