Kitchen Health!

No, we’re not talking about the health OF your kitchen, but rather health FROM you kitchen!

Source - emel.com

There are many items in our kitchens that can be used for cooking AND health! Source – http://www.emel.com

Before we had Big Pharma (not that long ago!) we used items found in our kitchen (for this discussion- Herbs) to help regain our health from various situations.  We used these herbs, prepared in various ways, to assist our body’s in their constant striving for homeostasis (the healthy state of the body).

These preparations included (for internal uses) teas, both infusions for flowers and leaves, and decoctions for roots and barks, herbal broths, and herbal syrups.  For external uses there are herbal baths, herbal compresses and fomentations, herbal poultices and plasters, and herbal oils.  The type of preparation would be determined by what form the herb is in and what problem you are trying to treat.

Before using herbs on very young children or pregnant women, consult an herbal reference because some are contra-indicated!

Chinese herbal store reposted with lomo effect...

So let’s look at a few herbs and find out how they are used for health!

ALL SPICE – Taste like a blend of cinnamon, nutmeg and clove. Grown in the Caribbean.  The berries are used.  It has the same structure as lung tissue!  Helps with colds, mense cramps, upset stomach, and diabetes support.  It irritates the skin and expands the blood vessels; makes the skin feel warmer.  Because of this warming effect it is good for arthritis and sore muscles, either as a poultice or in hot baths.

CINNAMON – World’s oldest know spice!  It is the bark of a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka.   It has a plethora of health benefits including lowering cholesterol (1/2 tsp daily), helps with sugar balance (diabetes), strengthens heart, it’s a brain tonic, supports breast feeding, digestive tonic (helps tame ulcers), urinary tract support, food preserver, anti clotting actions, headaches/migraines, blood circulation, muscle and joint pain, itching, and much more!  My wife and I make a shake each morning for breakfast and one of the many ingredients we put in is cinnamon!

MUSTARD SEED Used in every country as a spice.  Was imported to the US by Spanish missionaries as a “cure-all”.  It’s part of the cabbage family.  Contains sulfur, which has been used as a treatment for skin diseases.  It is anti-bacterial, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.  Helps to speed up metabolism.  Pretty good bang for the buck!

CILANTRO LEAF/CORIANDER SEEDS – Origins can be traced to the Mediterranean.  A primary herb in Indian, Asian and Latin cuisines.  The entire plant and seeds are properly named coriander, while the leaves alone are cilantro.  It is also referred to as Chinese parsley.  Coriander seeds have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs.   It has anti-bacterial properties, helps rid body of heavy metals, supports blood cleansing, protects against Salmonella, aids in digestion, protects against urinary tract infections, prevents nausea, relives gas, good source of iron and magnesium.

CLOVES Cloves are actually dried flower buds, picked before they open.  Picked by hand when pink and dried until they turn brown.  Indonesia uses half the world’s production of cloves.  The cloves are mixed with tobacco to make kretek cigarettes (two parts tobacco to one part cloves).  Chemical analysis shows 36 different ingredients. Clove boosts digestion by stimulating enzymes, excellent for dental /tooth support, anti-septic and germicidal,, high anti-oxidants, supports Flu like symptoms / immune booster, blood purifier, anti-histamine.

NUTMEG The history of nutmeg dates back to the first century!  It’s actually the seed form and evergreen tree.  About 10,000 tons are produces in the world annually.  Some people believe nutmeg symbolizes luck, money, health and fidelity.  Some health powers include digestion support/bloating, urinary support, support during menstruation, calms and induces sleep, helps bring balance to circulation.  It zaps zits!  Mix a little milk with ground nutmeg to form a paste and apply it to the trouble spot.  Its anti-inflammatory effects will reduce the redness and puffiness.

OREGANO It grows wild throughout North America (by way of European colonists).  Hippocrates used it as well as its close cousin, marjoram, as an anti-septic.  Romans used as a paste for spider bits.  Aids coughs/asthma, good for headaches, breaks up mucus, oil is good for toothaches, calms digestion.  Oil of Oregano has MAJOR immune building properties.

There are MANY more herbs that we use in the kitchen (or should be), that make our foods taste great AND provide us with non-drug assistance for occasional health imbalances.  The problem is that many people do not use them (just salt and pepper – which also provide some health benefits), in fact they don’t bother to cook much anymore!  I know, because I used to be a Personal Chef!

So, go into your kitchen, find that spice rack or shelf, with all the un-opened jars of spices, and start incorporating them into your health program (and cooking too!)  You will save tons of cash because you won’t have to see the doctor as often!

A typical home's kitchen shelf of spices as wo...

A typical home’s kitchen shelf of spices as would be seen in the United States or Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)