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Archive for the ‘Energetics’ Category

We’ve all heard the saying…”an Apple a Day keeps the doctor away”…right.  The reason behind that may be that apples contain a host of vitamins and minerals, are a good source of dietary fiber as well as vitamin C.  There is also research to indicate that apples may help prevent a host of diseases ranging from diabetes to cancer.  With this said we have to ask ourselves… is an apple food or is it medicine?  Actually, I see them as one in the same, food is medicine.

What about Garlic?  We all know that Garlic is wonderful to cook with, but it also contains a host of nutrients as well as other constituents which benefit the cardiovascular system, are antimicrobial, may help to prevent cancer and improve metabolism of iron.

Culinary herbs and spices added to foods not only help to improve the taste of dishes, but also allow us to incorporate their numerous medicinal benefits to all of our meals.  Cinnamon, fennel, rosemary, thyme or most any culinary herb you can think of has been used as both food and medicine since the beginning of time.   I’ve always had a passion for cooking and as a herbalist I try to get the most out of every meal by adding foods that I know to be healing as well as incorporating as many herbs and spices to my dishes as I can. 

Sometimes it can be really challenging coming up with new recipes that are both tasty and healthy.   Fortunately, I just found out about a class that John Gallagher at Learningherbs.com is hosting on Culinary Herbalism  .  The class will be given by K.P. Khalsa who has over 30 years of experience as a herbalist, is the President of the American Herbalists Guild and the author of several books on natural health.  K.P. Khalsa is presenting this class to teach people how to use herbs as food and to use food as medicine.  This class will also include various meal preparations using therapeutic herbs, over 19 recipes, and lots of information on using herbs to improve and benefit various health conditions. 

One thing I really like about this class is that it is a self paced so you can do it online and at your own pace.  John at Learningherbs.com does such a great job on hosting these events and they are definitely an organization worth supporting.  I’m looking forward to the class and hope you will check it out to see what you think.  Just go to CulinaryHerbalism.com and John has posted a video about the course and more information on K.P. Khalsa.  John is really great at giving away free information and has posted several recipes that will be included in the class.  This class opens tomorrow April 19th and will only be offered through April 23rd so the sooner you get registered the better.

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Blue Camp 005This past week my family and I headed from North Florida where we live to camp in central Alabama. The area is absolutely beautiful and we have made this trip our traditional Thanksgiving adventure. Last year I had discovered a patch of wild roses and had hoped to pick some rosehips to bring home with me. However, much to my dismay the area had been contaminated. The owner on the land is “Round-up” happy. He is on a quest to pretty much destroy most of the wild weeds on his property. This man is the sweetest and most kind hearted man you would want to meet, but he just doesn’t understand that he is poisoning his surroundings. So alas…no rosehips from there anymore. I did, however, discover some Sassafras on a piece of uncontaminated property. The area was about to be cleared so I ask the owner if we could harvest the Sassafras before it got destroyed and he obliged. If you’ve never chewed a leaf off of a Sassafras tree you must. The leaf turns into a jelly like substance. My 7 year old thought it was gross, but he really enjoyed the harvest. He is such a great little apprentice. He is learning so much about health and living naturally. So while we are on the subject of Sassafras I thought I would tell you a little about the wonderful plant.

Sassafras (Sassafras albidum)

Energetics: Spicy, warm

Organ/Meridian affected: lung and kidney

Properties: Aromatic, stimulant, diaphoretic, alterative, anodyne, vasodialator and carminative.

Parts Used: Root bark

Long before it was combined with other herbs and used in patented medicines Sassafras was used in the folk tradition as a spring tonic. As a blood purifier and thinner the root of the plant was used in the early spring as a tonic to be taken after a long winter of eating heavy foods with little physical activity. The leaves can be used as thickener for foods such as gumbo. Sassafras has been used historically to treat high blood pressure, rheumatism, gout and arthritis. Another use for the root is to make root beer.

Simple Root Beer Recipe:

Make an herbal decoction of the root (fresh or dry root) by simmering it for 20 minutes or more depending on how strong you want the flavor. Strain the tea and add a natural sweetener and seltzer or sparkling water for the fizz.

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Ginger RootI would like to introduce you my friend Ginger. What a shapely gal she is. The aroma of the inner flesh to me is just so soothing yet the flavor excites and stimulates. This week has been all about Ginger. She has been center stage for me this week playing a role in my homemade ginger ale and my crystallized ginger. The crystallized ginger turned out yummy. The process took some time but it was definitely worth it. I’m still waiting on the verdict on the ginger ale. I just put it into the refrigerator to stop the yeast from working. I will keep you posted on the outcome.

While we are on the subject of ginger I thought I would tell you a little about her:

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Energetics: Pungent, sweet, warming/drying

Organ/Meridian affected: heart, lung, spleen, kidneys and stomach

Properties: anti-inflammatory, warming, aperitif, carminative, stimulant, stomachic, diaphoretic, antidepressant, expectorant, antiemetic, analgesic, rubefacient, counter-irritant, analgesic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, and tonic.

Parts used: root

Ginger has a long history as a tonic herb used for various ailments. This native to Southeast Asia has an affinity for the digestive system and may help to relieve nausea as well as diminishing gas and to quell motion sickness. Ginger is a mover and helps to improve blood circulation while it’s warmth moves throughout the periphery. Ginger root acts as an anti-inflammatory and can be applied topically to benefit sore muscles and some forms of arthritis. Ginger also acts as an expectorant and can help move mucus out of the lungs.

During cold and flu season Ginger is a wonderful ally. A tea can be made with 1/2 teaspoon of the root to 8 ounces of water. Allow the tea to steep for 20 minutes and strain. Honey and lemon may be added for additional benefits.

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