Healing Kitchen Herbs

We usually think that basil is used only flavor to our pesto, soups and stews, or that cinnamon is only to be sprinkled on a baked apple. These herbs are usually used to cook our favorite dishes. Using them to treat an upset stomach or to cleanse our system was virtually unheard of; however, our grandmothers and great grandmothers have long used what is called kitchen herbs for healing all types of aliments.

Ginger (Zingiber Officinale)

Ginger has been recently added to certain products that you probably have seen in the market. Most likely you’ve made ginger tea, drunk ginger ale or tasted gingerbread cookies, but have you ever used ginger root when you have a loss of appetite, digestive problems (such as flatulence or bloating), or to prevent motion sickness?

Ginger is a creeping tuberous rhizome perennial that is indigenous to southeastern Asia and is cultivated in the U.S., India, China, Africa, Japan, the Dutch East Indies and the West Indies. The Chinese have been using ginger therapeutically for more than 2,000 years. The Japanese serve ginger slices between sushi courses to cleanse the palate and aid digestion. In the fourth century, Greek bakers were using ginger imported from the Far East to make gingerbread. The Spanish were cultivating ginger as early as the 16th century, and the conquistadors introduced it to the New World via Jamaica. It became so popular among Europeans that in 1884 Great Britain imported over 5 million pounds of the root.

Today, ginger is used in many different forms to cure different aliments. Some researchers believe that ginger may help to prevent strokes, heart disease, and arteriosclerosis (heardening of the arteries). Taken hot, ginger tea promotes circulation and cleanses the system through perspiration. Pour one cup of boiling water onto one teaspoonful of the fresh ginger root or ginger powder and let it infuse for five minutes. Drink it hot, one to two cups a day. If you like to use the tincture, you can mix 15 drops of extract in one cup of warm water. This drink can be taken up to three times daily. Ginger is also available in a capsule form, which can be taken one to three times per day. But beware of using large doses of this herb. Ginger may create an adverse reaction if you are taking anticoagulants, or if you have peptic ulcers, morning sickness, or bleeding disorders.

Cayenne or Capsicum (Capsicum frutescens)

When was the last time you used hot sauce on your hot wings? Did you know that hot sauce contains a chili pepper by the name of Cayenne that can aid in treating arthritis? Most people do not associate Cayenne with medicinal herbs but it has been used to treat muscle pains, headaches and soothe indigestion.

Cayenne, otherwise known as Capsicum, is a perennial plant shrub that grows in the native tropical regions of America. It is an annual when cultivated outside tropical zones. Cayenne is best grown in Africa, Asia, South America, West Indies, Hungary, East Indies, and Central America. However, high quality cayenne can be produced in good quantity in the Southern United States, especially the states that lie along the southern line of Tennessee.

The history of Cayenne is very interesting, due to its pungent, hot, spicy flavor. Since 7,000 BC the Cayenne pepper was native to northeastern coastal areas of South America and was used in folk medicine. The name Cayenne was derived from the Greek word meaning to bite. The hot pepper first appeared in history books in 1493, when Peter Martyn wrote of its arrival in Italy after Columbus’s voyage. It appeared in the West from India in 1548 and was known as Ginnie Pepper. In the 19th century, the pepper was used by physiomedicalists for chills, rheumatism, and depression.

Cayenne pepper can be taken orally or externally as a lineament. Cayenne capsules are available and you can take one capsule one to three times daily. There are prepared teas available or you can make your own tea by pouring one cup of hot water onto 1′ teaspoonful of cayenne and infuse it for 10 minutes. Be careful of excessive consumption, which can cause gastroenteritis and kidney or liver damage. Persons that are pregnant, breastfeeding, have hemorrhoids and gastrointestinal problems should not use Cayenne Peppers because it may cause irritation. Do not use the seeds since they are toxic.

Look into your cabinets and see what spices you have available. The next time you have a bad headache or infrequent gas pains, try some of the herbs on your kitchen spice rack.

The ideas, procedures, and suggestions contained in this article are not intended to replace the services of a trained health professional, and you should consult your physician before adopting any of these procedures. All matters regarding your health require medical supervision. Any applications of the treatments set forth in this article are at the reader’s discretion.

About the author

Denine Rogers, Director and Founder of Living Healthy, is a registered dietician and host of Living Healthy on People TV. Contact Denine at livinghealthyonline @yahoo.com.

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About Dee Braun

Dee is an Adv. Certified Aromatherapist, Reiki Master, Adv. Color/Crystal Therapist, Herbalist, Dr. of Reflexology and single mom who is dedicated to helping others any way she can. One way she chooses to help is by offering information on the benefits and uses of natural health and healing methods for the well-being of both people and pets. Dee also teaches Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Color/Crystal Therapy at the Alternative Healing Academy

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