Beautiful herbs, for culinary use and medicine.

Not only do herbs add flavor to our food, herbs are also a wonderful, natural medicine. Let’s look at the four most common herbs grown in gardens today. Oregano, Rosemary, Basil, and Thyme.

Oregano tastes wonderful in spaghetti sauce, pizza, stews, and soups, but did you know if you take a handful of fresh leaves and pour boiling water over them it makes a wonderful tea for anyone suffering from a cold? Oregano has anti-bacterial  qualities that inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is also a powerful antioxidant as it contains many phytonutrients including thymol and rosmarinic acid, both of which prevent oxygen-based damage to cell structures all throughout our bodies. All of this and it is a good source of fiber and a wonderful source of vitamins!

Oregano is a perennial herb which means it will continue to grow yearly. It is sometimes touted as the world’s healthiest food!

Fresh oregano is preferable to the dried as it has more flavor. It is also easy to grow and propagate annually. 

Rosemary is well known to boost memory and improve one’s  mood, it also reduces inflammation, relieves pain, Is a protector of the immune system, It stimulates circulation, helps detoxify the body and helps  protect the body from bacterial infections,

Rosemary is full of flavor and aroma, but it is also a wealth of beneficial health effects if you add it regularly to your diet. Just the aroma of rosemary alone has been known to reduce stress and improve memory. Rosemary is also an excellent breath freshener, just steep some leaves in a cup of hot water then gargle and swish to eliminate bacteria and give yourself the freshest breath!

H. pylori bacteria is the bacteria that can cause stomach ulcers, but studies show that rosemary has been shown to prevent its growth when consumed. Rosemary is also linked to preventing Staph infections.

Rosemary is slightly diuretic in nature, so it can help flush toxins out of your body more efficiently during urination.

Most recipes call for rosemary leaves, which can be easily removed from the stem, by gripping the stem and running your fingers down it. You can even add the whole sprig to season your soups and stews. 

Use fresh or dried rosemary in eggs, use it to season chicken and lamb, even add it to butter or oil for a fresh dipping sauce for bread.

Basil Baby! If you only buy a few herbs, basil should be one of them. Its fragrant essence combines well with other herbs like rosemary and thyme. Basil provides the body with vitamin A, which contains beta-carotenes, these are powerful antioxidants that protect the cells lining, as well as a number of other body structures, including blood vessels, from free radical damage. This preventative measure keeps cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.

Basil is wonderful in meat dishes, with fish, vegetables, soup, eggs, and even cheese. It is one of the main ingredients in pesto, along with pine nuts and parmesan cheese.

Basil is one of my favorites herbs because it has so many uses. Everything from soups to sandwiches is simply better with the addition of its fresh, full-flavored leaves. It also contains oils and flavonoids that protect the body from illness and infection. Very small concentrations can kill harmful bacteria, but still be very beneficial, even preventing atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.

Basil is known to help with asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Basil is also a good source of magnesium, which we all need more of since the soil has become so depleted. Magnesium promotes cardiovascular health by helping muscles and blood vessels to relax, thus improving blood flow.

Thyme is an evergreen shrub that has been used in medicinal and culinary applications for thousands of years.

It has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations in any herb, thyme has been praised for thousands of years as an overall health booster. The antioxidants in thyme eliminate free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are dangerous to your healthy cells by causing spontaneous mutation.  Antioxidants like these help to prevent oxidative stress in all of your organ systems, and neural pathways, also your heart, eyes, and skin.

Thyme has a high concentration of iron making it ideal for the production of red blood cells,

Circulation: The high concentration of iron and other essential minerals in thyme make it ideal for stimulating the production of red blood cells, thereby boosting your body’s circulations and the oxygenation of essential organ systems and extremities throughout the body.

Heart Health: All of the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins in thyme have many small effects on the heart, but the potassium and manganese are particularly important. Potassium is a vasodilator, meaning that it can reduce the stress on the cardiovascular system by relaxing blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. This can extend your life by preventing atherosclerosis and avoiding strokes, heart attacks, and coronary heart disease.

Vision Booster: With carotenoids and vitamin A that are found in thyme, it is no wonder that it makes it an effective antioxidant agent for your eye health. Carotenoids can neutralize the free radicals in your ocular system and slow the onset of macular degeneration and prevent cataracts!

Immune System: Vitamin C is abundantly found in sage making it a natural immune booster. It stimulates the production of white blood cells, Your body’s first line of defense. Vitamin C also plays a crucial part in the production of collagen, which is essential for the creation and repair of cells, muscles, tissues, and blood vessels.

Reduce Stress: Vitamin B6 helps certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are linked to stress hormones. Implementing thyme in your diet can help to boost your mood and ease your stress.

Respiratory Issues: One of the most well known and long-standing uses for thyme in traditional medicine is as a respiratory health agent. If you are suffering from bronchitis, chronic asthma, congestion, colds, flus, blocked sinuses, or seasonal allergies, thyme acts as an expectorant and an anti-inflammatory substance, eliminating phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tracts, easing inflammation to help breathing, and prevent microbial development that can lead to illness. Thyme leaf tea is a powerful tonic for respiratory ailments.

A Final Word of Warning: For those with sensitive stomachs, high intake of thyme can cause gastrointestinal distress, but generally, this herb is not known as an allergenic substance and can be consumed regularly in your diet.

So there are four ways for you to get not only wonderful flavouring for your food but a little medicine that will go a long way!

http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=73

Get out of the Grocery store

farmers-market-local-produce-520What is with the grocery stores these days? It is the place we all go to shop for food, but I find that there is little actual food in these stores. Have you stopped to read the labels on some of the products in there? It’s frightening! For me my rule of thumb is, if I can’t read it, it isn’t food and I am not going to be eating it or feeding it to my family.

With all the marketing and clever disguises the food companies assault us with it is no wonder disease is on the rise. We are no longer eating food we are eating food like substances.

So what are our options?  Some people say that eating local and organic is expensive or that they don’t have time to make meals. Have you calculated the cost of being sick lately? A little prep time once a week goes a long way in terms of eating healthy and getting healthy meals out to your family in a timely manner.

Here are some other options for frugal and healthy shoppers, that want to vote with their dollars and get away from the grocery store nightmare.

  • Join a food co-op or CSA (community supported agriculture) -this is a great option a real tangible way to vote with your dollars.  You can signup and receive weekly fresh produce from the people in your community. With co ops, they will require a membership or volunteer time in lieu of payment. Definitely a great alternative to the traditional grocery store.
  • Grow food in your space plant in containers of all kinds, vertical gardening is a wonderful way to utilize space, find a sunny window sill to grow kitchen herbs or turn your backyard into an urban farm!  Not only is gardening cheaper than therapy but you get tomatoes and you know exactly where your food is coming from and what went into it.
  • In season produce– cheaper and nutritionally superior, this is the way to go for healthy and frugal shoppers alike and when it’s local you are helping your community. If you buy too much you can always blanch, freeze, dehydrate or can your extras for the winter months.
  • Buy local– change your shopping habits and buy from your local farmers. You get to know where your food is coming from and get to know and support the people in your community. Find a local farmer here http://croptouring.com/
  • Buy your staples in bulk– buying in bulk quantities reduces the prices to lower or equal to the prepackaged items found in a traditional grocery store.
  • Forage– this is one of my personal favorites as there is so much food/medicine out there that we overlook every day. Lots of greens, berries, fruits and something for every ailment. After all our mother earth is here to sustain us. Don’t forget tho if you are taking from her it is a good idea to give back. I like composting as my giveback to the earth.

With making these few changes we are voting with our dollars and saying no to harmful pesticides, chemicals, gmo’s and artificial processed ingredients. Say no to the traditional way of shopping and get involved with your community at the same time.

 

3 Natural Antibiotics that you can grow in your Vibrant garden!

I don’t know about you but I find it is scary knowing that there are antibiotic resistant super bugs out there. Today i am going to look at what kind of natural antibiotics we can use to help us when we are sick. After all, as Hippocrates said,  “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”

GarlicGarlic

Even though garlic is such small vegetable, it packs a huge punch when it comes to antibiotic properties. Garlic also transforms meals into a aromatic, bold and healthy experiences. I have even eaten garlic in ice cream… and it was delicious!

Garlic is a “bulb,” it is a couple of inches in height and diameter and has numerous small separate cloves. You can plant garlic cloves in the fall and cover with straw and it will come up in the spring, it will spiral around and produce beautiful scapes that garlic-scapescan be eaten just like the garlic itself.

When garlic is crushed, chewed or chopped it allows the sulfur containing compounds to mix and create a new compound called allicin. Allicin is very valuable in terms of health benefits. It has been associated with having antibacterial and anticancer properties, along with cardiovascular benefits.

Crushing the garlic and allowing it to sit for 5 – 10 minutes will allow the compounds to interact and create the valuable allicin.

You can purchase dried, powdered and fresh garlic in markets throughout the year, however, fresh is best! And if you are growing it yourself, bundling it and hanging it in a cool spot, it will keep for the year until your new crop sprouts up in the spring!

Echinacea_Prairie_SplendorEchinacea

This is a popular wildflower and garden plant, the purple coneflower as it is also known as, is also a popular herbal products. It has been used to prevent and treat the colds,  influenza and infections. Echinacea is one of the most researched of immunostimulants.

It was also one of the most popular herbs used by Native American Indians. They used Echinacea for coughs, colds, sore throats, infections, inflammations, tonsillitis and toothaches just to name a few.

Some people can experience an allergic reaction to echinacea if they are already allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds or any other members of the daisy family.   

You can also grow this in your vibrant garden and harvest it to make teas, tinctures and compresses.

 

Oregano_02Oregano and the oil of oregano

Oregano… not just a spice for tomato sauce and pizza. This versatile herb has long been used as a medicine as well.

It has been used for respiratory disorders like coughs, asthma and bronchitis. It has also been used to treat gastrointestinal disorders like heartburn and bloating. Other uses include treating menstrual cramps, urinary tract infections and headaches.

Amazing right? Well that is not all!

Oil of oregano is a staple in my medicine cabinet. It is known to be taken orally for parasites, allergies, sinus pain colds and flu. Just a few drops under your tongue is usually enough to do the trick.

The oil can also be used topically to relieve the itch of insect and spider bites as well as to relieve athlete’s’ foot, canker sores and dandruff.  I like to mix it in carrier oil for massages to relieve muscle pain.

All of this and you can grow it in your own backyard! In the fall you can trim it, bundle it and let it dry, then store it in a glass container to have on hand throughout the winter season!

Cold Season

Flu or Cold. Sneezing Woman Sick Blowing NoseNot only is it cold outside, sometimes we catch it on the inside too! I don’t enjoy feeling stuffed up and fevery… so what are we to do when the nasty cold and flu bugs are flying around and we want to protect ourselves or heal ourselves from catching one of these nasty bugs?

First you should be washing your hands. Not with sanitizers but with old fashioned soap and water. Also be aware of touching your face and ears as this is how some bugs get into your body.

Preventative foods are super important. Boosting your immune system with echinacea and goldenseal root is a wonderful place to start at the beginning of the season. Did you know that some studies indicate that taking echinacea while you are sick can reduce sick time by half?

Oil of oregano is also wonderful to take if the people around you are sick. Although you don’t want to take too much of this as it can disrupt your good gut flora.

When you are full blown sick… plenty of rest and liquids is your best bet. You don’t want just any liquids tho.. you are going to want something to kick that nasty bugs butt!

Water is a must! You will need water to flush out your system and keep you hydrated.

Infusions (not to be mistaken for tea) with a little honey will keep you warm and hydrated, whle the honey will help with it’s antiseptic properties and if you have a sore throat.

Fresh squeezed juices are wonderful if you are feeling up to making them, or if you have someone who will make them for you. 😉

Having coconut water on hand is good as it contains essential electrolytes, and is another great source of hydration.

Tins of fruit like mandarins, peaches, applesauce and fruit salad.  These are all a good source of not only fluid, but vitamins and sugars.

Other things you may need when you’re sick are Tylenol or Advil to reduce fever, Vapor rub, vitamin C, Favorite blanket/ pillow, heating pad, flannel jammies, tissues, garbage can/bag, pre made soups that you have frozen previously and can take out and reheat as needed.

Remember, you are sick and no one else wants your sickness no matter how much they love you.

Take this time to be sick. Let it run it’s course and baby yourself back to your vibrant self accordingly.

Check our recipes page for our chicken soup, egg drop soup and elderberry syrup to keep you healthy this flu and cold season!

 

A beautiful healthy healing broth

I am a firm believer in that food is the best medicine. This is a broth from Henry G. Bieler who was a prominent American physician and author who wrote, “Food is Your Best Medicine”. In his book he advocates for the treatment of disease with foods.

This is a gentle way to detox either on it’s own or as a compliment to your juice fast.

Ingredients

  • 4 medium  or two large zucchinis, chopped
  • 3 cups string beans
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 2 bunches of parsley
  • 1 litre filtered water
  • sea salt
  • (optional) ghee

Preparation

Place water,  chopped zucchini, string beans, ends removed and chopped celery in a stock pot.

Bring to a boil, turn down the temperature and then simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until vegetables are softened but not over cooked.  Pour the mixture into a blender, add some parsley and blend. The liquid will be quite hot so be sure to hold onto the lid.

This batch of broth will create several blender batches. Have some jars or other containers on hand to fill as you blend. To thicken and enhance the broth add ghee.

Creative design from the South

Get in touch with us!