Cardamom is common spice found in most kitchens. It comes in the form of either green pods full of seeds, just the seeds, or ground into a powder. The scientific name for cardamom is Elettaria cardamomum. It is a plant native to India. The pods are green or brown and when opened contain many little black seeds which exude a wonderfully pleasant aroma when crushed.
My favorite way of using cardamom is to buy the pods in bulk and grind the seeds by hand with a mortar and pestle at the time of use. This method preserves the oils in the seeds. Cardamom can be used in many recipes such as curries and also in many Scandinavian baked goods such as breads and cookies.
The health benefits of cardamom are many. They include improving cardiovascular health, assisting in digestion, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, some suggest that cardamom may help with depression. Along with the benefits are certain caveats. Some people may be allergic to cardamom. In addition, cardamom may have some drug interactions with specific medications such as antidepressants, liver medications, anticoagulants and aspirin. Contact your physician prior to starting any herbal remedies.
Spicy Cardamom Tea
This is a lovely spiced tea that features cardamom.
4 Cups of pure water- bring to a boil
Add the following:
1TBS of crushed cardamom seeds
3 whole cloves
3 pepper corns
1 cinnamon stick
2 slices of orange with the rind
Steep for 20 min and add honey to sweeten
Strain into a teapot or teacups
Good news, everyone! Coffee has many health benefits. We hear and read a lot about the health benefits of tea, but now we know that coffee can benefit you as well. According to current research, coffee can be incorporated into a healthful diet. Just be careful of all the add ins such as cream, artificial creamers and sugars. For all you coffee lovers out there, here are a few health facts regarding the benefits of coffee. Please keep in mind that this is not medical advice.
Coffee may have a beneficial impact on diabetes. According to the USDA, moderate coffee consumption is associated with a decreased risk of Type II diabetes.
Coffee may be liver protective. In particular, moderate coffee consumption may protect the liver from liver damage associated with alcohol consumption due to its antioxidants.
Coffee may reduce the risk of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease in males and Alzheimer’s disease in females. Alkaloid compounds and antioxidants found in coffee may be responsible for these beneficial effects.
Coffee may be associated with reduced mortality. The literature shows that coffee may reduce the risk of “all-cause” mortality and some specific causes of mortality such as coronary heart disease. However, the literature is mixed and should be interpreted with caution.
Moderate coffee consumption can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. But, be aware that high caffeine consumption can result in irregular heartbeats and high blood pressure.
Enjoy your coffee and stay healthy!
Pourshahidi, L et al(2016). A comprehensive overiview of the risks and benefits of coffee consumption. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 15(4). 671-684.
USDA (2015). Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. Retrieved from https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/PDFs/Scientific-Report-of-the-2015-Dietary-Guidelines-Advisory-Committee.pdf
Make Throat Soothers: Soothing Throat Pills If you’re on the lookout for throat pain remedies, make these super-simple Soothing Throat Pills. They treat throat infections like sore throats and laryngitis. By Rosemary Gladstar These Soothing Throat Pills work wonders for sore throat, laryngitis and other infections of the throat or mouth. • 2 parts […]
Smoothies and homemade juices are an excellent way to get your fruits, veggies and nutrition. They are easy to make and ingredients can be prepared ahead of time to make preparation convenient. Smoothie blends and juices can be made to address different health issues. Examples include blood sugar regulation, inflammation reduction and weight loss. The other benefit of making your own smoothies is that there is no added sugar or hidden ingredients. I learned the hard way that supposedly healthy, naturally sweetened smoothies from some smoothie shops can be full of “natural” sugars and can result in an increased blood sugar if you are diabetic and unnecessary calories.
To create great smoothies, you will need some type of blender or extractor. There are many options available. Personally, I use a Nutribullet extractor for juices and smoothies. It is easy to use and easy to clean up and I like that the fiber remains in the juice. You will need to develop a good system for your ingredients to make it really easy create smoothies and juices. I recommend experimenting with different recipes. Once you find several that you like, put the ingredients for the smoothies into individual serving freeze bags, label and freeze. In this way, you can freeze your fruits, veggies, fresh herbs and greens. When you want a smoothie, pull out the pack of your choice, add the extras such as almond milk, yogurt, nuts and seeds and blend away. These will last about a month in your freezer. I also like to freeze my ingredients so I don’t have to add ice to the smoothie.
Here are a couple of my favorite recipes to get your started.
Spinach or Kale- should make up about 1/3 of the smoothie indgredients
Several slices of peeled ginger root
½ banana – optional (adds a nice texture)
½ cup of Greek yogurt
Almond or soy milk- enough to get the texture that you like
Spinach or Kale
1 stalk celery
4 or 5 thick slices of cucumber
½ of a small granny smith apple
Several slices of peeled fresh ginger.
Enough cold water to cover if you are using an extractor.
This juice is great with fresh or frozen ingredients. It can be made in an extractor or a juicer.
Peeled orange- half a big orange or two small mandarin oranges
Frozen mixed berries
½ cup Greek yogurt
Almond milk to achieve the texture you desire
I hope you enjoy these smoothies!
Yesterday, I received a gift of red tiger’s eye chakra beads. Originating in Asian and Indian cultures, chakra beads are bracelets which are intended to keep the seven chakras (energy centers) in balance and healthy. Many different healing stones can be used to balance the chakra and are linked to a chakra points. The following chart illustrates some selected points and stones.
|Root||Red and black stones such as garnet, jasper, and smoky quartz.|
|Sacral||Yellow and orange stones- carnelian, tiger’s eye, and sunstone.|
|Solar Plexus||Yellow stones- citrine, yellow jasper, and rutilated quartz.|
|Heart||Green and pink stones- aventurine, or rose quartz.|
|Throat||Blue stones- angelite, sodalite and aquamarine.|
|Third Eye||Dark blue and purple stones- amethyst, fluorite, and lolite.|
|Crown||Clear and white stones- moonstone or quartz|
From: Charka Stones Chart
Tiger’s eye is said to be a protection stone. It enhances characteristics such as integrity, confidence, pragmatism, will power and the correct use of leadership or influential power. Tiger’s eye also augments good luck and brings monetary prosperity. With regard to the chakra, Tiger’s eye is associated with the root, sacral and solar plexus chakras.
The root chakra, located at the base of the spine, controls movement and sensation. From a spiritual perspective the root is associated with strength and spiritual energy.
The sacral chakra is located below the naval and above the pelvis. Physically, the sacral chakra controls energy flow and is the center of gravity for the body. Spiritually, a balanced sacral chakra results in grace, a positive attitude, and flexibility to adapt to different situations.
Meditation is a wonderful, relaxing way to gain the benefit of tiger’s eye. Consider moving types of meditation is tai chi or walking meditation such as a labyrinth to maximize the effects of the stone. In addition, wear tiger’s eye jewelry or a talisman daily.
Cinnamon is amazing and has many healing properties associated with its antioxidant nature. According to WebMD, the health benefits of cinnamon, could include lowering blood sugar in diabetics and decreasing inflammation. Particularly, studies have found that cinnamon improves symptoms associated with metabolic syndrome such as weight gain, insulin resistance, and increased lipids (Bolin, Q et al, 2010).
The cinnamon we use is from the bark of the Cinnamomum tree, which is from the laurel family. It is native to subtropical and tropical regions of the world. It can be grown in hardiness zones 8-10 which includes parts of California, South Texas and Florida.
There are 2 species of cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is the more common cinnamon and it is important note that cassia cinnamon contains coumarin and could cause unwanted effects if taken in large doses. Also note that the information in this article is not medical advice. You should visit a healthcare provider and check with your provider regarding drug interactions prior to taking any herbal supplements.
There are many easy ways to add cinnamon to your diet. Adding cinnamon to oatmeal or granola is a great way to start the day. Cinnamon tea is easy to make and in addition to the lovely aroma that fills your house, it is very tasty.
Easy Cinnamon Tea
4 cups boiling water
2 bags of high quality black tea
1 orange cut into slices
1 cinnamon stick
Bring the water to a boil and then remove from heat. Add the tea, orange slices and cinnamon stick. Let these steep together for 10 minutes. Serve hot or iced.
The ginger root is a common element in cooking and belongs to the same family turmeric. However, it has a surprisingly wide variety of healthful and healing properties. Ginger is well-known as a digestive aid and remedy for nausea and stomach upset. Personally, I suffer from sea-sickness and homemade ginger ale provides a lot of relief.
You can use ginger in many forms. Ginger capsules are readily available to purchase and fresh ginger root is also very easy to find. Tubes of ginger paste are also easy to find in the produce section of the grocery store.
Fresh Ginger Water
Fresh ginger water is an effective way to use ginger to decrease stomach upset and promote good digestion. Ginger water can be used either hot or cold.
Arnica is an herbaceous plant that has been used for several hundred years for topical healing and in homeopathic preparations. Arnica tinctures and creams are used for topical healing of bruises, sprains, insect bites, muscle aches, and swelling. Arnica should never be taken internally. In homeopathic form, arnica is highly diluted. Avoid using arnica on open cuts or wounds.
The plant belongs to the sunflower family and grows to a height of 1 to 2 feet and has bright yellow, daisy-like flowers. It is a perennial and grows well in hardiness zones 4-9 and can be grown from seed. Arnica is not drought tolerant and prefers well-drained, alkaline soil.
Please note that the information in this article is not medical advice. You should visit a healthcare provider and check with your provider regarding drug interactions prior to using any herbal supplement.
Arnica flowers can be purchased and you can make your own gels, ointments, gels and tinctures. Here one easy recipe to get you started.
Herbal oils are easy to make and store. The following recipe can be adapted to any herb you wish to use topically. To make arnica oil, you will need the following:
Dried arnica blossoms
Mason jar with lid
Bottle with lid
Fill a mason jar with arnica flowers and cover with olive oil. Leave a little room at the top. Cover and put in a warm place for two to three weeks. Strain and pour into a bottle for use.
You can add other herbs such as lavender to complement the arnica.
I was able to experience Hurricane Harvey on a personal level. The eye of Harvey passed over the area where I live. One thing I noticed was the increased number of headaches my co-workers were experiencing and the increase in aches and pains from arthritis and old injuries. At first, I wondered if it was the stress of the experience, but I began to wonder if the significantly low barometric pressure was somehow responsible. I did a little research and found that, indeed, the weather impacts health in ways you would think about. According to WebMD, falling barometric pressure can trigger headaches. When combined with high humidity and changes in temperatures (all of which occur in a hurricane) migraines can be triggered. Low barometric pressure can also decrease blood pressure, increase the risk of an irregular heart rhythm and create sinus pressure, exacerbating pre-existing symptoms from sinus infections and allergies (Berkley Wellness.com, Weather.com).
Changing seasons, hot weather, and air pollution can trigger asthma and allergies.
Although much of the research linking weather and climate to health issues is new and has mixed results, being aware of potential health issues can help us find ways to deal them ahead of time.