Spices For Healing

Treating Illnesses with Natural Remedies

You don’t have to resort to stuffing your body full of chemicals and drugs when you get sick.   With the right preventative measures you can usually avoid getting sick altogether.   Obviously sometimes, even if you do everything right, you get sick anyway and without any warning start feeling like the people you see awake all night in the cold and flu medication ads on television.  You might think that it is a good idea to simply drug yourself into a stupor in the hopes of making your flu symptoms go away but this is a terrible idea.   Sure it’s tempting but there are better ways to help yourself feel better and to get over your flu.   If you are looking for something to help ease your cold and flu symptoms and to, hopefully, cure your cold completely there are plenty of natural options available. Here are natural remedies you can try.

Peppers can go a long way toward helping you heal. If you want an easy way to boost your immune system is to eat bell peppers, which are great sources of vitamin C.   Another great cooking item for your health is cayenne pepper, which is fantastic for your sinuses.   A great way to help yourself breathe easier and to relax your sinuses is to put some cayenne pepper in your tea.   A good way to help your body start the healing process is to eat some cayenne pepper, which will heat up your body and make it sweat, which is how the germs and toxins in your system are released.

Vitamin C can be found in lots of places! You can get vitamin C from vegetables too! So, when you’re feeling under the weather load up on salad and greens as well as downing a few glasses of orange juice.   You can also find vitamin C in other citrus fruits like limes and lemons.

Adding bell peppers to your foods is a great idea because bell peppers are another good source of vitamin C !  Adding bell peppers to your meals won’t just enhance the flavor of the food it gives you the nutrients you need to build a strong body that is able to fight off illness.

Ginseng is a very important natural health ingredient.   Ginseng is easy to find-it is available in the natural supplement section of your grocery store and lots of teas have it infused in them as well.  You should not wait until you are sick to fill your home with ginseng;  filling your home ahead of time means that you will be prepared and might even be able to fight off the infection entirely.   When you feel a cold starting to hit you, brew some hot ginseng tea.   In addition to the aid for your immune system, the hot tea can soothe a tired and scratchy throat and even soothe your sinuses.

There is no law that forces you to choose over the counter medication if you catch the flu.   Why not choose from the natural health cures that you have filling your kitchen already ?   Why spend all that time and money standing in the pharmacy aisle if you don’t have to ?  Natural health cures are better for you!


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Rosemary - You Can Grow the Herb RosemaryRosemary is one of those wonderful herbs that makes a beautiful ornamental plant as well as a welcome culinary seasoning. Its Latin name, Rosmarinus officinalis, means “dew of the sea” and rosemary is most closely associated with the cooking of the Mediterranean area. However you don’t need perfect sunshine, sea mist or even a never ending summer to successfully grow rosemary. In fact, more rosemary plants suffer from too much attention than from too little.

Starting a Rosemary Plant

You will make things far easier on yourself if you start with a nursery grown plant. Rosemary can take some time to fill in as a plant, so expect to pay more for a mature plant than for a small rosemary start.

Rosemary is usually propagated by cuttings. Seeds can be difficult to germinate and often don’t grow true to their parent. It’s much faster to start with a cutting and you will be sure of what type of plant you will get. It’s possible to root rosemary in a glass of water, but a bit more effort will give more dependable results.

Snip about a 2 inch cutting from the soft, new growth of an established plant.

Remove the leaves from the bottom inch and dip that tip into a rooting hormone. Rooting hormones can be found in any garden center.

Carefully place the dipped end into a container of dampened, sterile seed starting mix. Choose a mix that says it is well draining, like something containing peat moss with vermiculite or perlite.

Place the container in a warm spot with indirect sunlight.

Mist the cuttings daily and make sure the soil does not dry out.

In about 2-3 weeks, test for root growth by very gently tugging on the cuttings.

Once your cuttings have roots, transplant into individual pots about 3-4 inches in diameter.

Pinch off the very top of the cutting to encourage it to develop branches.

Begin caring for your cutting as a rosemary plant.

This article is from About.com/Rosemary

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Basil Leaf


Basil, or Sweet Basil, is a common name for the culinary herb Ocimum basilicum, of the family Lamiaceae (mints),  sometimes known as Saint Joseph’s Wort in some English-speaking countries.

Basil, originally from India, is best known as a culinary herb prominently featured in Italian cuisine, and also plays a major role in the Northeast Asian cuisine of Taiwan and the Southeast Asian cuisines of Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos.   Depending on the species and cultivar, the leaves may taste somewhat like anise, with a strong, pungent, often sweet smell.

There are many varieties of Ocimum basilicum, as well as several related species or species hybrids also called basil.  The type used in Italian food is typically called sweet basil, as opposed to Thai basil (O. basilicum var. thyrsiflora), lemon basil (O. × citriodorum) and holy basil (Ocimum tenuiflorum), which are used in Asia.   While most common varieties of basil are treated as annuals, some are perennial in warm, tropical climates, including holy basil and a cultivar known as ‘African Blue’.

Basil is originally native to India and other tropical regions of Asia, having been cultivated there for more than 5,000 years.

Per the Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet developed by their Department of Horticulture and Crop Science – Basil is surprisingly easy to grow.   It is easily grown from seed regardless of whether it is started indoors or broadcast outside in the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Basil is very tender and sensitive to frost injury.   For indoor culture, sow seeds in a flat, and cover them with a moistened, sterile mix to a depth not more than twice the size of the seed. Space seeds 3/8 to 1/2 inch apart in the flat.   Maintain a soil temperature of approximately 70 degrees F. Once germination begins, at 5 to 7 days, the plantlets must be kept warm at 70 degrees F or above and the soil must be kept moist.   When seedlings have at least 2 pairs of true leaves, transplant them to 2 inch pots.

Basils grow best in a sunny location and need a well-drained, rich soil.   Plants started indoors and hardened off in May can be planted outside to their permanent location and spaced about 12 inches apart.  Since moisture is important to a good basil crop, mulching the area will not only discourage weeds but will maintain the moisture level of the soil keeping the plant healthy.   Basil prefers a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Fertilize basil sparingly as this decreases the fragrant oils.   To encourage a bushy, healthy plant and to maximize production, don’t be afraid to prune basil.   Pinch off the flower buds as soon as they begin to emerge.   Basil will usually have to be pruned every 2 to 3 weeks.

The ideal time to harvest basil and other herbs that are to be dried, is on a sunny morning immediately after the dew has evaporated and before the day becomes too warm.   When harvesting basil, cut it back to about 1/4 inch above a node.   Leave enough foliage on the plant so it can continue growing healthy.

There are several methods you can use to dry basil; all methods are relatively simple.   First dry basil in small bunches by hanging them upside down in a dark, dry, warm, well ventilated room.   Use twine, rubber bands or twist ties to hold the bundles together.   Second, you can dry basil leaves on screens placed outside in the shade on a hot day.   Cover them with cheesecloth to keep the leaves from blowing away.   Still another method of drying is on a low setting in the microwave.  Lay basil on a paper towel and cover it with a paper towel.   It could take up to 3 minutes to dry basil in the microwave. S  top periodically throughout the drying process to turn the basil to help promote quicker drying and to avoid burning.  It is very difficult to dry herbs without burning them because of hot spots in the microwave.  If you smell the herb as it’s drying, chances are you have lost many of the fragrant oils.   After drying the basil, store in a sealed, preferably dark container away from the heat.

In addition to the drying methods mentioned above, you can also preserve basil by freezing it in ice cubes (nearest to fresh taste when added to cooked foods), putting fresh leaves in vinegar or oil (most useful in salad dressing), and blending it with oil, cheese, and pine nuts, (walnuts or sunflower seeds) to make pesto.  Pesto freezes well for six months.  Be sure to “seal” your pesto with a layer of olive oil. Dark opal basil makes a beautiful, tangy purple vinegar.  Putting herbs in vinegar captures their flavor for the months when fresh herbs are not available.

Basils can be used in the herb garden, flower garden, as borders plants, in containers, raised beds, and in hanging baskets.

Each variety of basil can add an accent to a garden: dark opal offers stunning purple foliage and mauve flowers; the miniature or bush basil is especially attractive for borders; the ruffled varieties (O. basilicum ‘PurpleRuffles’ and O. basilicum ‘Green RuMes’) offer unique textures.

Bring the wonderful fragrance of basil indoors by incorporating them in potpourris, sachets, and dried winter bouquets.  The heavily scented opal basil and the sweet scented thyrsiflora basil are particularly good.  Other fragrant varieties include: lemon, anise and cinnamon basils.

The best flavor is found in fresh leaves, but frozen and dried leaves are worth the effort also.  The leaves can be used cooked or raw.  Crush, chip or mince the leaves and add to recipes, or add whole leaves to salads.  Sprigs of basil make a wonderfully aromatic garnish.  The flowers are beautiful, edible, and also make a unique garnish.

Basil is traditional in Italian, Mediterranean andThai cookery.  It is superb with veal, lamb, fish, poultry, whitebeans, pasta, rice, tomatoes, cheese and eggs.  It blends well with garlic, thyme and lemon.   Basil adds zip to mild vegetables like zucchini, summer squash, eggplant, potatoes, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, spinach and to the soups, stews and sauces in which these vegetables appear, and to add to its versatility, basil is also one of the ingredients in the liqueur chartreuse.


Drying Basil Leaves

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thyme varieties facts herbs receipts

The website Summer months are usually offer the best availability for fresh thyme.
Choose fresh herbs that have good green color; avoid those that are wilted. Packaged seasonings lose quality after a while.  Try to buy from a store that restocks its fresh herb section fairly often.

Refrigerate fresh thyme in damp paper towels over wrapped in plastic.   Stored this way, thyme will keep for up to one week.   Store dried thyme and ground thyme in a cool, dark, dry place.   Dried thyme will keep up to one year, ground thyme up to six months.


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