Dec 9, 2014

Kitchen Herbs and Homeopathic Remedies

When religion was strong and medicine was weak, men mistook magic for medicine; Now when science is strong and religion is weak, men mistake medicine for magic.
  • Thomas Szasz, The Second Sin
Doctors and patients today have returned to the knowledge of homeopathic medicine, the ancient world of herbs and spices as preventives and methods of maintaining the needs for a healthy body. 
Herbology (Herbalism) has become a scientific genre, not just something listed in a Harry Potter novel. Indeed, there are courses one can take on the subject and even obtain a degree.
The American Herbalist Guild has listed credited schools. Of course, these herbs and spices also have a place in the kitchen for food preparation, as it has for centuries. Containers for keeping herbs and spices, both for home or the Herbal Shop, once known as the Apothecary that can still be found in places in the United States, especially in the United Kingdom. 
Rose & Co. Apothecary still operating in England (UK)
You can still find Apothecary cabinets today, as well as original antique cabinets and other items if you prefer nostalgic furniture for collectors. There are plans to build your own apothecary cabinets. Some herbal cabinets available today can be quite decorative.
Chinese acupuncture has finally been accepted by the American medical community, as well as Native American herbal remedies and treatments being listed and approved by the FDA and treatments by the American Cancer Society. These are listed as part of holistic medicine.
Ancient wisdom has been passed down to the modern age in preparation and administering herbal remedies and treatments. For example, turmeric is mentioned in the Indian Vedas and provides information as to how to increase the effectiveness of turmeric by cooking with cumin, coriander seed, and red chili powder. Blending herbs to make remedies and treatments is part of integrative medicine.
The oldest healing system comes from ancient India written in Sanskrit the Ayurveda texts that is 5,000 years old. Studies showed, however, that one must be cautious as to the source of such holistic products. For example, Indian manufactured medicines sold via the Internet have been found to contain poisonous toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury and arsenic. “Ayur” means “life” in Sanskrit. Ancient Greek, Tibetan, and Chinese medicine used the Ayurvedic medical texts as reference. The US Food and Drug Administration does not approve of most of the Ayurvedic herbal products, the Yoga meditation and massage techniques not included.
Some common herbs that are used in the kitchen also are beneficial for health and healing:
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Garlic: It contains a compound allicin which gives the garlic its unique sharp odor is also part of the garlic clove that is medicinal. For centuries, garlic has been used for anything from snake bites to hypertension. However, modern research has disproved those old uses for garlic, but also has found it does benefit heart disease, hypertension, and reduces cholesterol. Studies have shown that is also lowers the risk of certain cancers that include cancer of the stomach and colon, as well as slow down hardening of the arteries. It is not recommended for those who have a peptic ulcer. Side effects include body odor and bad breath. The common daily dose is 4gm of fresh garlic or 8mg of garlic oil daily. In the Mediterranean countries, garlic is used profusely in their cooking recipes. Other benefits of garlic is preventing and treating the common cold by serving garlic soup. It is useful for asthma and other respiratory problems, an ancient remedy being 5 garlic cloves boiled in 30 gm of milk. Garlic is also used as a fungicide in a local application for fungal skin infections. Recently it has been found beneficial for diabetes, its prevention and the ability to improve insulin resistance.
Warm garlic oil massaged on the scalp is believed to prevent and treat hair loss, but this has not been proven.
Green Tea: Common kitchen herb that is beneficial and has been used in Asia for 5,000 years. Its medically recognized benefits include: reducing cancer risk, decreasing cholesterol, as well as weight loss. The FDA has approved using green tea solution to clear genital warts. It also helps and prevents Parkinson's disease, diabetes mellitus, stroke, and hepatitis. Green Tea is often part of a combined mixture of herbs like ginger, turmeric, Bishop's Weed, and honey.
Flax and its seed are beneficial, an herb originating in Egypt, but also grows naturally in Canada and the northwestern United States. Flaxseed oil is made from the flaxseed. Primarily used as a laxative, it also helps with hot flashes and arthritis. Both flaxseed and flaxseed oil is beneficial in reducing cholesterol levels as well as helping to prevent cancer. Few side effects have been reported; however, taking large amounts can cause bloating, gas, and diarrhea. In addition, flaxseed or flaxseed oil should not be taken with medications or other dietary supplements because it lowers the body's ability to absorb medications taken orally.
One of the Native American medicines approved by the FDA is Black Cohosh, once a home remedy in the 19th century. The dried roots and rhizomes were used. It is used for menopause and menstrual irregularities, and arthritis.
Want to help lower your blood pressure? Take psyllium fiber (husks) with soy protein daily. It also helps with diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Side effects of some herbs can be reduced by knowing proper dosage, for example the use of cinnamon. Some people can suffer a reaction by ingesting too much cinnamon at one time.
There is an ample supply of books on Herbology, recipes, and dosage on the market; popular among homesteaders who grow their own. Any chef will tell you that fresh versus dried herbs bought at the markets is better for flavoring and remedies. 
If you are interested in finding an apothecary near you, check out the locator website and other sources on the Internet.  

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