As a kid I only knew ginger because of ginger ale and that one lady at church who put in in her spice cake. Imagine my surprise when I go to studying it. In looking back at the history of ginger, we know it was used in both China and ancient Rome before making it’s way to Western Europe in the 9th century. It became so popular among the wealthy it was added to the table as a condiment like salt or pepper to sprinkle on everything from soups, meats and beer ( ginger ale anyone) to the ever popular Gingerbread. In fact the royals LOVED it so much Elizabeth the 1st made sure each dinner guest be served a “gingerbread man” in his or her own likeness.
Ginger is the first “root”, we’ve talked about in this herbs most of us have series, but biologically speaking it’s a rhizome not a root, meaning it’s part of the underground stem of the plant not a root which takes in nutrients. Most of us are familiar with the dried pale powder in our spice rack which is totally fine to use but it all starts out as fresh ginger. I use them inter changeably depending on the recipe and my stock. Remember that dried herbs are more potent and should taste more potent because of less surface area so adjust recipes if they call for one but you are using the other. If your ginger doesn’t have a little burn or tingle to it, it’s time for some new ginger.
Oh the things that ginger treats…
Let’s see first and foremost all types of nausea can be addressed with ginger- morning sickness, medication induced like the reaction from chemo, food poisoning, motion sickness, anxiety and just plain ole stomachaches. One study focused on the ways that ginger increased the speed of stomach emptying and found that it increased the rate we digested food and emptied our stomachs thus helping with gas, bloating and heartburn.
You can eat it, drink it or take it as a tincture, but for me I LOVE a ginger tea.
It’s a powerful anti inflammatory that has been studied for migraine sufferers, arthritis both Oesteo and rheumatism. It influences circulation in the body so it helps pump more blood more effectively getting into places that might not have been getting enough blood and without enough blood then it’s (space of YOU) not getting enough oxygen. This effect on the blood and circulation in the body isn’t just limited to anti inflammatory actions though, it also helps keep the blood from forming blood clots thus acting as a preventative to strokes and heart attacks.
It’s also a great healer against cancers and dozens of studies show that it works against lung, breast, prostate, skin, bladder, kidney, pancreatic and even ovarian cancers. One study focused on ‘zerumbone’ a ginger extract and it’s role in down regulating genes that turn on the metastatic rate of cancer gene replication.
Studies in the UK have shown that Asthma suffers benefit significantly from daily doses of ginger extract of 130 mg per day. In the study all patients where in “ better health, had fewer asthma attacks and the ones they had were less severe” in three months time and reported no ill side effects.
There are 2 herbs that I often use in formulas and teas to increase the effect of the other herbs around it and one of them is ginger. I call it a BAM herb meaning it makes every other herb have a little more mojo by amplifying the effects.
In order to get the maximum effects of Ginger, I’d take it as a tincture but also include it in my diet whether it’s food or tea. Here’s a simple combo that you can use as a tea or seasoning on food. Heck I’ve been known to use it as a foot bath to help with pain too. JUST keep it away from sensitive body parts, remember fresh ginger should burn or tingle.
All purpose spice
3 parts rosemary
1 part thyme
1 part ginger
FEEL free to add to this.
For food add a little garlic, pepper, oregano, citrus, sage, basil, cayenne soy whatever flavors you like
For a tea any mint like peppermint or spearmint, any citrus, tulsi, cinnamon, cardamom, fruit peels. lemon balm, replace the rosemary with hibiscus, delete the thyme and rosemary and just use basil and ginger for food or a tea.
Garlic may be the undisputed champ in your spice cabinet. Garlic- known as Russian penicillin or poor man’s penicillin, this herb has one of the longest known use as an herb to treat most any number of illnesses. Historians uncovered use of it in Ancient Egypt for everything from stamina to increasing milk production in nursing mothers. You can follow the use of it as a medicine as you follow the history of civilization through Greece, China, India and all of Europe.
It is a wonderful herb to increase in your diet or medicine cabinet all year but especially during the winter months or a global pandemic. Garlic is effective after the air has worked it’s magic with the Allicin in the plant so I recommend that you chop, mince or grate it and let the air do it’s work on it for 10 minutes, then cook or eat it in order to get the most bang for your buck so to speak.
Garlic contains high levels of vitamin C and has a high potassium content so it helps with the absorption of essential nutrients. Thanks to the pungent smell that garlic emits, our body reacts by a signal that travels to the brain to release watery fluid in the lungs to counter the pungent property, thereby helping clear the lungs.
In WWII, Louis Pasteur proved it’s antibacterial properties to the mainstream science by using it to successfully prevent gangrene and blood poisoning. Finnish researchers have shown that taking garlic nasal spray prevents air born illnesses and researchers in both England and Russia have had wonderful results against everything from the common cold to all sorts of viral health issues.
Garlic is one of the best herbs for cardiac health. It protects us against antherosclerious, a disease of the arteries characterized by the deposition of plaques of fatty material on their inner walls. It lowers high blood pressure and total cholesterol. Studies in New Zealand have shown that it has more effects than both aspirin and statins on keeping your arteries flexible.
Garlic is kinda like kryptonite to a varieties of cancers such as colon cancer, stomach cancer, endometrial cancer, lung cancer, prostate cancer and even brain cancer.
Most herbalist will recommend a single clove of garlic a day as a preventative and 3-5 a day as treatment. Find creative ways to eat it. This is one of my favorite ways to incorporate the healing mojo of several plants.
1 cup of local raw honey
3 or more garlic cloves, minced and aired for 10 minutes
1 tablespoon dried Thyme leaves
2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Throw everything in a a pot and simmer over a stove for about 2 minutes, leave it be to steep BUT y
ou do not want to cook the herbs, it’s only to infuse the honey so stir often. You can strain or leave the herbs in there. I always leave them in the honey and eat it off the spoon but you can add it to marinades or soups. It’s yummy over bread or a grain like rice.
**** fresh garlic is the best to use for medicine but I’d say dried and powdered would be next. NEVER use the stuff that is preserved in oil. It has little to no healing properties.
In my ongoing emails to help educate on the uses of herbs most people have on hand, I’ve decided to focus on Rosemary. It’s a treasure trove of medicinal mojo that has a slew of ways to aid you in your health journey but I’ll list just a few. I think you’ll appreciate adding it into your routine, it’s definitely an herb awe can all use more often
Rosemary is high in vitamins vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6 thiamin, and folate. It contains minerals like magnesium, Calcium and Iron. It has abundant antioxidants in the form of phenolic compounds like diterpene, carnosol and rosmarinic acid. The essential oils in rosemary herb also contain powerful ingredients such as cineol, camphene, borneol, bornyl acetate, α-terpineol, and α-pinene.
Aside from the nutrients mentioned above, the herb contains high dietary fiber. It is low in cholesterol and sodium but high in saturated fats.
Maintains Gut Health
Rosemary has traditionally been used as a natural remedy for upset stomach, constipation, gas, bloating as it helps in relaxing the muscles of the intestine. Adding it to your diet can help you regulate your bowel movements and your gastrointestinal system.
One study showed that in test subjects with colitis treatment with rosemary extract was effective to reduce colon tissue lesions and colitis. This helps fight gut diseases such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis.
Rosemary has long been used to help with the effects of food poisoning, making healing a quicker and more painless process.
Rosemary herbal extracts are anti-inflammatory and anti-hyperglycemic so it promotes a healthy weight or weight loss.
According to another study, carnosic acid-rich rosemary can be used as a preventive treatment for metabolic disorders such as PCOS and/or diabetes.
Antibacterial & Antimicrobial
Rosemary is specifically powerful against bacterial infections. It prevents staph infections and also eradicates various gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria completely.
Due to its antibacterial qualities, rosemary intake has been shown to prevent the growth of H. pylori bacteria, a dangerous pathogen that is associated with gastritis, stomach ulcers, and some cancers.
The active components in rosemary are antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic in nature. This represents a three-pronged attack against many different diseases and pathogens that could threaten the immune system or damage the integrity of the body.
Rosemary contains a significant amount of antioxidants including rosmarinic acid, caffeic acid, betulin acid, and carnosol. Antioxidants in rosemary make a secondary line of defense behind the body’s own immune system.
Carnosol and carnosic acids are two powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds found in rosemary that have been linked to reducing inflammation of muscles, blood vessels, and joints. This makes it an effective treatment and prevention of many diseases, including blood pressure, gout, arthritis, and injuries sustained during physical exertion or surgery. It is effective in oral or topical form.
Rosemary acts as a stimulant and boosts the production of red blood cells and blood flow.
Rosemary can be topically applied to the affected area to soothe the pain and works to unknot tired muscles. It can be taken internally or externally to help with headaches, migraines, menstrual and stomach cramps, as well as kidney pain.
Enhances Brain Function
Rosemary has an affinity for the head and study after study has shown that it helps improve memory performance and quality. It is also known to boost alertness, intelligence, and focus. One possible mechanism for this action is that rosemary extract enhances the synthesis of nerve growth factor which is vital for nerve tissue.
Depression and anxiety are related to gut health and the fact that Rosemary works well on maintaining good gut health and it’s relationship to the head makes it a wonderful mild anti depressant.
A study conducted on the anti-depressant effects of rosemary concluded that the herb is effective in improving symptoms of depression. These anti-depressant effects were observed even with repeated administration two weeks later. Furthermore, it may also reduce cortisol (the stress hormone) levels, which helps ease tension in the body.
Rosemary is slightly diuretic in nature, meaning that it can help flush out toxins efficiently during urination. It also breaks up congestion and phlegm, this combined with it’s diuretic qualities makes it a great herb for pitted edema or to help with congestive heart failure.
Rosemary can be added to teas, tinctures and foods. It goes well with fatty foods like meats, butters, oils or high carb foods like white or sweet potatoes, dark chocolate or even vanilla. Rosemary isn’t like thyme, which bands with flavors, Rosemary demands more attention so it needs to have flavors that blend with it. We love it in soups, roasted veggies, enhanced cooking oils or butters plant based or dairy. A little rosemary goes a long way because it is one of the most resinous herbs. It’s also hearty and you can throw it in the soup pot at the beginning and it doesn’t alter the flavor in the end unlike more delicate herbs like parsley. Many people like to strip the leaves and use the left over stems as skewers for mushrooms or shrimp as it imparts a milder flavor this way.
In tea blends, I like to put it with either other bold flavors like mint, cinnamon or tulsi or really mild ones like orange or lemon balm.
I've been thinking of ways to get help to people and one of the easiest and definitely most accessible way in my mind is to teach you some herbs you can make use of everyday. The other day I sent you an email about Yard Tea and today I'd like to focus on an herb you probably have in your spice rack and if not it's readily available at most grocery stores.
Thyme is one little leaf but it packs a whallop for your health. It’s anti viral, anti bacterial, anti-fungal and Anti- aging. It works to help with Alcohol abuse, blood clots, bronchitis, colds, coughs, cold sores, bruises, Flu, cancer, heart attack, stroke, tooth decay and ulcers caused by bacteria.
With one of the highest antioxidant concentrations in any herb, thyme has been praised for thousands of years as an overall health booster. The phenolic antioxidants found in thyme, including lutein, zeaxanthin, and thymonin contribute to neutralizing and eliminating free radicals throughout the body. Free radicals are the dangerous by-products of cellular metabolism that can do major damage to your healthy cells by causing apoptosis or spontaneous mutation. These antioxidants help prevent oxidative stress present in your organs, as well as your neural pathways, heart, eyes, and skin.
Thyme acts as an expectorant and an anti-inflammatory substance. It eliminates phlegm and mucus from the respiratory tracts, eases inflammation to help breathe, and prevents microbial development that can lead to illness
One of the vitamins in thyme (B6) has a powerful effect on certain neurotransmitters in the brain that are directly linked to stress hormones. When we are ill, the last thing we need is to add more stress to the situation since stress hormone imbalance is linked to longer and tougher illnesses to fight.
It’s a great source to cure MRSA and even herpes 1.
DO not let this herb in your spice rack go to waste!!
Thyme is great as a tea, as a spice and as a tincture. I use it in several formulas and tea blends.
As a tea, it blends well with black tea, green tea, peppermint, spearmint, orange, cinnamon, cardamom, Rosemary, ginger. Mix any of these together or drink thyme straight. I like 1/2 tbsp to 8 oz of boiling water. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten or not.
In cooking it blends with just about anything, from sweet to savory. When in doubt add a little thyme. No seriously it goes with chocolate, meat, tofu, potatoes sweet or white, I really like it with fruit like apples or berries. Play with it. We put it in rice, soups, eggs, the sky is the limit and it blends really well with almost any other cooking herb. Seriously thyme plays well with others so you can start with adding just a little to everyday dishes to give you a boost in flavor and healing mojo.
Wife, Mom, herbalist and friend. Feel free to change the order of the description to fit your needs, I do several times a day.