Monday, September 1, 2008

Herbs and Spices!

This is not exactly cooking related, as far as recipes, but it's still fascinating! I was recently given a list of herbs and spices that we all use today, and a couple other common things we use, as they were used in Folk Medicine! I don't know how much of it actually works, but I thought it would be cool to show everyone anyway!

Baking Soda- Use as a tooth powder, and mouth wash. Also a deodorant when mixed with cornstarch, for itching from chicken pox or poison oak when poured in bath water. A good all-around cleaner. Mix with water to form a paste and smear thickly on a bug bite, bee, wasp or hornet sting to help with itching and draw out the stinger and poison. I have tried most of these (not the dental care and deodorant) and they all work. My hubby stepped on a bee and we thought we had pulled out the stinger, but 2 days later it was red and warm to the touch and painful. I applied the paste and let it sit for about 20 minutes. When I wiped it off, the spot was barely pink and didn't hurt as much. The next morning it was totally fine!

Anise- Make a tea and use for coughs, hiccups, asthma, and bronchitis.

Sweet Basil- Excellent for bee and wasp stings when applied fresh. (Probably mashed and ground with mortar and pestle to release the oils)

Bay Leaf- Put one in storage wheat to keep out weevils. (I am SO going to try this one, I buy flour in bulk and store it)

Chili Powder- Use for pneumonia, fever, or flu in tea. (That would cure a cold! ;-) )

Cloves- Oil of cloves is useful for toothache, make tea for bronchitis, helpful to prevent vomiting. (sounds tastier than orajel...)

Dill- For bad breath, chew on some seeds. Also good for indigestion, gas, headaches, and insomnia.

Cumin- Good for flu, colds, muscle spasms, and cramps when used as a tea. ( I love cumin, but would sugar taste good in that tea?)

Ginger- Used with capsicum or cayenne pepper to stimulate heart and blood circulation. Use in moderation as ginger is a natural hallucinogen. (Is that why I see so much stuff on the floor after serving stir fry?)

Mustard- Good laxative, also relieves bronchitis and pleurisy as a mustard plaster, but do not apply directly to skin. (They probably placed a warm wet cloth underneath the mustard. and I would assume that it involved ground mustard seeds...)

Oregano- Used as antidote for narcotics and infections childhood diseases such as measles, mumps, and chickenpox. also taken to prevent sea and air sickness. (Maybe then they wouldn't need rehab?)

Nutmeg- Reduces severity of intestinal gas, improves appetite. Use sparingly because of strong hallucinogenic properties. (But tastes so good in pumpkin pie!)

Paprika- Use for scurvy and canker sores.

Pickling Spice- Makes a good laxative and relieves cramps.

Pumpkin Pie Spice- For mild insomnia, nervousness, upset stomach. Use in form of tea. Also makes a pleasant mouth wash. (Again, probably tastes better than baking soda! And also probably why people get so sleepy after Thanksgiving dinner!)

Rosemary- Once used as a liver tonic. Also called memory herb.

Saffron- Alleviates whooping cough, lowers fevers, but use sparingly as could cause kidney damage. (So can half the medications out there...)

Sage- Highly valued for sever fevers, sore throats. Also repels insects if planted in the garden. (Sage will be in my planter box and planted among my garden next year!)

Thyme- Use for intestinal parasites, mouthwash for canker sores, lotion for psoriasis, burns, gargle for strep throat. (It would be interesting to know what they mixed all these with.)

Turmeric- May help reduce cholesterol if used frequently on food. No toxic side effects.

Aloe Vera- Called jack-of-all-trades in healing. Used for burns, cuts, abrasions, fungus infections, eye irritations...

Cayenne Pepper- For lowering high blood pepper.

Cherries- For gout (sweet or sour) about 15-25 a day.

Onions and Garlic- lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and fevers. (I love garlic!)

Honey- Makes a good cough syrup when mixed with lemon. (If you can take the taste, this actually works.)

Vinegar- Takes the sting out of sunburns, itches, rashes, and fungus.

Oatmeal- Bath for itching and rashes, don't use water that is too hot. (Really good for itchy skin when you are pregnant, or allergic reaction to skin products, or dry itchy skin. I mix oatmeal I grind up in the blender with some baking soda, Epsom salts, and powdered milk for a relaxing, soothing, and moisturizing bath soak. Which makes a good gift when put in a pretty jar...)

Meat Tenderizer- For bee stings. (We were also told that you can mix it with water and keep it in a spray bottle. Keep in your car for when you go to the beach during jelly fish season. It helps relieve the pain when you brush against the tentacles that float in close to shore. This works!)

Maybe not related to use in cooking, but it is always neat to see how they used basic household stuff for back then. Ingenious, if not always effective.

1 Tasty Tidbits:

Stephanie said...

That's some cool stuff to know! Jeff did a study on the health effects of cinnamon a while back - apparently it's really good for a number of things. So remember that too. :-)