10 Healing Herbs In Your Kitchen

July 24, 2014

Tumeric

 

Without even really realising it, we often have a treasure trove of natural, powerful, safe medicines growing on our window sills or sitting in our pantries. The everyday, common herbs and spices we adorn our foods with should not be overlooked for their medicinal properties. More than simply adding culinary flare, these beauties have so much more to offer. Today, I am showing you some of my favourites, and how to use them.

Cayenne

Stimulant, tonic, carminative, spasmolytic, rubefacient (reddens the skin), antiseptic.

Cayenne certainly grabs your attention. It is a wonderful cardiovascular tonic and circulatory stimulant, helping to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides, improve the blood flow through the veins and arteries and increase warmth. Cayenne is a strong antioxidant, and a great digestive tonic – it helps to increase gastrointestinal juices and stimulate appetite. Used topically, it works as a counterirritant while simultaneously blocking pain receptors.

How to use it:

A pinch in a glass of water (with lemon and honey to flavour it).

Cinnamon

Warming stimulant, carminative (dispels gas), aromatic, astringent (contracts body tissues), antispasmotic, antiseptic, antiviral.

Cinnamon powder is ground from the dried inner bark of the tree. It is traditionally used for digestive ailments, particularly, flatulence, irritable bowel, nausea and diarrhoea. It is also useful for menstrual irregularities and fighting yeast infections.

How to use it:

Add a teaspoon to your smoothies or sprinkle over a hot drink.

Combines well with ginger.

Cloves

Carminative (dispels gas), mild local anaesthetic for toothache, warming stimulant, antiseptic, antispasmodic.

Clove is a great remedy for toothache, and chewing on a clove bud may help anaesthetise the area before you get to see a dentist. It is also a great carminative, combining well with other warming spices such as cinnamon, cardamom and ginger – in a lovely chai tea for example – to help ease gastric distress and improve digestion.

How to use it:

Chew fresh cloves for toothache, or dab a cotton tip in the oil and dab onto the affected area.

Ginger

Stimulant, carminative (dispels gas), antispasmodic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, diaphoretic (induces sweating), rubefacient (causes redness of the skin), anti-emetic (prevents nausea and vomiting).

Perhaps my all time favourite, simply because it is so versatile. Ginger is a true remedy for many digestive complaints. It works as a carminative to help ease wind and bloating. It eases indigestion. And it works a treat for nausea, whether it be from an upset tummy, morning or travel sickness. Aside from its therapeutic use for digestive ailments, it is also a fantastic circulatory stimulant, and helps bring blood flow to the surface. As a stimulant, ginger can also help increase sweating, which is useful in case of a fever, to bring the body temperature down. Finally, ginger is useful for treating respiratory conditions. Soothing to coughs and colds and even sore throats when taken as a gargle.

How to use it:

Make an infusion: slice an inch of ginger and steep in hot water.

Peppermint

Antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiemetic, carminative,  analgesic (relieves pain), nervine, aromatic, diaphoretic.

Peppermint is so easy to grow and soothing to the digestive tract. A well known stomach tonic, it helps to promote digestion, ease flatulence, cramps, spasms, and bring relief to irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint contains menthol, an aromatic oil that has antimicrobial and antiviral properties. You can use a little peppermint oil blended with your lip balm to help treat cold sores – in addition to being antiviral, it is soothing, cooling, and relieves pain. Peppermint can also help improve the flow of bile and break up gallstones.

How to take it:

Peppermint makes a lovely infusion. It also helps make other herbal infusion more palatable.

Parsley

Diuretic, carminative, expectorant, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, gastric tonic, uterine tonic, emmenagogue.

Parsley is one of my favourite herbs because it helps us ladies out so much with all things pelvis, bladder and uterus related. Parsley is a natural diuretic and helps eliminate bloating and water retention. Not only that, it also helps maintain kidney and bladder health, by assisting with the elimination of waste. As an emmenagogue, parsley helps to stimulate blood flow to the pelvic region and the uterus, making it helpful in encouraging a delayed period and in relieving menstrual pain. It is also a great digestive, helping dispel gas. Finally, parsley sprigs chewed at the end of the meal help to freshen the breath (thanks to all that lovely chlorophyll!).

How to take it:

Again, as an infusion, or by adding a handful to your smoothies.

Rosemary

Antispasmodic, antiseptic, parasiticide, carminative, choleretic (stimulates the output of bile), diuretic, sedative, anti-depressive, circulatory tonic.

Rosemary stimulates the circulatory and nervous systems, making it useful for treating headaches and migraines. You can either take it internally as an infusion, or externally as an oil. It improves blood flow and strengthens fragile blood vessels. Rosemary also helps reduce flatulence and stimulates the digestive tract and gallbladder, to increase the flow of bile.  It has antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also helpful for painful periods.

How to use it:

Place a few stems in hot water and steep, to drink as an infusion.

Dry the herb and prepare as an infused oil to rub on your temples when you have a headache.

Sage

Antiseptic, carminative, astringent, aromatic, tonic, reduces sweating, oestrogenic.

The botanical name for Sage, Salvia, is a Latin derivative that means to save. Sage is great for oral health. Like parsley, it helps freshen the breath, and can be used as a mouthwash. The astringent and antiseptic properties help prevent gum disease and mouth ulcers. Try it as a gargle with a little added apple cider vinegar for sore throats, laryngitis or tonsillitis. Take it as an infusion to help settle the stomach and fight inflammation. Its astringent properties will help ease mild diarrhoea (astringent simply means the drawing together of body tissues). It also has oestrogenic action – it can help stimulate breast milk production and ease hormonal nights sweats and hot flushes.

How to use it:

Prepare as an infusion to either drink or gargle.

As a mouthwash.

Thyme

Antiseptic, anti-microbial, anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, anthelmintic (anti-parasitic), astringent (contracts body tissues), carminative, expectorant.

This little Mediterranean shrub contains volatile oil that helps settle a grumpy stomach. It is strongly antiseptic so this makes it useful for treating sore throats, tonsillitis and laryngitis as a gargle. As an expectorant (relieves chest congestion and expels mucous), it is particularly good for coughs.

You can use it topically (as a cream) to treat an infected wound.

How to use it:

Pick a little fresh from the garden, steep in hot water and enjoy.

Turmeric

Stimulant, carminative (dispels gas), aromatic, digestive, anti-inflammatory.

Available whole, or as a bright golden yellow powder, turmeric is useful for inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, asthma, skin conditions and inflammatory bowel. It is also rich in antioxidants and vitamins A, C and E. Cancer protective and anti tumor.

How to use it:

Slice it fresh and steep in hot water to take as an infusion (a little lemon and honey combine well like this).

Add half a teaspoon of the powder to your smoothies.

 

 

De-bloat smoothie

Rosemary and Ginger Oil for Circulation

Anti-inflammatory Sunshine Apricot Turmeric Smoothie

 

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One Response to “10 Healing Herbs In Your Kitchen”

  1. I'm always promoting the virtues of herbs and spices to help with wellbeing. Sage is a great one for insomnia, but the others are well worth keeping in mind.

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How to Activate Nuts

July 17, 2014

Activated Almonds-3

 

I often get asked about the correct way to soak and activate nuts, and why it is beneficial. So today’s post demystifies this simple process so you can enjoy healthy and extra tasty nuts, raw or in your cooking (or un-cooking!).

Why activate them?

Nuts and seeds are sleeping. They are not yet ready to germinate. To protect them in their dormant state, they have an anti-nutrient called phytic acid, which tastes very bitter and deters the pesky birds and other pests from bothering them until it is time to wake up and grow. Phytic acid, when ingested, will bind to minerals in the digestive tract such as iron, calcium and zinc, inhibiting your absorption of them. In order to release this anti-nutrient, nuts and seeds are best soaked and even sprouted – also known as being ‘activated’. The process of soaking mimics an environment in which they may start to grow. Activating your nuts is indeed beneficial, especially for those with compromised digestion.

You can activate any nut or seed with a skin. Try almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and pecans. You may be surprised at how much tastier and less bitter they are after this process.

Generally, those that are pale and have no skins such as cashews and macadamias do not need to be activated.

One last note – I like to use a splash of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, as it helps facilitate the process – but even just using water is perfectly fine.

Activated Nuts

A large quantity of raw, organic nuts (or seeds)
Filtered water
Apple cider vinegar

 

  1. Place your raw nuts (or seeds) in a large glass bowl and cover with filtered water
  2. Add a small splash of apple cider vinegar
  3. Let soak for a minimum of two hours, ideally overnight
  4. Drain the water
  5. Spread evenly on a dehydrator tray and dehydrate at 115˚F till completely dry. Store in an airtight container.

 

30 Healthy Snack Ideas
Raw Energy Bars
Super Quick Raw Parmesan

 

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6 Responses to “How to Activate Nuts”

  1. Kayla Borman says:

    How long you can keep them after activating? :)

  2. As long as you would if you didn't activate them! As long as they are completely dried, they will last. You can freeze them to keep them fresh. Any moisture left will make them go mouldy.

  3. Libby Velarde says:

    May I use the oven? I read somewhere that leaving the oven door open could work?

  4. There are different soaking times depending on the but too which isn't mentioned here.

  5. Hi Libby, I use my oven. I set it to 50 degrees Celsius but I don't leave the door open.

  6. I did not know I needed to activate my nuts … better get on it !!!! lol

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Rosemary and Ginger Oil for Circulation

July 10, 2014

Rosemary and Ginger OilRosemary-and-Ginger-Oil-5

 

Poor Nana has such bad circulation in her hands and feet because she has a slightly delicate heart, so I made her this beautiful fragrant oil to use as a stimulating foot rub. This is a nice recipe to play with in winter since it’s so cold, and the simple ingredients used are warming and boost the blood flow. I’ve used ginger, rosemary and olive oil, and the nice thing is, these are all things you may already have at home. A few drops of basil essential oil adds a divine scent. The most important part of preparing a home remedy of course (or a meal), is to set your intentions before you make it. It’s in this way that you can really amplify the healing properties of the plants. Here is a little more on each of the ingredients…

 

Rosemary and Ginger Oil_4

Rosemary

Rosemary has long been considered the herb for circulation and memory enhancement. It is often referred to as the ‘herb of remembrance’ and a sprig of it on your desk is said to help improve your memory as you study. The essential oils also act as a pick-me-up, stimulating the central nervous system. A mix of lavender together with rosemary is also said to lift the spirits and ease depression. The substances in the herb help slow the breakdown of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, in turn helping prevent Alzheimer’s. It doesn’t just improve blood flow to the brain, but to the rest of the body as well. It is rich in antioxidants, which help prevent free radical damage and protect the delicate capillaries. The oils are wonderful for muscular pain.

Ginger

Also considered a circulatory stimulant, ginger is one of my favourites as it is so readily available, smells and tastes divine, and has so many therapeutic benefits. Aside from promoting blood flow, it is also highly anti-inflammatory, and useful in cases of nausea, travel sickness and upset tummies. If you have cold hands and feet, a little ginger will help bring the blood to the surface.

Basil Essential Oil

I added a few drops of Basil essential oil because it is indicated for Rheumatism and pain in the joints and connective tissue. This was specifically for my Nana. It smells so lovely, but other alternatives for a circulation tonic would be Cedarwood, Cypress, Bitter Orange, Sandalwood and Thyme.

If you are after specific foods or herbs to help increase circulation you can try;

Cayenne

Ginger

Ginkgo Biloba

Garlic

Cacao

Motherwort

Hawthorn

Goji Berries

Rosemary and Ginger Circulation Oil

1 fresh ginger
1 good handful fresh rosemary
250ml olive oil
Few drops essential oil of your choice

  • Slice your ginger into really thin pieces like the photograph above
  • Spread them out on a dehydrator tray with the rosemary and dehydrate till all moisture has been removed. It is important to have dry plant material when making infused oils so that they don’t ferment.
  • Fill a glass jar with all of your dried plant material, then pour the oil over the top, right to the very top so there is no space for any air to get in. Add your essential oils.
  • Gently tap the jar on a hard surface to remove any bubbles, then cap the lid.
  • Let it infuse like this for about two weeks.
  • After this time, decant into a small bottle, and store in dark, cool place. Massage into your hands and feet to boost the circulation.

 

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3 Responses to “Rosemary and Ginger Oil for Circulation”

  1. How beautiful Lauren!! I am going to try this! For those who don't have a dehydrater, how long would you leave the ginger and rosemary in the oven for? And at what temperature?
    Loving your work!!!
    xxx

  2. Trudy Parry says:

    You've reawakened the herbalist in me – and thank you for the lovely reminder about setting intentions.

  3. Hi Erin :-) I would put it on a low setting and keep an eye on it, just till it is dry and there's no moisture… the rosemary may be ready quicker than the ginger…

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Love Meditation

July 4, 2014

Buddha

 

This is a meditation for love. Because love heals everything.

Find a quiet time to do this, when you have space to sit for at least 15 minutes without being interrupted. I love to do this in the mornings. I wake early, have my lemon and water and put some herbs on to boil to enjoy as a tea later. Then I head back down to bed while they’re simmering away, and get in my M-Zone.

The benefit of doing this in morning means you are less likely to fall asleep mid way through!

Love Meditation

Start by closing your eyes, and taking 10, deep, slow breaths. Breathe in for the count of three, hold for the count of four, and breathe out for the count of five. Feel your chest expanding with each breath.

Now tune in and connect with the Universal energy. Become consciously aware of the vastness of the universe, and the great power and energy within it. Say to yourself;

Universal energy, may I ask to work with you now please. Can I please share in some of your great light, to cleanse, balance and realign my energies, thank you, thank you, thank you.

Imagine a pillar of white light, being directed down from the stars directly into your crown chakra on the top of your head. Use your breath to guide it into your body and let it travel down your spinal column, through each of your chakra centres, and moving further – deep into the earth. Feel it clearing and correcting any imbalances. Feel it anchoring you into the ground.

Sit with this for a few minutes.

Now, imagine a pillar of rose pink light, travelling down into your crown, down your spine, and filling the crevices of your body with love, compassion, and warmth. Imagine this light expanding and growing stronger, feel what it feels like to experience pure, unconditional love. Let it wash over every emotional, mental and physical aspect of yourself, let it bathe all of you.

Sit with this again for a few minutes.

Next, imagine there are shutters over your heart. Open them. Beam this pink light out from your heart space. Radiate it. Feel the light swell from your body and surround you in a bubble of pure love.

Again, sit with this a few minutes.

If you like, you can consciously ask that this love and light be amplified, and visualise it extending from your aura space to saturate your room, or to fill your home, your back yard, your street…

Ask that this love energy stay with you for the whole day.

To finish, thank the Universal energy for sharing the light with you, and imagine it travelling from the earth back up your spine, through your head, and back into the universe. Send your thanks as the light returns to Source.

When you are ready, after a few deep breaths, you can open your eyes and start your day.

 

Raw Tacos for Long Life

Lemon Water for a Beautiful Start to the Day

How I healed from Adrenal Fatigue

 

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30 Healthy Snack Ideas

June 25, 2014

Bliss Ball

 

I saw a great quote the other day – ‘Keep your friends close and your snacks closer’ – couldn’t agree more! Here is a list of some of my favourite clean eating snack ideas. Print them out and you will never be stuck for inspiration again!

 

  1. Healthy trail mix: activated almonds, activated brazil nuts, activated pumpkin seeds, goji berries, dried cranberries, coconut flakes, coarse sea salt

  2. Toasted nori sheets

  3. Miso soup

  4. Pop corn cooked in coconut oil with Himalayan rock salt

  5. Vegetable sticks with raw dip

  6. Coconut milk blended with berries, vanilla and cinnamon

  7. Coconut yoghurt 

  8. Coconut water and flesh

  9. Banana and date ‘sandwich’

  10. Capsicum boats filled with smashed avocado and nutritional yeast

  11. Sliced apple with almond butter

  12. Dehydrated papaya slices

  13. Kale chips 

  14. Fresh fruit

  15. Freshly made cashew milk 

  16. Freshly steamed edamame

  17. Raw energy bar 

  18. Chia seeds soaked in almond milk 

  19. Zucchini or beet chips 

  20. Home made chickpea nuts

  21. Bliss balls 

  22. Medjool date stuffed with almond butter

  23. Celery filled with almond butter and raisins

  24. Spiced nuts

  25. Green smoothie 

  26. Zucchini hummus and raw flax crackers

  27. Raw, dark chocolate 

  28. Antioxidant berry mix

  29. Frozen berries blended with a little lemon juice, maple syrup or stevia

  30. Herbal teas

 

Sweet Cherry Chia Breakfast Jar

Raw Energy Bars

Raw Chocolate

 

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2 Responses to “30 Healthy Snack Ideas”

  1. Hi Lauren! I want to start by saying that I adore your blog! I just found it and felt giddy with excitement at each new page I clicked on! So thank you for your inspiration :)
    However, I'm a bit new to the raw foods world and was wondering what 'activated' nuts means? Is that soaking them overnight to remove those enzymes inhibiting digestion? Could you clear it up for me please? Thank you!

  2. Maritza Pedraza says:

    tks great suggestions

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