Archive for October, 2012

Sorrel

Sorrel is a leafy green vegetable that looks a lot like spinach. One of the main ingredients in sorrel is oxalic acid, which gives it its acidity and prominent taste.

Benefits

  • It is an extremely rich source of vitamin A, B9, and C
  • It is a good source of vital minerals such as potassium, magnesium, sodium, iron, and calcium
  • It contains powerful laxative properties for constipation and over consumption may result in diarrhea
  • Sorrel contains nutraceleuticals that are very effective in treating and preventing a wide variety of diseases including cancer, hypertension, diabetes, and heart disease. Some of the main health benefits of sorrel concerning specific health problems are:
  • Hypertension: Experts recommend drinking tea made from sorrel for blood pressure reduction, especially in patients suffering from type-2 diabetes. Studies have shown that drinking 2-3 cups of sorrel tea everyday helps in lowering the blood pressure considerably by at least 7-14mm hg. Researchers believe that the anthocyanins found in the sorrel plant are responsible for effectively reducing high blood pressure.
  • Cancer: The flavonoids found in the sorrel plant are good deterrents against particular types of cancers. These flavonoids help in destroying cancer cells in the body and prevent further spread of this disease. They are also helpful in strengthening the immune system. Sheep sorrel in particular is a good natural cure for cancer. It contains oxalic acid and chlorophyll that are both effective in fighting cancer.
  • Hair: Sorrel is also a good natural treatment for dry and damaged hair. It is widely used in commercial hair care products for this very reason. Experts believe that sorrel can also help control balding when applied regularly to bald patches.
  • Sorrel leaves help cure gonorrhea, urinary tract infections, scurvy, chronic catarrh, and hemorrhages
  • Sorrel contains powerful antioxidants that help prevent premature aging
  • Sorrel leaves are dried and used for the treatment of ringworm, itchy skin, and seasonal fevers
  • Sorrel tea is a natural cure for kidney stones and jaundice
  • Sorrel leaf juice is applied topically for the treatment of ulcers, boils, and malignant tumors
  • Sorrel is also effective in curing scorbutic and inflammatory diseases.
  • It contains effective diuretic properties that help in increasing the production of urine, thereby assisting in weight loss as well.
  • Sorrel has powerful detoxifying properties that help in the elimination of harmful toxins from the body that can cause a number of diseases and infections.
  • It contains protocatechuic acid that helps eliminate harmful free radicals from the body.
  • Sorrel also contains effective anti-bacterial properties that help prevent as well as treat a number of infections and related diseases.
  • It helps strengthen the functioning of the heart and liver and fights various inflammations present in the body.

Side effects

Although sorrel has a number of health benefits, it is also important to understand its risks on health. One of the biggest hazards of sorrel is that it can lead to death when eaten in large quantities, because of its high oxalic acid content. Some of its other side effects include:

  • Kidney stones
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Skin rash
  • Skin irritation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Dizziness
  • Liver disease
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October 29, 2012 at 2:06 pm 3 comments

Dill

Both its leaves as well as seeds are used as food and a seasoning. It is the member of the Umbelliferae family, a large group of flowering herbs and spices, which includes caraway, parsley, cumin and fennel.

Benefits

  • Dill contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
  • It is contains many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine etc, and dietary fibers which help to control blood cholesterol levels.
  • Dill leaves (sprigs) and seeds contain many essential volatile oils such as d-carvone, dillapiol, DHC, eugenol, limonene, terpinene and myristicin.
  • The essential oil, Eugenol in dill has been in therapeutic usage as local anesthetic and anti-septic. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. (Further detailed studies required to establish its role.)
  • Dill oil, extracted from dill seeds has anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, disinfectant, galactagogue (helps breast milk secretion), sedative properties.
  • It is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, ß-carotene, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum metabolism.
  • Vitamin-A and beta carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. 100 g of dill weed sprigs provide 7718 IU or 257% of recommended-daily levels of this vitamin. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Fresh dill is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin-C. 100 g contain about 85 g or 140% of vitamin C. Vitamin-C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.
  • It’s a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

October 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm 2 comments

Basil

The king of herbs, Basil is one of the oldest and popular herbal plants, rich in phyto-nutrients.

Benefits

  • Basil leaves contain many plant-derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health promoting properties.
  • Basil herb contains many polyphenolic flavonoids like orientin and vicenin. These compounds were tested in-vitro laboratory for their possible anti-oxidant protection against radiation-induced lipid per-oxidation in mouse liver.
  • Basil leaves contain health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, citronellol, linalool, citral, limonene and terpineol. These compounds are known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • The herbs’ parts are very low in calories and contain no cholesterol, but are a very rich source of many essential nutrients, minerals, and vitamins that are required for optimum health.
  • Basil herb contains exceptionally high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin A, cryptoxanthin, lutein and zea-xanthin. These compounds help act as protective scavengers against oxygen-derived free radicals and reactive oxygen species (ROS) that play a role in aging and various disease processes.
  • Zea-xanthin, a yellow flavonoid carotenoid compound, is selectively absorbed into the retinal macula lutea where it found to filter harmful UV rays from reaching the retina. Studies suggest that common herbs, fruits, and vegetables that are rich in zea-xanthin anti-oxidant help to protect from age-related macular disease (AMRD), especially in the elderly.
  • 100 g of fresh herb leaves contain astoundingly 5275 mg or 175% of daily required doses of vitamin A. Vitamin A is known to have antioxidant properties and is essential for vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A has been found to help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Vitamin K in basil is essential for many coagulant factors in the blood and plays a vital role in the bone strengthening function by helping mineralization process in the bones.
  • Basil herb contains a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA). Iron, being a component of hemoglobin inside the red blood cells, determines the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood.

October 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm Leave a comment

Fennel

All parts of the Fennel plant are safe for use.

Benefits

  • Appetite suppressant and a weight loss aid.
  • Hippocrates recommended a tea to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers.
  • Menopausal women may want to try it to ease the associated symptoms. The leaves or stems can be pounded into a paste and given to nursing mothers to relieve breast swelling.
  • Fennel teas or Fennel water have been used throughout history to break up kidney stones, quiet hiccups, prevent nausea, aid digestion, prevent gout, purify the liver, reverse alcohol damage to the liver, and treat jaundice.
  • For babies, it is said to relieve colic and flatulence, and to expel worms.
  • It may be effective when used along with conventional treatments in prostate cancer (and it is definitely worth trying, but consult with your doctor first).
  • The tea can also be gargled as a breath freshener and applied as an eye wash. Alternatively, the leaves can be dried, pulverized into a powder, and made into capsules for when it’s not convenient to utilize a tea.
  • Fennel is disliked by fleas, and can therefore be used around the house in doorways and near pet bedding to reduce flea populations.
  • Fennel is a cleansing and medicating herb, and can be used for a steam facial for opening pores and rejuvenating facial skin.

October 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm 2 comments

Zesty brinjal salad

Zesty brinjal salad:

Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 medium brinjals, cubed
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large lemon/lime
1 chilli chopped (or 2 if you like it hot)
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon garlic (yes we like lots of garlic for this dish!)
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon lemongrass, finely chopped
2 heaped teaspoons of green and red curry paste
1 packet coriander, roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to season
1 cup cooked millet/brown rice/barley/quinoa
The fun part:
Peel brinjals and layer with salt. Stand for an hour to draw out liquid then rinse clean. Heat canola oil in pan, add chillies, paste, garlic, onions, lemon grass and fry. Add brinjals and lightly fry for about 5 minutes. Add handful of chopped coriander. Steam for 2 minutes.

Add cooked rice, barley, quinoa or millet and mix through. Squeeze on juice of one lemon or lime and the balsamic vinegar.

I prefer this dish served cold but you can also eat it as a warm dish.

Bon appétit

Remember to only use organic ingredients for a tastier dish!

October 22, 2012 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment


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