Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Increase Popularity of Herbs & Health

The increase in the popularity of herbs as medicinal remedies is less obvious but it seems to have come partly from a general dissatisfaction with synthesized drugs, as well as plastics, artificial and chemicals manufactured articles of all kinds, which are being rejected in favor of substances naturally grown and shaped by hand into the artifact required. 

Herbal based remedies of old using parts of plants fresh or dried in simple infusions, poultices or decoctions, have been found to have great health benefits but, though their method of application is simple, their prescribing is not, since they’ve to be tailored not only to a given malady, but to the person concerned. The combinations which can be achieved for this are infinite. Furthermore complication have to be added; for instance, numerous parts of a herb have different effects because the times of the year for collection affect the content of the herb; the quantity used is also of major importance, and there’re at least 7000 medicinal herbs used by European races; so however herbs undoubtedly have marvelous potential for curing illness, home cures should only be undertaken for minor ailments. 

The medicinal application of herbs can be traced as far back as Chinese herbal written approximately five thousand years ago, and there’re Egyptian papyri from 2,800 BC listing such herbs as mint, marjoram and juniper, for medicinal use. More of the learning and practice of the Egyptians were absorbed by Greek physicians, one of the best known of whom is dioscorides, as army doctor who lived during the time of Nero in the first century A.D. His list of 400 healing plants, described and detailed in four books, is perhaps the most famous material medical of all, and continued to be a standard reference for European medicine for the next 1,500 years. 

Plants were the only source of help from health improvement for hundreds of years, and doctors were almost completely reliant on them although some, notably Hippocrates, did stress that hygiene and diet were of major importance. Medical science had perforce to be botanists and often gardeners as well, and in time medical knowledge came to be the perquisite of the European religious orders, as it had been that of the priests in the time of Egyptian pharaohs. For several centuries it remained in the hands chiefly of the monastic houses, where there was always a physic garden containing the herbs required by the prevailing medical encumbent.

Most of the herbs now grown in Britain culinary and domestic as well as medicinal resulted from the Roman invasion. In the same way, herbs were introduced in the 16th century from Europe to North America, to be grafted on to the use already in existence of the herbs of the North American Indians who had a considerable and long standing tradition of herbal cures from the plants native to their own continent.  

Medicine while still based on plants, became more and more sophisticated as knowledge accumulated, particularly with the introduction of printing, which meant that information could be passed on exactly, instead of wrongly, by hearsay, and thus provided a bigger and bigger base from which to work. The Doctrine of Signatures became fashionable the theory of which was that plants which looked like the symptoms of an illness would cure it lungwort or pulmonaria is a case in point, since it was used for lung conditions, because its white spotted leaves were thought to bear some resemblance to diseased lungs. 

As the science of the 19th century advanced in analytical skills, it became increasingly possible to tie down results to specific plants and the chemicals therein, until a pure chemical could be prescribed for a particular symptom. The use of a whole leaf, flower or the complete plant itself, fell into disuse and with this a whole galaxy of other chemicals which, it has now been found, were equally necessary to be cure. 

There seems no good reason why herbs should not be used at home to cure many minor ills, in the same way that aspirin are useful for headaches, toothache, etc., and the day may not be far away when a book of standard prescriptions using herbs is universally available. One will need to grow the plants and prepare the drink or poultice oneself, but neither is time-consuming and certainly likely to be less expensive and just as, if not more efficacious than the manufactured kind available from chemist.

Herbs and Foods

Without plants man could not survive. Cereals “Sophisticated grasses” fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts are essential constituents of human diet some may say the only suitable ones and even the meat we eat comes from animals which themselves fed on vegetation in the shape of grasses and herbaceous plants. The plant lumped together under the umbrella name of herbs do not appear at first glance to be essential to maintain life, but it is now becoming apparent that this concept could be wrong, and that herbs are as essential as oxygen, although the ingredients they contribute, such as minerals and vitamins, amy only be found in small quantities. 

The so-called culinary herbs, parsley, mint, and basil and so on, all have characteristic flavors which enable them to be used in recipes of their own, or added to dishes to give a tantalizing piquancy. It is not always realized that often an herb will help with digestion generally, or with the digestion of the particular food with which it is associated. Peppermint is a classic aid to food absorption basil contains a substance which helps with stomach cramps and parsley is a diuretic. 

The strong flavors of culinary herbs ensure that they should be used in little quantities, but other is no need to go to the other extreme and be timed with them. The Greeks strew their common thyme liberally all over roasted or kebabed lamb, to its great enhancement, and it is worth applying this principle to all the cooking herbs. The leaves are closely always the part of the plant used, newly picked and freshly chopped at once, or used dried, provided they’re no older than 6 months.
Aromatic herbs are the ones most used in cooking no two are alike and some are so difficult to explain that even to say they’re clove like gives the wrong idea. The fact is that several have an aroma and flavor which is rare and unique for instance, basil can only be explain as tasting i.e. basil. Some are so strongly aromatic as to be spicy, and tarragon in particular is one of the few that has such a strong taste it does need adding in minuscule amounts to meat or fish dishes. Bay is another; one leaf is quite potent enough for the average family casserole. 

Quite why food and diet have become of such interest in recent years in for the social historian to discuss but there’s no doubt about the present popularity of culinary herbs. The history of the use of herbs in food is naturally bound up with the history of food itself. It is commonly thought that herbs were used mainly to disguise the flavor of bad meat during the winter when there was no recently slaughtered beef or lamb to be had, or when food in general had started to go off. But there were precisely good ways of preserving food without refrigeration, which were followed even more diligently than we do these days in the time of the deep freeze. 

Although, herbs have always been used to pep up the more blandly flavored foods i.e. fish, vegetables and cereals. Interestingly, religion had a considerable influence on herbal use in cookery, since the decreed times when meat should be eaten, when fish only was the rule, and when there were fast days or fasting weeks. Lenten food was particularly plain, and herbs and spices as well, were used a great deal in such food. 

Looked at from the other side, it should be realized that blandly flavored foods decrease the strong and exotic taste cooking lies to use herbs in such quantities that the strength of their flavors balances the strength and flavor of the food to which they’re added. They use to blend as well; it is no good using a herb whose taste contradicts that of the dish to which it is being added.   

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Ten Reasons to Add Chia Seeds in Your Diet

Chia seeds come from a flowering plant in the mint family that's native to Mexico and Guatemala, and history recommends it was a very imperative food crop for the Aztecs. Chia seeds are remained in regular use in its native countries, but were largely anonymous in North America until expert Wayne Coates started studying on chia as an alternative crop for farmers in northern Argentina about 29 years ago. Coates began his researcher on chia in 1991, and since then has become a supporter of the petite seed's health benefits. However; the human trials are limited as is often the case with food research, but the anecdotal evidence of chia's positive health effects include improving energy, stabilizing blood sugar, aiding digestion, and dropping cholesterol. The tiny chia seed which comes in either white or a dark brown and black color also has a vast nutritional profile. It comprises calcium, manganese, and phosphorus, and is a rich source of healthy omega-3 fats. Moreover as an added benefit, chia seeds can be eaten whole or milled, while flax seeds have to be ground before consumption in order to access their health benefits for example.

Ten Reasons to Add Chia Seeds in Your Diet

·        Chia Seeds are being studied as a potential natural treatment for two type diabetes because of its capability to sluggish down digestion. The gelatinous coating chia seeds develops when exposed to liquids can also prevent blood sugar spikes.

·        Well, you know just a 28gram or one-ounce serving of chia has 11 grams of dietary fiber about a third of the suggested daily intake for adults. Adding some chia seeds to your diet is an easy way to make sure you're getting a good amount of fiber, which is imperative for digestive health.

·        Chia seeds are packed with omega3 fatty acids, with roughly five grams in a one ounce serving. These fats are vital for brain health. There's better conversion of omega 3s into the plasma or into the food than with flax seed," said researcher Wayne Coates.

·        Chia Seeds gets stronger your teeth and bones, and serving of chia seeds has 18 % of the suggested daily intake for calcium, which puts your well on your way to keeping bone and oral health, and preventing osteoporosis.

·        Manganese isn't a well-known nutrient, but it is very vital for our health, as it is very good for your bones and reliefs your body use other indispensable nutrients like biotin and thiamin. Therefore one serving of chia seeds, or 28 grams, has 30 per cent of your recommended intake of this mineral.

·        With 27 per cent of your daily value for phosphorus, chia seeds also help you maintain healthy bones and teeth. Phosphorus is also used by the body to synthesize protein for cell and tissue growth and repair.

·        Chia seeds also make a great source of protein for vegetarians and don't have any cholesterol. One 28gram serving of these super seeds has 4.4 grams of protein, nearly 10 per cent of the daily value.

·        Chia's stabilizing effect on blood sugar also fights insulin resistance which can be tied to an increase in belly fat, according to Live Strong. This type of resistance can also be harmful for your overall health.

·        Tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, is also found in chia seeds. While tryptophan is responsible for that strong urge to nap after a big Thanksgiving dinner for example, it also helps standardize appetite, sleep and improve mood.

·        According to the Cleveland Clinic, chia seeds are really helpful in improving health of heart, and have been shown to improve blood pressure in diabetics, and may also support healthy cholesterol while lowering total, LDL, and triglyceride cholesterol. All good news for your ticker!