Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We'll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. This week we discuss plantain, a "weed" that has many benefits!You’ve probably seen plantain (the plant variety, not the fruit related to the banana) growing in your backyard and dismissed it as a weed. However, this plant has been used for thousands of years by native peoples as a source of nutrition and healing. Plantago major or common plantain can grow almost anywhere, sprouting up even through cracks in asphalt and concrete and it can thrive in nearly any climate. Related to spinach, plantain leaves provide iron, beta carotene, calcium, ascorbic acid and contains vitamins A, C and K. It can be added raw to salads but adult leaves tend to be stringy. It can be cooked just like spinach and the seedpods are edible as well, a bit like asparagus. Plantain is a little more bitter than spinach or asparagus and are great to use in stews or soups and stir-fries. They also have gentle astringent properties which help to dry up excess secretions in the respiratory and digestive tracts and can be helpful in treating chest colds and diarrhea. Plantain is also commonly used as a natural poultice to draw out toxins and stingers from bug bites and stings and to alleviate other irritations. Crushed and added right to the problem area like a paste, it’s anti-inflammatory properties make it useful on wounds, burns and even removing splinters. Even if you don’t plan on harvesting the plant for use from your own backyard, it’s good to keep this information in your mind when camping or hiking in the woods! Plantain can also help to cool and heal sunburns and because it contains a phytochemical called allantoin it generally promotes healthy skin by stimulating new cells and healthy tissue. While you may be able to find plantain in your own backyard, if it’s been sprayed with chemicals and fertilizer you may want to find it from a different source. It is invasive so if you are thinking about planting some in your yard, be forewarned. Also keep in mind that while young shoots are more tender, the larger leaves contain more of the beneficial phytochemicals.
Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We'll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. Today we focus on the wonders of dill!
These days, dill is known primarily as a pickling herb and though it is common in many gardens, it’s not widely used for medicinal properties. However, since ancient times and still today it’s been used by herbalists as a digestive aid to ease gas, infant colic, to induce sleep and treat kidney problems.
In the ancient Egyptian Ebers papyrus from around 1500 BCE, lists dill as an ingredient for a painkiller mixture. The Greeks are said to have used fronds of dill to cover their eyes to induce sleep and even it’s name is derived from a Norse word “dylla” which means “to lull” or soothe. Modern German studies have shown the herb to be an effective treatment against intestinal bacteria.
The seeds of the plant contain an oil which has antibacterial properties which help destroy the intestinal bacteria that lead to ulcers and other intestinal issues. The herb contains stimulating essential oils that activate digestive juices and is helpful in relieving constipation. It’s also very effective at combating halitosis and in India, the seeds are often chewed to treat bad breath.
It has also been commonly used throughout history by nursing mothers to increase milk production and deter colic in newborns. The essential oils of the herb can also help with the stimulation of hormones helping to keep menstrual cycles regular. The plant is also a good source of calcium, helping to reduce bone loss in postmenopausal women.
In addition to all of the above, dill is also a good source of fiber, manganese, magnesium and iron.
To store fresh dill, it’s a good idea to keep it wrapped in a damp towel or stems in a glass of water in the refrigerator. It is a fragile herb and therefore will only keep for a couple of days. You can also freeze it, whole or chopped in an airtight baggie or container. Dill seeds, if stored in a sealed container and kept in a cool, dry place, will stay fresh for about six months.
Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We'll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. This week we focus on dandelions and their many benefits!
Folks who want perfectly manicured lawns fight against the dandelion but this herbaceous plant has so many benefits to us and our ecosystem, you might think twice about mowing over them or spraying them with chemicals. Dandelions have been around for so long in the Northern Hemisphere that it’s impossible to pinpoint their nonnative status but their use was recorded in Roman times and by Anglo Saxon tribes of Britain and the Normans of France and Arabian and Indian peoples. European settlers found them so useful that they brought them on their long ocean journey across to America. This perennial flower, botanically related to the sunflower family, which also includes daisies and thistles, grows year round unless in an area that experiences a cold winter in which case they go dormant. They have a thick taproot that can penetrate 10 to 15 feet into the soil and because they spread via seeds that can travel on the wind for hundreds of miles, they spread quickly. The name dandelion is from the French term “dent de lion” which means “tooth of the lion”. All parts of the plant are edible and dandelions have long been used as a food source, in making wine and for medicinal benefits. Kidneys and Liver Dandelions are very diuretic, helping to eliminate toxic substances in the kidneys and urinary tract. In France, they are also called “pissenlit” which translates to “urinate in bed”. So be under advisement! That said, dandelions can be very helpful in eliminating fat from the body as well as eliminating jaundice. Jaundice occurs when the liver begins over-producing bile which will then enter the bloodstream and messes with metabolism. The disorder causes the skin and eyes to develop a yellow tint. How interesting that the sunny colored dandelion is excellent for helping to eliminate jaundice from the body! It regulates bile production and because of its diuretic nature, it aids in eliminating excess bile. Skin Care The sap, called dandelion milk, is alkaline and fights against various germs and fungi. It’s traditionally been used in the treatment of ringworm, eczema and acne. The greens of the plant contain over 100% of the daily minimum of vitamin A which also benefits the skin as well as mucus membranes and vision. Protect Bee Populations Dandelions are one of the major food sources for bees in the springtime. Because bee populations are in serious decline and we rely on their existence for so many other foods, it’s important to keep this in mind. Show a little love to the bees not only by leaving dandelions alone but also by avoiding the chemicals in sprays that are directly linked to their decline. How to Cook Dandelion Greens Dandelion Wine DIY Fine and Dandy Facial Serum
Spices, herbs, tinctures and essential oils have been used for millennia to season our food, heal our bodies and boost our spirits. In our Throwback Thursday (#TBT) series, we at re:iimmune will take you back in history to learn how these gifts from Mother Nature have been used. We'll focus on their use through the ages and beneficial purposes in regard to nutrition, natural health and household care. Today we focus on the benefits of ylang ylang essential oil!Ylang ylang (e-lang e-lang), often called “the poor man’s jasmine”, comes from the sweet smelling, star-shaped flowers of the ylang-ylang tree. Native to Malaysia, Indonesia and other east Asian lowland countries the tree does not produce flowers until five years of growth but then produces up to 45 pounds of flowers for up to fifty years. High quality oil made from the flowers has a sweet and musky aroma and is prized for it’s amazing scent. However, indigenous peoples of the areas where it grows quickly discovered it was effective as a natural treatment for skin irritations such as cuts, burns and insect bites as it inhibits microbial growth and disinfects wounds. Indonesians scatter the petals over the beds of newlywed couples on their wedding night. A hair pomade, Macassar oil, developed in the Molucca Islands became so popular in Victorian England that it led to the creation of the antimacassar, a decorative chair covering used to keep the oil from staining upholstery. In the 20th century, French chemists discovered that the oil was useful in treating intestinal infections and that the oil had a calming effect on the body, specifically the heart. Eventually, ylang ylang essential oil was used as the top floral note in the now famous Chanel No. 5 perfume. Ylang ylang oil has also proven beneficial in treating eczema. Caused by malfunctioning sebaceous glands which don’t provide an adequate production of sebum, eczema is a painful skin disorder. Ylang ylang soothes inflammation and assists the skin in regulating sebum production. It’s also loaded with organic compounds that are beneficial to the hair and scalp. Since it’s known for uplifting mood and promoting relaxation, it’s a terrific addition to massage oil. If taken in excessive amounts, it can result in nausea and headache so it is important to use ylang ylang oil in recommended doses.