Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Five Herbs of Holiday Wellness

There are some great solutions to be found in nature when it comes to holiday over indulgence. Here’s a list of healing herbs that can help get you through the festive times ahead:

1. Meadowsweet herb (Filipendula ulmaria)
A traditional herb that has been used for centuries to treat irritated digestive systems. Meadowsweet can help calm acidic digestion, gastritis, wind and bloating, it also has pain killing properties for headaches when you’ve over indulged!

Those pain killing properties come from its salicylic acid content which gives it many of the same therapeutic properties of aspirin. But unlike aspirin there is no danger to delicate stomach linings.

2. German Chamomile flower (Matricaria recutita)
Chamomile is one of the most popular herbs in the United States.  Gentle enough for children and soothing for stress related issues, chamomile helps relieve acidity, indigestion, stomach pains and wind and soothe frayed holiday nerves. After infusing a tea, a warm or cooled moist Chamomile teabag can be applied to soothe strained or inflamed eyes.

Here is a quick tea recipe designed to aid stress from too much family.  The vitamin C in the rose hips will boost energy and immunity and the soothing calming nature of mint and chamomile will aid digestion and help with stress.

“C” Tea
2 parts Rose Hips
1 part German Chamomile flowers
1 part Peppermint leaves

Blend the dried items together and keep in a tightly lidded jar or tin.  Use 1 to 2 teaspoons per cup of hot water and steep for a full 7 minutes before sipping.
3. Peppermint leaf (Mentha piperita)

An herb which helps to clear the head and relieve irritated stomachs from cramps, nausea, wind, bloating and indigestion. Its warming and stimulating properties are particularly valuable at the onset of a cold to combat the chilly and depressed feelings that often precede the sneezing and runny nose and feverishness. It is a general tonic for the nervous system and will relieve nervous fatigue.

4. Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
A fantastic sweet herb with a taste reminiscent of aniseed, to give sluggish digestion a helping hand, and relieve bloating and flatulence. Fennel seeds also stimulate digestive enzymes aiding absorption when you’ve over-indulged. In fact if your Christmas meal includes some things you find hard to digest, such as cabbage or brussel sprouts, try adding fennel seeds to help your body cope a bit better.

5. Caraway seed (Carum carvi)
Caraway has similar actions to fennel helping to soothe irritable bowels and aid digestion. In fact chewing caraway seeds is a very traditional way of aiding digestion after a meal. It will also help you stay awake through that family story you have heard a million times.  It is easily added to savory bread recipes or biscuits. 

Try this quick bread at your holiday table.

Herb Quick Bread
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 egg
1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup canola oil


In a large bowl, combine the first seven ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, milk and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.  Transfer to a 9-in. x 5-in. x 3-in. loaf pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack to cool completely. 

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