Posts Tagged ‘Guest Posts’
There are all kinds of advantages to having a professor for a best friend, one of which is hearing about the interesting experiments she does with her students. Not one to balk at the reputed validity of natural remedies, my professor friend did an experiment that tested garlic’s antibacterial power against that of commercial, synthetic antibiotics. While the test was not within the body (they used Petri dishes), the outcome was worth noting: garlic out-performed the synthetic antibiotics by leaps and bounds. The results were unquestionable – the bacterial cultures were obliterated by the application of garlic, whereas the bacteria were only partially destroyed by the commercial antibiotics.
It would seem that garlic deserves a closer look.
The bulbs and cloves of garlic (Allium sativum) have taken root over much of the world, although garlic is probably indigenous to west central Asia. It is mostly known as a culinary herb or flavoring agent in modern America, but it was cultivated as a medicine in ancient times. Its medicinal reputation is once again gaining momentum. Herbal writer and natural health advocate Stephen Harrod Buhner says that “No other herb comes close to the multiple system actions of garlic, its antibiotic activity, and its immune-potentiating power.” So confident is Buhner in garlic’s disease-fighting capabilities that he declares it the herb of choice should an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant bacterial disease beset us.
Garlic’s antibiotic and antiviral properties are apparently active whether the herb is cooked, raw, juiced, or in capsule form. Some herbalists and natural health practitioners, however, believe that garlic is most effective when taken fresh and raw, usually in the form of juice. Be aware, however, that raw garlic juice is a powerful emetic (emetics are herbs that induce vomiting), and too much can cause unpleasant nausea as well as vomiting. “You won’t die if you take too much [raw garlic juice],” says Buhner, “but you will want to.” If large quantities are needed to fight off an acute infection, taking tiny amounts of garlic juice throughout the day, diluted in vegetable juice, is said to be most effective and tolerable.
Garlic works topically, too. It is even antifungal, and can be used as a topical treatment for athlete’s foot and yeast infections. Tuberculosis, once an all-but-forgotten disease of antiquity, has returned in various parts of the modern world, and tends to be resistant to antibiotics. Garlic is said to be quite effective against tuberculosis – this may be due at least in part to garlic’s natural tendency to permeate the lungs. The body actually excretes garlic from the body via the lungs, which is why “garlic breath” can linger long after eating the herb.
My favorite way to use garlic medicinally is as a broth. I have also found that garlic helps ease allergy symptoms significantly, which may be due to its high levels of quercetin, a natural antihistamine.
For a flavorful, healing, antibacterial and antiviral broth, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Add one clove of peeled, minced garlic and 1 chopped scallion to the water. Simmer for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and let the broth cool for about 5 minutes. Then stir in 2 teaspoons of miso paste.
Who knew that such powerful healing was quietly sitting on grocery store shelves?
“Elizabeth Battle is a freelance writer and editor who has a lifelong interest in herbs and natural health. She is a homeschooling, single mother who is currently studying with Vintage Remedies and working on a book about her experiences in the Appalachian mountains. Elizabeth lives in West Virginia with her son, various chickens, three cats, and a dog.”
(Note: I have some new guest bloggers that will join us from time to time! These guests are students at Vintage Remedies or staff members with some great things to share. This is the first post by Elizabeth Battle, Clinical Master Herbalist student.)
The holidays are often accompanied by a great deal of food-induced guilt. Many of us find ourselves feeling overstuffed and ready to commit to a New Year’s resolution of dieting and exercise.
Of course, overeating is not healthy no matter what food you’re consuming. After all, too many calories are too many calories! But healthfully prepared and eaten in moderation, traditional Thanksgiving fare can benefit your body and bring you health for the upcoming holidays and New Year.
Whole cranberries – not the sugary, canned jelly – are very nutritious. Their high levels of Vitamin C are welcome additions to the diet during cold and flu season, and cranberries’ high levels of antioxidants make them valuable sources of nutrients. They have antibacterial properties (hence their reputation as a urinary tract preventative and treatment). Fresh berries are optimal, but frozen berries are a close second. Much of the Vitamin C is lost in the drying process, but dried berries still retain their antioxidants. In November, these little berries are at their seasonal peak, so they are less expensive and fresh ones are readily available in most grocery stores. Try this raw alternative to processed cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving:
Blender Cranberry Sauce (4-6 servings)
Put the following into a blender:
-2 cups fresh cranberries
-1 peeled, segmented orange
-1 peeled, chopped apple
-1 cup of sweetener such as evaporated cane juice, honey, dates/date sugar, agave nectar, etc.
Add unsweetened cranberry juice, orange juice, or water to get the mixture to a blender-friendly consistency. Then just blend and serve.
Turkey – especially free-range, organic turkey – is a good source of lean protein when healthfully prepared (hint: not deep-fried). Turkey has riboflavin (Vitamin B2), phosphorous, and selenium. The latter is an antioxidant trace mineral that has been implicated in blood sugar regulation. Brush a whole turkey or turkey breast with olive oil before baking, and your turkey will be a tasty, healthful dish.
Put away the canned soup and fried onion rings and serve these crispy green vegetables coated with flavorful herbs and spices. Green beans are full of vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamins C, K, and A, iron, calcium, and several B vitamins. They also have those coveted Omega-3 fatty acids, a bit rare in a plant food. Try steaming a pound of them lightly and tossing them with 2 teaspoons of organic butter, ¼ teaspoon ground mustard, ¼ teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon minced chives or scallions, and a generous dash of garlic powder. You can also combine them with antioxidant-rich tomatoes in a baked dish.
Baked Green Beans and Tomatoes (5 servings)
Saute in 1 tablespoon olive oil until translucent:
-1/4 cup chopped onion
-2 cups steamed or lightly cooked green beans
-1 cup diced tomatoes, canned or fresh
-1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (use less if using salted canned tomatoes)
-herbs such as oregano or marjoram to taste
Pour this mixture into a greased casserole and top with:
-1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (fresh or dry)
-1/2 cup grated, sharp cheddar
Cover with foil and bake at 350 for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
Try something new by giving traditional Thanksgiving foods a bit of a make-over this year. And have a healthy Thanksgiving!
- Elizabeth Battle
Elizabeth Battle is a freelance writer and editor who has a lifelong interest in herbs and natural health. She is a homeschooling, single mother who is currently studying with Vintage Remedies and working on a book about her experiences in the Appalachian mountains. Elizabeth lives in West Virginia with her son, various chickens, three cats, and a dog.