Tuesday, 30 December 2008

The Hibiscus - Beautiful and More Than Useful

The Hibiscus - Beautiful and More Than UsefulThere are well over 200 species of the herb hibiscus plant, which is native to warm, temperate, subtropical and tropical climates throughout the world. The herb comes is both annual and perennial herbaceous plants as well has some varieties forming woody shrubs and small trees.

The leaves range from a simple ovate to lance like quite often with a toothed margin. The flowers are impressive, big and confident with five or more trumpet-shaped petals. The colours range from pure white to pink, red, purple, yellow measuring 4 cm to 15 cm wide. The fruits are dry five capsule pods containing several seeds in each set. These are released as the capsule splits open at maturity.

The uses of hibiscus are quite amazing. As well as garden show attractions the flowers are also a main ingredient in many herbal teas.

Having so many varieties each different strain has different uses from paper making to an eating vegetable and from making herbal teas to jam making. The versatility of this herb is quite astounding.

The Hibiscus - Beautiful and More Than UsefulIn Mexico, there is a drink called Jamaican water it has a tanginess and mild flavour and when sugar is added it tastes like cranberry juice. People on diets of that have kidney problems often take this without the sugar as a natural diuretic. Simply place dehydrated hibiscus flowers into some boiling water let it cool and then serve with ice. In Egypt a similar tea is made from the petals called karkade.

The bark of the hibiscus has fibres renown for its toughness. The stripped bark is put in the sea to rot to break the fibres down. In Polynesia these fibres are then used for making grass skirts and wigs.

The white hibiscus has medicinal properties used in Indian traditional medicine. The roots make various remedies believed to cure various illnesses.

In southern India the Red hibiscus is used for hair care purposes, the flower and leaves extracts are put into the hair to combat hair-fall and dandruff on the scalp. The oils from the herb are also used to protect hair. This involves soaking the leaves and flowers in water then grinding it into a thick paste and applied as a natural shampoo.

Travelling onto the Philippines where the hibiscus is processed and used as bubble gum by children. The flowers and leaves are crushed until the sticky. Then hollow papaya stalks are dipped into the sticky hibiscus and blown up using the straws as bubble blowers.

The Hibiscus - Beautiful and More Than UsefulMoving back to Mexico, dried hibiscus is eaten in fact quite delicacy there as the herb is quite edible.

Now to Hawaii and probably the most famous uses of the hibiscus flower, which is traditionally worn by Hawaiian women. Tucked behind the ear of a Hawaiian maiden shows that she looking for marriage, now you know.

Growing hibiscus flowers need to be done in warm temperatures, namely from 15 C to 30 C degrees. The roots mustn't be over watered and plenty of drainage is needed, only water the plant if it looks dry. Plant feed is needed to ensure a good flowering alongside an insect and pest free environment. A little tricky to grow, but well worth it with the beauty you get as a result.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Prickly Ash - A Herb With Many Benefits

Prickly Ash - A Herb With Many BenefitsHaving heard of Prickly Ash before, but really never knowing what is it was or what it did, it was about time to find out. It is also known by the names Toothache Tree, Yellow Wood, Tumburu, and Hua Jiao to name a few and is native to North America. The bark,and berries are used as medicine. There is a Chinese prickly ash that is related and this grows in Asia and is also used for herbal treatment to many ailments.

Generally the prickly ash is an effective herbal remedy for poor circulation, fevers, mouth sores, paralysis, ulcers and wounds. There are many other uses of this herb in the alternative medicine genre currently still being discovered.

The Native American tribes relied on prickly ash bark as an effective remedy for upset stomachs, sore throats, aching muscles and skin infections. Still in the USA toward the end of the 19th century, the Prickly Ash Bark was used as a digestive tonic that stimulated the nervous system; this was also used for the treatment of cholera. Rheumatic sufferers were also treated effectively.

Prickly Ash Bark possesses oils, fat, sugar, gum and tannin along with many alkaloids components. It gives stimulation to the entire body. It aids sluggish digestion whilst at the same time destroys toxins such as worms and yeast overgrowth.

Prickly Ash - A Herb With Many BenefitsThe plant stems have even been used as a toothbrush, as well as being used as a poultice for toothaches, hip and back pain as well as a lotion for poor circulation as massage oil.

The prickly ash helps in providing additional oxygen and nourishments to the blood circulation and at the same time helps in removing the waste materials from the body.

In China the Chinese version of prickly ash has its use in helping get rid of parasites, this is in addition to many other cures mentioned earlier.

The prickly pear can easily be bought online at many herbal medicine sites and comes in many forms, it is a big business now, but still in the States and China, home made tonics are made and used and well practiced. Living out of these regions the only access is through commercial suppliers. However the commercial products can be found to be reasonably priced considering the benefits they give.



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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

A Beautiful Beef and Herb Recipe

A Beautiful Beef and Herb RecipeThe flavours that some herbs give combined with other foods just are beyond description sometimes, especially is they are fresh and grown away from commercial enterprises. This recipe was taught to me from my father who was a professional Cordon Bleu Chef in one of the top London Hotels. He used to grow all his own herbs in our London garden and use those in his home cooking. These were memorable moments being brought up on these flavours, which I can still taste now. He used to get the meat from Smithfield market at 4:00 in the morning before London had woken up.

A Beautiful Beef and Herb RecipeRoasted beef fillet is one of the legends of the meat genre; it needs a little bit of fat on, as it isn’t natural for beef without fat. Unfortunately many food chain companies demand all the fat cut off, if this is the case and your only source of beef get some bacon fat to use with it instead.

This is a very simple recipe that only takes forty minutes from start to finish and the combination of the meat and herbs is something else.

Ingredients:

  • 2 kg fillet of beef with fat or bacon fat
  • Fresh rosemary
  • Fresh thyme
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh parsley
  • 3 cloves garlic, cut into thin slivers
  • Sea Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:

Turn the oven on and preheat to 220 Celsius. Once the string of the fillet has been untied stuff the rosemary, thyme, and oregano through and under the fat making sure it is pushed all the way around. The string can then be retied to seal the stuffing firmly in the package.

Using a sharp knife, pierce slits into the fat through to the flesh of the meat and place the slices of garlic in the cuts made. The salt and pepper can now be added to finish the dish for taste.

With the fat side up, put the meat parcel into a foil covered shallow roasting tray (I always use a foil to base trays to save on washing up!) It should just big enough to encompass the meat mass.

A Beautiful Beef and Herb RecipeAll it needs is an initial 10 minutes baking then turn the heat down to 175 Celsius and bake for a further 20 minutes for a rare finish or 30 minutes or longer for a medium finish. This dish shouldn’t be baked beyond this time otherwise it will turn tough.

Let the dish stand 15 minutes once out of the oven then slice. Discard the herbs and string and serve hot garnished with the fresh parsley. It can also be cooled to room temperature and then be put in the fridge for servings later on or the next day.

It should be enough to serve for up to 6 people.

Note:
Ideal in sandwiches by the way!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Herbes de Provence - Memories of France

Herbes de Provence - Memories of FranceI've been the south of France many times, usually on cycling tours and once there and you cannot fail to be inspired with the French use of herbs. The most famous is named after the region of Provence, called Herbes de Provence, which is are a mixture of dried herbs from the region. Not many people know that it was only invented during the 1970s!

Herbe de Provence is usually a mixture of rosemary, marjoram, basil, bay leaf, thyme, and sometimes lavender flowers and other local based herbs. The amounts of each herb depends very much of the manufacturer, although generally thyme is the mainstay herb which gives the unique taste produced by the herb mixture.

Herbes de Provence is of course used for cooking and many non cooked foods in France. To flavour grilled foods, especially fish and meat dishes as well as many vegetable stews. The herbs are added before or during cooking or infused with cooking oil before being added into the cooked food.

They are usually sold in bags worldwide and part and parcel of all kitchen larder. The mixture doesn't keep fresh for long so it is wise to buy little and ofter, or dry freeze supplies to extend their keep.

If you wish to make you own mixture I have given a simple instructions for this:

Ingredients:

* 3 Tablespoons dried marjoram
* 3 Tablespoons dried thyme
* 3 Tablespoons dried savory
* 1 teaspoon dried basil
* 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
* 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
* 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds

Method
:

Simply mix all the herbs well and put into and air-tight lidded jar. Store in a cool, dark place and this will be good for up to 6 months.


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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a Herb

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a HerbBananas have always been a treat right from being a kid, and what a treat. The banana was always the favourite fruit, they always went first from the fruit bowl.

It was only recently that I realised that bananas are actually a herb, in fact it holds nature's world record for being the biggest herb as it grow up to 40 feet high. They don't have have stems of wood like trees do and the fruits grow in bunches at the end of the stem, which is made up of overlapping leaves that trap rainwater.

The banana is native to southeast Asia, plantains which are a close relative grows in the tropical regions and indeed are a staple food in many parts of Africa and the Caribbean. Fruit, vegetable or herb, the banana has a main say in many foods products worldwide and the health benefits that they give justify the banana as a health food.

Most plantains are inedible until cooked, usually boiled and then fried or pickled. They have a high starch element in green bananas and plantains. When they ripen they turn yellow and as the starch transforms into sugar. Some varieties of bananas turn red when ripe.

Bananas and plantains are low in fat and rich in fibre, potassium, magnesium, iron, and folic acid all required for a good diet. It has been said that the banana is the only food that you can solely live on as it has all essential the nutrient and vitamin to survive.

The skin of the ripe banana has anti-microbial properties that fight against bacteria. A little known fact is that the inside of the peel is also good for treating mild cases of sunburn. The sugars in ripe bananas provide a quick source of energy, many sportsmen and women use the banana as the perfect snack to keep them going.

Another little know fact is that the bananas are one of the top five fruits least likely to be contaminated with pesticide residue in production as it doesn’t have too many problems with pest and diseases.

Herb Bananas - Yes Bananas Are a HerbDid you also know that a few species of banana are hardy enough to grow outdoors in temperate gardens? Even novice gardeners can grow bananas easily. Kits can be bought from many good garden centres and most are grown in a pot.

Finally, the best treat and my favourite milkshake is the banana version. My own recipe is given here but you can tweak it as I like it sweeten by honey - You can use sugar instead if you wish. I make this in Bulgarian from the cream, milk and honey from my neighbours' cows and bees respectively; the bananas are imported and remain big treat here.

Banana Milkshake Recipe

Ingredients:

350 ml full-fat milk
1 tbsp cream (single or double)
1 1/2 tbsp honey
1-2 ripe bananas
Ice cubes

Method:

Just whack the lot into a liquidiser on full for 30 seconds, pour and serve.

Note:
In the winter sometimes I skip the ice and use hot milk, it's just as good and a great winter warmer!


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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks

There are many alcoholic drink that have herbs as one of the base ingredients, many are liqueurs or spirits as the flavours and aromas of herbs are a great compliment to many distilled sources. Italy seem to have the monopoly of choices, but there are many others that have stood th test of time. I have given just a little selection of some drinks that are around, most available on a worldwide basis and have secret ingredients that are closely guarded. Coming up to Christmas would be a good time to perhaps try some out as many are ideal winter warming drinks.


Herb Based Alcoholic DrinksGaspare Campari
This was created in 1860 and has over 60 secret ingredients. Defiend as an aperitif it is made from bitter herbs, fruit, alcohol and water. Made in Italy it is exported worldwide. The ingredients can be sourced from all over the world. The Campari's holds the secret recipe that has made the brand so special the world over.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks
Disaronno

This dates back to 1525 using a secret and still guarded recipe. An infusion of apricot kernel oil, burnt sugar, alcohol and seventeen herbs and fruits. It has a distinctive almond taste and is produced in Saronno in Italy.






Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks
Genepi des Alpes

This is an alcohol-based liqueur, made of sugar cane syrup, an infusion and a Genepi des Alpes spirit, with a soupcon of an infusion of an amazing 63 other herbs. There is a dry genipi maceration version the base used for this liqueur. The masses infusion of herbs and genipi spirit certain goes to provide major aromatic powers. Being a liqueur, it should be drunk straight and at room temperature or ice cold.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks

Japanese Choya

Choya ginseng liqueur is a herbal preparation using Korean ginseng and twelve other herbs preserved in alcohol. More of a medicinal remedy it should be served 1 x 20 ml. doses three times a day and taken before meals to give a sense of improved and enhanced well-being. This is very expensive and highly regarded in Japan for its powerful and potent properties.



Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks


Gordon's Special Dry London Gin

This is distilled to the original secret recipe. It consists of a blend of juniper berries, citrus and other rare herbs and spices which combined give Gordon’s Gin its distinctive taste and fragrant aroma.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks
Drambuie

Drambuie is Scotland's most famous liqueur and has worldwide circulation. It is made from a blend of Scotch whiskies, with the addition of heather, honey syrup and other secret herbs. It has a history of stories going back to Bonnie Prince Charlie's days in the 18th Century.




Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks


Disaronno Amaretto Originale

An almond-based liqueur, prepared from exotic herbs and fruits with apricot kernels that have been steeped. It is Italy's favourite liqueur.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks

Frangelico

Another Italian liqueur based on hazelnuts, herbs and other berries. Named after a monk called Fra Angelico, it was reported that he led the life of a recluse in the Piedmont area of Italy in the seventeeth century. The drink is perfect for cocktails.



Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks

Jagermeister Liqueur

A famous German herb liqueur which is blessed with a highly unusual flavours. It has a bittersweet taste best served ice-cold in a frozen glass. Not to everyones' taste.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks
Angostura Bitters

This is used for drips and dashes in cocktails and in cooking as a flavour enhancer. Champagne cocktails need this! It is sourced in Trinidad and Tobago from plants and herb extracts.





Herb Based Alcoholic Drinks


Lovage

This old English alcoholic cordial was first distilled in Devon from local herbs and spices. It is meanto to be drunk with brandy as a winter warmer!







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Friday, 12 December 2008

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without Labour

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourWe all know about raspberries, as I cast my mind back to having many a feast of raspberry vines in the garden. The red stained hands and the seeds used to get stuck in our teeth, and still do. Never for a moment did we ever consider the use for the raspberry leaf herb. These were always left to drop of in the autumn and rot back into the ground. The leaves have a wide range of medicinal benefits and can be used fresh or dried in herbal and medicinal teas and as an alcoholic drink.

The leaves of the raspberry plant have been used as a medicinal herb going back many centuries. It is now known to have many beneficial properties including a tonic for pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding. It is believed that if the raspberry leaves tonic is taken daily in the last six to eight weeks of pregnancy it will help to prepare the uterine muscles for labour and thereby make the process of childbirth a little easier.

Other areas of pregnancy reap the benefits of raspberry leaves as it can help ease the symptoms of morning sickness, sooth and reduce the bleeding of gums, a common ailment with pregnant women. It produces a rich source of iron, calcium, manganese and magnesium. The magnesium factor is the key element to helping with pregnancy labour process. Raspberry leaf also possesses vitamins B1, B3 and E which all benefit and aid pregnancy.

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourPregnancy aside, raspberry leaves can also bring relief to sore throats and reduce fever. Commercially you can get raspberry leaves in tablet form, loose tea leave and in teabags. There are also commercially produced alcoholic tinctures which contain the raspberry leaf herb

The raspberry plant is generally bought or planted from propagating the suckers. If you want o grow some yo need to put the the plants about two hand spans apart and form rows. You should plant the rows around 1 1/2 to 2 metres apart as if too close the fruit won't be as good.

A good strong loam soil is ideal as raspberries don't like light soil. Cut down all the old wood that has produced fruit in October and shorten the young shoots to about 1/2 metre in height. The between between the rows should be dug up well and a little fertiliser added. No further care is needed other than a little weeding in the summer. Replace plantations every four years to get the best crops.

It is always my view that growing and making your own herbs and tonics is far better than spending gross amounts of money for commercially produced ones. Your own raspberry leaf herbs can easily be dried yourself and turned into a herbal tea. Raspberry tea actually tastes a bit like conventional black tea, not raspberries, but smells fresher. The other advantage is that there is no caffeine.

Try to pick young fresh raspberry leaves and any sprouts that you see appearing. If you leave them in a sunny position for a few days your leaves will have dried and ready for use.

Rapsberry Leaves - With or Without LabourLike any herb tea, the process is the same one teaspoon of dried raspberry leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 - 15 minutes, strain and add a sweetener can be sugar or honey. Your homemade dried raspberry leaves will keep in fine condition is in an airtight container and should see you through to the next season where you repeat the process - Oh the beauty of nature and the cycle of seasons!

Just a last suggestion is to try experimenting with other dried herbs as a mix with the dried raspberry leaves, you may come up with a unique tea to your own taste. I have tried raspberry and mint and added a touch of lemon to the finished tea - it was a great surprise.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Aromatherapy - All Good News

Aromatherapy - All Good NewsHerbs encompass a mass of natural benefits. Probably the area least known about are the positive affects from the scent they produce. It is a fact that we can identify herbs by their distinctive aroma in most cases. These individual aromas actually affect us in different ways by triggering senses in our brain making changes in how we feel. The more we understand about the brain and how reactions from our sense of smell, aromatherapy will play a more significant part in medical practice.

Everyone has heard of aromatherapy and many dismiss the idea of using smells that achieve medical results as ridiculous. I can see why many think this, many because lots of information about aromatherapy that comes from eccentric people who preach about it on a spiritual belief basic. Much is not scientifically based from detailed medical studies. Aromatherapy is still a new alternative medicine and there's still plenty to learn about it.

The basis of aromatherapy comes from the use of essential oils many of them herbal-based oils. These are extracted from plants using a distilling system. The result is a concentrated liquid that are often very fragrant.

Aromatherapy is used in France in combination with other traditional medical practices. The most successful use to date is for the antiseptic properties the essential oils have. Essential oils are sometimes prescribed and administered by French physicians to targeting harmful organisms that may lead to bacterial, viral or fungal infections.

Aromatherapy - All Good NewsIn many developed westernised countries there are traditional medical practices where the scents of different compounds result in the curing of symptoms of many illnesses. An example of this is the well known 'Vicks VapoRub' or 'Halls Cough Lozengers'. These help clear clogged sinuses and throats from the aroma given off. Aromatic chemicals from natural herbs and plants such as menthol and eucalyptus ease those symptoms, which are often associated with colds and flu.

Aromatherapy is also associated with reducing symptoms of stress. Basil oil is a classic example; this is often suggested to ease the effects of depression and to help you to concentrate. Lavender is used for relaxation and calmness. There are even now attachments into USB ports for laptops are being produced that heat up a little essential oil giving off an aroma to help relax the user. A combination of one of the oldest therapies in tandem with the most up to date technology.

Aromatherapy - All Good NewsAlthough not aromatherapy is currently not scientifically conclusive in proving its benefits, it's easy enough to notice that pleasant scents can make you feel cheerier, happier and much more at ease. You don't need to be a professor in aromatherapy to work that one out. If the 'proof is in the pudding' so to speak, it wouldn't hurt to practice a little aromatherapy as we all know it does have an effect. What’s more it can’t do any harm unlike many other unpractised medication that can possibly give negative side affect. The worse case scenario with the practice of aromatherapy is that you will be left with being surrounded by beautiful scents. Whether you use aromatherapy for medical purposes or just to relax you will also have some form of benefit.


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Thursday, 4 December 2008

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance Needed

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededI have seen the herb St John's Wort ever since I can remember but in supermarkets, health shops and chemist as a processed medicine in various forms I thought it was about time it was looked into, after all, the products off the shelf all originate form the natural herb of St John Wort.

Why can't we find or grow our own St John's Wort and produce homemade tonics instead of paying high street prices? This is a versatile herb that can be used as a an effective medicine both internally and externally, as a drink, a flavourer, a dye and allegedly like so many other herbs brings out magical powers.

St John's Wort is also known as Tipton's Weed, Goat Weed or Klamath Weed. There are around 370 species of this herb from all around the world. St John's Wort is well known as an effective herbal treatment for many ailments. Medicinal use of the herb dates back to ancient Greece.

It can treat severe depression, alcohol cravings alongside bed wetting, and insomnia. It has been found to slow down or restrict the growth of HIV and AIDS in animals, watch this space. The oil extract of St. John's Wort is used for intestinal and stomach problems with the lotion form speeding up the healing of many skin problems, especially sunburns.

In Germany it is used for mild depression, especially in children and teenagers mainly based on the fact that it is cheaper and just as affective as more conventional medical remedies. Native Americans use it for anti-inflammatory, astringent and antiseptic symptoms.

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededIt has yellow flowers and is a perennial herb, which grows wild in many meadows. It like well drained sunny positions where it will thrive. It used to be used to dispel evil by hanging plants over a picture in the house during St John's day after St John the Baptist. With this, the name St John comes from the history of its flowers and harvest on St John's day, 24 June. The word 'Wort' comes from the an Old English word meaning 'root.'

The plant seeds that are produced are small, numerous black three-celled capsules. The flowers have five yellow-petals that measure around 20 mm across coming out to bloom late spring and mid-summer. The leaves have distinctive dots that are translucent looking as if they have been perforated. There is a purple liquid extracted if the flowers or seedpods are squeezed, this can produce red and yellow dyes that are used from the herb.

St. John's Wort has been widely used by many cultures to exorcise demons and spirits. It is said that if you hang some around your neck it will scare off fevers. It is also believed in some circles that burning St John's Wort is effective for exorcisms. Still on the magical uses, it is also worn to strengthen the resolve of the wearer and him or her invincible in war.

Growing the plant is easy. You can transfer the plant as a whole into you own garden or grow it from seeds or cuttings. When harvesting you need to put it in a dark, warm place until it completely dries out. Once dried and will retain the active ingredients in the form of an herbal tea has long been enjoyed help with anaemia, headaches, jaundice, feminine problems and chest congestion. It has a pleasant, but slightly sour taste. Alternatively, you can use the herb in a press to extract the red oil it produces from the leaves. This will keep for a couple of years if kept in a dark container.

St John's Wort is used in some instances for flavouring distilled spirits. Finding this out give me mind to try it in a litre or two of my own homemade Bulgarian rakia next year.

St John's Wort - No St John's Medical Assistance NeededMaking your own St John's Wort infusion (technically tea) is simply a matter of putting 1 teaspoonful of dried St John's Wort in a small cup of hot water and steep for around 5 minutes. This should be drink twice a day one cup at the start and at the end of the day.

If you are into the natural colourings or dyes, you can use the top of the plant which make the yellow dye which is ideal for wool.

St John's Wort is a beautiful herb in many ways and certainly a herb to take serious with so many medical and other fringe benefits it possesses.


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Monday, 1 December 2008

Sesame Seeds - Black White and Red Included

Sesame Seeds - Black White and Red IncludedSesame are generally known as the seeds from the sesame herb. This is the most used seed globally and is a main source of inclusion in foods in the Middle East. Sesame foods such as tahini and halva originated from there.

Sesame seeds are often used in breads dishes and sprinkled on both sweet and savoury dishes. The sesame herb can be eaten raw, dried, or roasted or cooked with all kinds of foods, it is entirely versatile. It contains amino acids and this has been proven benefits for a healthy body.

In the Middle East sesame seeds are regarded as the seeds of immortality. Rich in over 50% of oil it also contains 20 percent protein and beneficial vitamins, A, B and E. Its mineral elements contain a high Zinc content, alongside calcium, copper, magnesium, phosphorus and potassium.

Sesame as a result are an excellent source of calcium ands would benefit in a natural calcium supplement for those who can't drink milk from cows. The seeds have also been found to give a mild antioxidant effect. They possess a skin softening agent and are used as nourishing tonics as well as a laxative.

There are three varieties of sesame, the black seed, white seed and red seed.
  • The black seeds yields the best oil and also most appropriate for medicinal purposes.
  • The white seeded sesame is used for its calcium content
  • The red seeds are rich in iron is used in foods that lack iron.

Sesame Seeds - Black White and Red IncludedThe oil is highly praised for its medicinal value and used in Indian food as it has a fine flavor and high boiling point which is characteristic of Indian food.

The use of sesame seeds in sweet meats or as a ground paste with water and butter to treat hemorrhoids. Externally it is an excellent remedy for ulcers, burns and scalds. In addition the sesame seed cures dysentery and diarrhea problems as well as respiratory and menstrual disorders.

Sesame Seeds - Black White and Red IncludedThe seeds should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. This will be fine for up to 3 months or refrigerated up to 6 months. They can of course be frozen and will keep for a year.

A final interesting fact on sesame is that the Chinese believe that sesame soup is great for growing hair and good health. I have found aone such recipe which you may wish to try. Have your comb at the ready.

Chinese Sesame Soup (For Hair Growth)

Ingredients:

* 1 cup of long-grain white rice
* 1 cup of black sesame seeds
* 1 tbspn of granulated sugar

Method:

In seperate containers wash and drain the rice and sesame seeds. Over a low heat, dry stir-fry the sesames seeds in wok for around 5 minutes. Make sure they do not burn.

The rice should be ground and toasted with the sesame seeds with few tablespoons of water. This can be done in a blender or food processor.

Add the mixture with 2 cups of of water into a saucepan and cook on a medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the sugar and the soup is ready to for serving.

Note: It has to be fresh and cannot be stored or frozen.



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