Herb of the Week

Herb of the Week – Allspice November 17, 2014 20:36

      

Allspice, used as a spice and medicinal herb, is the dried, unripe berry or fruit of the evergreen pimento tree. Other common names include: Jamaican pepper, pimento, pimenta, clove pepper, myrtle pepper, and newspice.The tree grows 22 to 43 feet high on average, but is slow growing. Its leaves are leathery, glossy, and elliptical-shaped. The tree blooms with small white flowers in the spring and fall, turning to clusters of brownish-green berries in the fall. The tree is cultivated in tropical regions, and is native to southern Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. 

Allspice contains a chemical compound called eugenol that is known to be antiseptic and anesthetic. Allspice is also carminative, antidiarrheal, aromatic, a digestive stimulant and tonic, analgesic, and antidontalgic. It also has antifungal, nervous system stimulant, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, and antioxidant properties. It is most extensively used to treat digestive ailments and as a topical pain reliever. Allspice was used medicinally in the 1800s if not before, and could be found in the British Pharmacopeia of 1898. 

Allspice is commonly made into an infusion (1-2 teaspoons of Allspice powder to 1 cup of boiling water) for internal ailments, a poultice for topical application for pain relief, or taken as a supplement in capsule form. 

The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider. 

Allspice may slow blood clotting. Therefore, it is not recommended to take Allspice if you are going into surgery or taking medication that slows blood clotting. Allspice is safe for women who are pregnant or breast-feeding in food amounts, but it is not recommended to take Allspice in medicinal quantities. 

 

Fact Breakdown:

Latin Name: Pimenta dioica

Medicinal Actions: Carminative, anitdiarrheal, rubefacient, aromatic, digestive stimulant, digestive tonic, antioxidant, antiseptic, anesthetic, analgesic, antidontalgic, antifungal, nervous system stimulant, antidepressant, aphrodisiac, tonic

Indications: Flatulence, stomach ache, colic, diarrhea, vomiting, indigestion, dyspepsia, poor appetite, fatigue, nervous exhaustion, hysterical paroxysm, depression, neuralgia, convulsions, menstrual cramping, heavy menstrual bleeding, fever, colds, flu, chest infections, arthritis, rheumatism, muscle aches and pains, joint soreness and pains, bruises, diabetes, yeast infections, fungal infections, tooth and gum pain 

Contraindications: Taking medication that slows blood clotting; going into surgery; pregnancy; breast-feeding

 

Links:

Botanical.com: Allspice - http://botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/a/allsp025.html

HerbalWisdom.com: Pimento/Allspice - http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-pimento.html

 

Jamaican Jerk Sauce

(makes about 1 cup)

 

Allspice is very popular as a culinary spice, and is used in a wide variety of foods, both sweet and savory. Allspice is very abundant in Jamaica, and is a signature spice in Jamaican and other Caribbean cuisine. Give your next barbecue a Jamaican flare with this homemade jerk sauce.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 to 6 Scotch bonnet peppers
  • ½ cup ground Allspice berries
  • ½ cup brown sugar, packed
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 Tbsp ground thyme (or 2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves)
  • 2 bunches green onions
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste

Steps

  1. Seed and core the Scotch bonnet peppers. Be sure to wear gloves.
  2. If available, use whole Allspice berries to the equivalent of ½ cup ground Allspice berries. For a spicier sauce, increase the amount of peppers and/or garlic used.
  3. Place all ingredients in a food processor, and blend until smooth.
  4. Place sauce in an airtight storage container and refrigerate.
  5. To use the sauce:
    1. Wear gloves before applying the jerk sauce. Rub the meat with the seasoning. With pork shoulder, score the fat and rub the seasoning in. With chicken, rub the seasoning under the skin and into the cavity. You can also season a firm-fleshed fish with the jerk sauce.
    2. Marinate overnight before cooking. It is best when grilled.

Herb Of The Week - Gotu Kola March 7, 2014 20:34

 This week, we'll be exploring the properties of the Gotu Kola. The Latin name for this plant is Centella asiatica . It's other names include: Brahma-Manduki, Indian Pennywort, Indian Water Navelwort, Marsh Penny, Thick-Leaved Pennywort, Tsubo-kusa, Tungchian, and White Rot .

 

            In India, Gotu Kola is regarded as one of the most spiritual of all herbs and is regarded as one of the most important rejuvenating herbs in Ayurvedic Medicine.. Growing in some areas of the Himalayas, gotu kola is used by yogis to improve meditation. They use it in helping to develop the energy center at the top of the head, traditionally known as the crown chakra, and to balance the right and left hemispheres of the brain. The Sri Lankans noticed that elephants, who are renowned for their longevity, foraged on the leaves of the plant. Thus the leaves became known as a promoter of long life. Historically in China gotu kola was known to be called "the fountain of life" because legend told that an ancient Chinese herbalist lived for more than 200 years as a result of taking gotu kola.

            The gotu kola likes tropical swampy areas, and grows well along ditches and in low, wet areas. In India and Southeast Asia, the plant frequently suffers from high levels of bacterial contamination, possibly from having been harvested from sewage ditches. The plant is aquatic, and this makes it especially sensitive to pollutants in the water, which are easily incorporated into the plant.

            The stems are slender, green to reddish-green in color, and connect plants to each other. It has long-stalked, green, leaves with rounded edges which have a smooth texture laced with palmately netted veins. It's flowers are pinkish to red in color, born in small, rounded bunches (umbels) near the surface of the soil. The crop matures in three months, and the whole plant, including the roots, is harvested manually.

 

            The main effects of gotu kola are improving memory and concentration, helping with circulatory problems, calming stress, and helping rid of mental confusion and fatigue. The gotu koal is also a good anti-bacterial and anti-viral, so it has a broad range of uses in helping the body fight off and recover from illness, and wounds both internal and external.

            Gotu kola is usually taken by tincture, capsules, or tea infusions. Gotu kola extract can also be applied to surface wounds to help them heal.

 

            Ailments which indicate treatment with gotu kola include: Insomnia, anxiety, surface wounds, fatigue, mental confusion, circulatory problems, helps fight against common flu and cold symptoms, nervous disorders, epilepsy, senility, premature aging, minor burns, scars, scleroderma, skin ulcers, and varicose veins.

            The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

            It is not recommended to take gotu kola if you are pregnant or breast-feeding; if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery.

 

Fact Breakdown:

 

            Latin Name:  Centella asiatica

 

            Medicinal Actions: Antipyretic, Diuretic, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Sedative, Antispasmodic, Antioxidant, Adaptogenic, Tonic, Digestive, Vulnerary, Alterative, Antiviral, Antibiotic, Nervine, Rejuvenating, Blood purifier, Adrenal strengthener

 

            Indications: Improving memory and concentration, relieving stress, fatigue, mental confusion, improving venous insufficiency, circulatory problems, abdominal disorders, aphrodisiac, common cold/flu, varicose veins, hypertrophic scarring, psoriasis, wound healing, nervous disorders, epilepsy; senility, premature aging

 

            Contraindications:  While pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery.

 

Links:

 

University of Maryland Medical Center – Goku Kola

 

              https://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/gotu-kola

 

 

Herbs Are Special – Gotu Kola

 

              https://www.herbsarespecial.com.au/free-herb-information/gotu-kola.html

 

   

 

- Gotu Kola Kenda (Soup) -

 

Ingredients:

 

1 Cup Red raw rice

1 Cup roughly chopped Gotu Kola

3 Cups Coconut milk

2 Cups Water

1 Teaspoon finely chopped ginger

2 Bulbs finely chopped garlic

1 Teaspoon Lemon juice

1 Teaspoon Salt

 

Directions:

 

Wash Rice. Add salt and boil with water.

Crush Gotu kola in a motor or blender using 1 cup of coconut milk.

When Rice is cooked, add 2 cups of coconut milk and mixed the ginger, garlic and Gotu kola juice.

Bring Kanda (soup) in to boil.

Add lemon juice for seasoning.

Serve plain or with Jaggery and roasted bread.