Friday, May 8, 2009

Chai Tea Cures Flatulence? What?

It’s Friday and the sun is shining! It’s been over a week since the sun has shone down in our little hollow and the last thing I want to do is hang out in here with my computer. The gardens are calling. So I’m going to cheat today and just regurgitate something someone else wrote. This info comes from Body and Soul Magazine, one of my favorites. The author is Hillari Dowdle (what a name). The original article has 25 remedies in it, but I’m only going to highlight the ones I think might be most useful. These are all natural treatments for common ailments. Most of the ingredients you probably have in your kitchen. But first, here’s my own experience with using a inexpensive, natural treatment.

A week or so ago when I was planting my 200 hostas I was stung by a bee. It hurt but I was ankle deep in mud from the springs in the hillside we had just unearthed and the hillside is at the bottom of our property. Having already hiked up the hill three or four times to get tools I forgot or to negotiate a peace treaty between siblings, I just didn’t have it in me to run up one more time for the bendryl cream. I looked around and realized I had the perfect treatment surrounding me – mud! I slapped some mud on the offending sting and the swelling and pain dissipated in minutes. Somewhere in my travels I’d heard you could put mud on swellings and stings, but this was the first time an opportunity presented itself. My kids get stung multiple times all summer long. Next time it happens I’m going to whip up some always available mud and slap it on.

Blemishes, rashes, and burns: Tumeric
Use it topically to bring pimples to a head quickly and soothe acne, scapes, and sunburns. It stains, so be sure to wash your hands after use. Add several drops of water to ½ teaspoon of powdered turmeric to make a thin paste. With your fingers, spread the mixture on blemishes, sunburns, or acne. Leave on for up to an hour, rinse.

Headache: Peppermint
Fill a small bowl with ice water and add 5-7 drops of peppermint oil. Dip a washcloth into the bowl, wring it out, and apply the compress to your forehead for 10-15 minutes. Alternatively, add several drops of the oil to a washcloth, throw it into the corner of a shower, and climb into the minty steam. (I’m wondering if peppermint tea will help too. I use peppermint tea for tummy aches.)

Bug Bites: Banana (this might be a bit more cleanly than mud!)
Apply the banana peel, fruit-side down, directly on the bite and hold it there until the itching or burning subsides. (I’m packing bananas on our next camping trip.)

Stuffy head: Salsa (my kind of medicine!)
Hot peppers thin the mucus in the nasal passages so that it’s easier to expel and they do the same thing for the lungs – making it easier to expectorate. Plus they’re one of the top sources of vitamin C. So pick some spicy salsa with hot chilies like jalapeños, serranos, or habeneros and snack until your sniffles subside.

Flatulence (Do you think there is any way to get a puppy to drink this?) – Chai
Add 1/3 teaspoon each of ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and ginger to 8 ounces of hot water and steep for several minutes. Strain, sweeten with a bit of raw sugar or honey, and enjoy before or after a meal.

Colds: Garlic
Raw garlic’s strong antimicrobial properties make it effective for fending off and treating the common cold. Peel one or two garlic cloves, dip in honey, and chew. (Ew! No way my kids would do this!) Or simply mince a few cloves, add warm water and a little honey, stir, and swallow without chewing. Repeat every 2-3 hours from the first sign of sickness. (I can’t imagine doing either of these, but them I’m skweamish. My favorite salad dressing has raw garlic in it. I might be tempted to make an extra potent batch and eat it with carrot sticks or drench my salad with it. I’m sure you can think of a way to get some raw garlic down. I don’t know if garlic really works or not, but –knock on wood- I never seem to get colds and I eat a lot of garlic.)

Fatigue: Blackstrap Molasses
Ongoing fatigue can have many causes, so it needs a physician’s diagnosis and care. But for run-of-the-mill fatigue, blackstrap molasses – a good source of iron, calcium, and other minerals – can work wonders. It’s a pick-me-up from the pioneer days and a great restorative remedy for women suffering from what used to be known as “tired blood.” Dissolve 1-2 teaspoons of blackstrap molasses in ½ cup of warm water or milk, such as almond, rice, or soy, and drink daily. (I don’t know if cooked blackstrap molasses has the same effect, but the wheat bread recipe I posted a few months ago calls for 2 tablespoons of molasses. Anadama bread also uses a hefty amount of molasses and is delicious. I’ll post that recipe below.)

Sadness: Cinnamon
It’s safe, it contains no sugar, and clinical research has shown it even helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over a stick of cinnamon and steep for 10 minutes. Drink. (I’m going to start sprinkling cinnamon on everything I can think of!)

If you’d like to see the whole article “Secret Kitchen Cures”, check out Most of the article seems to have come from the book Herbs for the Home Medicine Chest by Rosemary Gladstar (again, with the name!).

Anadama Bread (from Family Fun Magazine)
2 Cups boiling water
2 Tablespoons butter
½ Cup yellow cornmeal
1 pkg yeast
½ Cup warm water
¾ Cup molasses (use Blackstrap Molasses)
1 ½ teaspoon salt
4 2/3 cups flour

Carefully pour boiling water into a big bowl. Add butter and sprinkle in the cornmeal, whisking to mix. Let the mixture stand until lukewarm.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir the yeast, molasses, and salt in to the cornmeal, then beat in the flour.
Spoon the batter into 2 buttered loaf pans, cover, and let rise 1 hour (until doubled).
Preheat Oven to 350 and bake 45-50 minutes.

I haven’t made this in years, but I’m going to try it with wheat and spelt flour this week. I remember it to be a delicious sweet bread with no refined sugar.

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