Herbs can be Used for More than Cooking

Pictures downloaded from my camera 2. 128Many years ago a wonderful little book fell into my hands. A small paperback by Claire Loewenfeld and Phillippa Back, it was called Herbs, Health and Cookery. At the time I was home caring for my five children and eager to find things to do there to make good use of my limited leisure time. Always interested in health and healing, I was fascinated to learn that the simple herbs I used to flavor my cooking could be made into teas to help in healing physical ailments. Recently I was happy to acquire a hard bound copy from the internet to replace my ancient paperback.

I read avidly and experimented. Following my advice, someone studying for her bar exam tried Rosemary tea for brain stimulation and passed with flying colors. That encouraged me to continue learning and trying different herbs for the uses described in the book. It was wonderful too that all the herbs I needed could be purchased at the grocery store and used for food preparation as well. I went on to study herbs in a variety of books and eventually even to lecture on them. This book launched me into a whole new mini career.

It occurred to me there might be synchronicity between certain herbs and the stories involving them. In the days before most people could read or write, information was passed on orally. One way to get people to remember something was to put it into a song or disguise it in a tale or a myth. Garlic, for instance is an excellent blood cleanser. It has antiseptic and antibiotic qualities. Once upon a time people would wear a clove of it on a string to ward off germs. It was also said to be effective against blood sucking vampires. Interesting that it can heal the germs that “bite” and infect the body.

I am also a folk singer and one of my favorite songs has always been “Scarborough Fair.” This song goes back many hundreds of years. I began thinking that it too might be conveying information, so I tried combining dried Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme. Mixed in equal parts, the herbs proved to make a wonderful healing tea for a variety of ills, including flu and colds. One friend said she stopped taking aspirin for her aches and pains and drank this tea instead. Now, remembering this I have been making this tea for myself and it really does work well for my arthritis. Herbs are fun to explore, and common kitchen herbs can be effective healing agents as well as tasty flavorings.

There is a saying to the effect that the person who has Sage in her garden will live to a ripe old age. Thyme is an excellent herb to assist in immunity and oil of Thyme or Thymol is used in many mouthwashes. Rosemary is a brain stimulant and helps with circulation and Parsley has a number of benefits including vitamins, minerals, and action as a mild diuretic. We had a guest once who came down with a flu on a visit to us. Two days of Scarborough Fair and he was healed. I have relied on herbs for many years, and find their gentle effective healing properties to be perfect for me.

Everything’s better with Parsley on it

Parsley“Remember the parsley,” Stephen said as I got out the eggs to make scrambled eggs for supper.

I nodded and smiled. “I have some in the ‘Fridge, already cut up.”

He smiled back. “Everything’s better with parsley on it. I love the way it tastes.”

“You’re right,” I said. “And that sounds like a good title for my next column. I put a little coconut oil for the sausages in a small frying pan, broke the eggs into a bowl, and beat them up. I’m always happy to use it in any recipe because in addition to tasting good, parsley is very good for you.

I’ve read and researched many recipes for scrambled eggs; they all suggest adding a small amount of liquid before cooking. I no longer do. A friend of ours once made us scrambled eggs and they were excellent. I asked him his recipe. “Lots of butter in the pan and nothing in the eggs,” he told me. I had for years made them using water, a couple of tablespoons or so depending on how many eggs–advice from a French friend. Before that I used milk, and even tomato juice. Now I prefer the eggs by themselves, especially the cage free ones with a chunk of butter.

I got out the container of chopped parsley from the ‘Fridge and added some to the eggs. When I lecture on herbs I often speak about how healthy parsley is for you. It has lots of vitamin A and C, iron and many other minerals. It is a mild diuretic, and also is good for the liver. I make a parsley tonic by soaking fresh parsley in cold water in the ‘Fridge for twenty-four hours, overnight. Then I pour it off and drink it during the next 24, while making a new batch. It is both refreshing and energizing, without a caffeine high. Helps with joint pain too. I reuse the parsley a couple of times, then snip it into soup.

I put a chunk of butter—about a tablespoon per egg into the warming frying pan and waited for it to melt over moderate heat. Then I poured in the parsleyed eggs and turned them a couple of times. The sausages were ready as were the salad and the toasted gluten free English muffins. What a tasty supper!

Many chew parsley for sweeter breath after a meal, especially one with garlic, giving themselves a health boost as well. The list of benefits to be gained from consuming parsley are numerous. It is a mild diuretic, however any potassium lost is replaced by it. Calcium and iron are two more beneficial ingredients. When you brew it cold as I do, none of the vitamins are lost to heat, and you get all the benefits of both vitamins and minerals. It is used by herbalists to help remove gall stones and kidney stones. Hippocrates said, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine your food. Parsley is both. In ancient Greece, athletes wore wreaths made from it to signify their strength and endurance. Parsley is a real winner.

 

 

Are you a parsley lover? Write me and tell me how you like it. I love hearing from my readers. Suggestions and comments are welcome.