Spice Up Your Brain

Brand spankin new ....

....scientific data shows that spices and herbs are quit healthful and good brain food. They nourish and invigorate your brain. So, unless you just have to take drugs to please your doctor, or you don't know any different, or are lazy and don't give a shit what you swallow, and put in your temple, I might add, then by all means get ready to be amazed, because they work, work well, and without side-affects. (there are no side-affects - their not drugs!)

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Saffron

Feel down in the dump, depressed, got the blues; then try eating more of this pungent herbal beauty. The University of Tehran discovered that a dose, twice daily, works as well if not better than Prozac for moderate or mild depression.

Saffron (pronounced /ˈsæfrən/) is a spice derived from the flower of the saffron crocus (Crocus sativus), a species of crocus in the Iridaceae. A C. sativus flower bears three stigmas, each the distal end of a carpel. Together with their styles—stalks connecting stigmas to their host plant—stigmas are dried and used in cooking as a seasoning and colouring agent. Saffron, long the world's most expensive spice by weight,is native to Southwest Asia.

Saffron's bitter taste and an iodoform- or hay-like fragrance result from the chemicals picrocrocin and safranal. A carotenoid dye, crocin, allows saffron to impart a rich golden-yellow hue to dishes and textiles. Saffron has further medicinal applications.

The English word saffron stems from the Latin word safranum via the 12th-century Old French term safran. Latin safranum is also the source of the Italian zafferano and Spanish azafrán.Safranum derives via Persian زعفران (za'ferân) ultimately from the Arabic word زَعْفَرَان (za'farān), which is itself derived from the adjective أَصْفَر (aṣfar, "yellow"). Asbaghi gives an alternative derivation arguing that زَعْفَرَان (za'farān) is the arabicized form of the persian word زرپران (zarparān) - "having yellow leaves".

The history of saffron cultivation reaches back more than 3,000 years.The wild precursor of domesticated saffron crocus was Crocus cartwrightianus. Human cultivators bred wild specimens by selecting for unusually long stigmas. Thus, a sterile mutant form of C. cartwrightianus, C. sativus, emerged in late Bronze Age Crete.Experts believe saffron was first documented in a 7th century BC Assyrian botanical reference compiled under Ashurbanipal. Documentation of saffron's use over the span of 4,000 years in the treatment of some 90 illnesses has been uncovered.

Garlic

Long praised for it's many benefits for your body, now we can add the mind to the lengthing list that Ginger offers. It may now fight brain cancer. Garlic compounds, as stated in the journal Cancer eliminated and killed brain cancer cells, leading experts to predict that garlic based treatments aren't far behind. But if you wait for the FDA you mite as well look for your burial plot instead.

Allium sativum, commonly known as garlic, is a species in the onion family Alliaceae. Its close relatives include the onion, shallot, leek, chive, and Rakkyo. Garlic has been used throughout history for both culinary and medicinal purposes. The garlic plant's bulb is the most commonly used part of the plant. With the exception of the single clove types, the bulb is divided into numerous fleshy sections called cloves. The cloves are used for cloning, consumption (raw or cooked), or for medicinal purposes, and have a characteristic pungent, spicy flavor that mellows and sweetens considerably with cooking. The leaves, and flowers (bulbils) on the head (spathe) are also edible, and being milder in flavor than the bulbs, they are most often consumed while immature and still tender. Additionally, the immature flower stalks (scapes) of the hardneck and elephant types are sometimes marketed for uses similar to asparagus in stir-fries. The papery, protective layers of "skin" over various parts of the plant are generally discarded during preparation for most culinary uses, though in Korea immature whole heads are sometimes prepared with the tender skins intact. The root cluster attached to the basal plate of the bulb is the only part not typically considered palatable in any form. The sticky juice within the bulb cloves is used as an adhesive in mending glass and china.

Medicinal use and health benefits

Garlic, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 623 kJ (149 kcal) Carbohydrates 33.06 g Sugars 1.00g Dietary fiber 2.1 g Fat 0.5 g Protein 6.39 g - beta-carotene 5 μg (0%) Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.2 mg (15%) Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.11 mg (7%) Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.7 mg (5%) Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.596 mg (12%) Vitamin B6 1.235 mg (95%) Folate (Vit. B9) 3 μg (1%) Vitamin C 31.2 mg (52%) Calcium 181 mg (18%) Iron 1.7 mg (14%) Magnesium 25 mg (7%) Phosphorus 153 mg (22%) Potassium 401 mg (9%) Sodium 17 mg (1%) Zinc 1.16 mg (12%) Manganese 1.672 mg
Selenium 14.2 μg

In test tube studies garlic has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. However, these actions are less clear in humans. Garlic is also claimed to help prevent heart disease (including atherosclerosis, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure) and cancer.Animal studies, and some early investigational studies in humans, have suggested possible cardiovascular benefits of garlic. A Czech study found that garlic supplementation reduced accumulation of cholesterol on the vascular walls of animals. Another study had similar results, with garlic supplementation significantly reducing aortic plaque deposits of cholesterol-fed rabbits. Another study showed that supplementation with garlic extract inhibited vascular calcification in human patients with high blood cholesterol.The known vasodilative effect of garlic is possibly caused by catabolism of garlic-derived polysulfides to hydrogen sulfide in red blood cells, a reaction that is dependent on reduced thiols in or on the RBC membrane. Hydrogen sulfide is an endogenous cardioprotective vascular cell-signaling molecule.

Cinnamon

Want to react faster while driving or playing your favorite sport, or making love; take some of this spice. Cinnamon, a study found, speeds the rate at which your brain processes your visual cues. A reason for this is this spice regulates blood sugar levels and this will help you stay focused and in-touch with your surroundings.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum) is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka, or the spice obtained from the tree's bark. It is often confused with other, similar species and the spices derived from them, such as Cassia and Cinnamomum burmannii, which are often called cinnamon to.

Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. The Old Testament makes specific mention of the spice many times: first when Moses is commanded to use both sweet cinnamon (Hebrew קִנָּמוֹן, qinnāmôn) and cassia in the holy anointing oil;in Proverbs where the lover's bed is perfumed with myrrh, aloe and cinnamon; and in Song of Solomon, a song describing the beauty of his beloved, cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon.It was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god: a fine inscription records the gift of cinnamon and cassia to the temple of Apollo at Miletus. Though its source was kept mysterious in the Mediterranean world for centuries by the middlemen who handled the spice trade, to protect their monopoly as suppliers, cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BC, but those who report that it had come from China confuse it with cassia. It is also alluded to by Herodotus and other classical writers. It was too expensive to be commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome, but the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year's worth of the city's supply at the funeral for his wife Poppaea Sabina in CE 65.

In medicine it acts like other volatile oils and once had a reputation as a cure for colds. It has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system. Cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity.The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties,which can aid in the preservation of certain foods.

Cinnamon has been reported to have remarkable pharmacological effects in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus and insulin resistance. However, the plant material used in the study was mostly from cassia and only few of them are truly from Cinnamomum zeylanicum (see cassia's medicinal uses for more information about its health benefits).Recent advancement in phytochemistry has shown that it is a cinnamtannin B1 isolated from C. zeylanicum which is of therapeutic effect on Type 2 diabetes, with the exception of the postmenopausal patients studied on C. cassia.Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath and its regular use is believed to stave off common cold and aid digestion.

Ginger

by JR Hager II
by JR Hager II

Ginger

Ginger is a tuber that is consumed whole as a delicacy, medicine, or spice. It is the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale. It lends its name to its genus and family (Zingiberaceae). Other notable members of this plant family are turmeric, cardamom, and galangal.

Ginger cultivation began in South Asia and has since spread to East Africa and the Caribbean. It is sometimes called root ginger to distinguish it from other things that share the name ginger.

The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger is caused by a mixture of zingerone, shogaols and gingerols, volatile oils that compose one to three percent of the weight of fresh ginger. In laboratory animals, the gingerrolls increase the motility of the gastrointestinal tract and have analgesic, sedative, antipyretic and antibacterial properties. Ginger oil has been shown to prevent skin cancer in mice and a study at the University of Michigan demonstrated that gingerrolls can kill ovarian cancer cells.

Ginger contains up to three percent of a fragrant essential oil whose main constituents are sesquiterpenoids, with (-)-zingiberene as the main component. Smaller amounts of other sesquiterpenoids (β-sesquiphellandrene, bisabolene and farnesene) and a small monoterpenoid fraction (β-phelladrene, cineol, and citral) have also been identified.

The pungent taste of ginger is due to nonvolatile phenylpropanoid-derived compounds, particularly gingerols and shogaols, which form from gingerols when ginger is dried or cooked. Zingerone is also produced from gingerols during this process; this compound is less pungent and has a spicy-sweet aroma.Ginger is also a minor chemical irritant, and because of this was used as a horse suppository by pre-World War I mounted regiments for feaguing.

Ginger has a sialagogue action, stimulating the production of saliva, which makes swallowing easier.

Medicinal use

The medical form of ginger historically was called Jamaica ginger; it was classified as a stimulant and carminative, and used frequently for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA's "generally recognized as safe" list, though it does interact with some medications, including warfarin. Ginger is contraindicated in people suffering from gallstones as it promotes the production of bile. Ginger may also decrease pain from arthritis, though studies have been inconsistent, and may have blood thinning and cholesterol lowering properties that may make it useful for treating heart disease.

G I N G E R  helped me with this as well !


Turmeric

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20°C and 30°C, and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive (Materia Indica, 1826, Whitelaw Ainslie, M.D. M.R.A.S., via Google Books). Plants are gathered annually for their rhizomes, and re-seeded from some of those rhizomes in the following season.

The rhizomes are boiled for several hours and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in curries and other South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine, for dyeing, and to impart color to mustard condiments. Its active ingredient is curcumin and it has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavor and a mustardy smell.

-In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian Saffron, since it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.

Erode, a city in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu, is the world's largest producer and most important trading center of turmeric in Asia. For these reasons, Erode in history is also known as "Yellow City"or "Turmeric City" Sangli, a town in the southern part of the Indian western state of Maharashtra, is the second largest and most important trading center for turmeric in Asia.

In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has many medicinal properties and many in South Asia use it as a readily available antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises. It is also used as an antibacterial agent.

It is taken in some Asian countries as a dietary supplement, which allegedly helps with stomach problems and other ailments. It is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan. Pakistanis also use it as an anti-inflammatory agent, and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort associated with irritable bowel syndrome, and other digestive disorders. In Afghanistan and northwest Pakistan, turmeric is applied to a piece of burnt cloth, and placed over a wound to cleanse and stimulate recovery. Indians, in addition to its Ayurvedic properties, use turmeric in a wide variety of skin creams that are also exported to neighboring countries.

Turmeric is currently being investigated for possible benefits in Alzheimer's disease,cancer, arthritis, and other clinical disorders.

Turmeric rhizome

In the latter half of the 20th century, curcumin was identified as responsible for most of the biological effects of turmeric. According to a 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal, research activity into curcumin and turmeric is increasing, with supplement sales increased 35% from 2004. The U.S. National Institutes of Health currently has registered 19 clinical trials underway to study use of dietary turmeric and curcumin for a variety of clinical disorders (dated February 2010).

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Comments 2 comments

lxxy profile image

lxxy 6 years ago from Beneath, Between, Beyond

Awesome and informative. Now I know what's good with food on this planet. ;)


johnwindbell profile image

johnwindbell 6 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies Author

With the oil spills (not the last) and all the pollution; enjoy real food while we can. 'Soilent Green' comin at cha!

The fish will probably be the first to go. You and I and our kids won't see it, thank Buddha.

Thanks for the comment,

JWB

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