Medicinal Herbs Such As Thyme, Scallion, Onion, Garlic And Pepper
So you are a skeptic. You may ask what on earth is Cardisa saying? What has thyme, scallion and peppers got to do with medicine. We all know that garlic is the 'spice' of life. Some may know what value onions have but as I speak with other persons I realize that many persons do not know that these regular cooking herbs add more than just flavor. Thyme, scallion, onions, garlic and pepper are the five of the most popular herbs used in cooking around the world. Did you know that with these in your kitchen you do not need to spend so much money at the doctor or the pharmacy? I will try, in my layman way, to tell you their medicinal values.
Benefits of Onions
Onion Medicinal Value
There are different types of onions that we know. The three most common kinds are the brown onion, the red onion and the white onion.
Onion is a bulbous herb that is mainly grown for culinary purposes. But recently studies have shown that onions are more than just herbs that make your food taste good. It is said to aid in several ailments especially in thinning of the blood. This prevents clot and eventually prevent heart diseases and will also lower high blood pressure.
There are flavinoids contained in onions which are said to mostly be in the outer layers of the edible part. So it is advised to peel as little as possible when ready to use. The sulfur compounds and quercetin found in onions are very powerful antioxidants that fight against free radicals. Minerals contained in onions include calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, selenium and phosphorus.
Leeks are similar to scallions
Scallion Medicinal value
The scallion is from the same family as the onion. As a matter of fact the scallion is also known as green onions and spring onions. This family also consists of leeks and chives. The scallion has similar properties as the onion and can be used in the same way. In Jamaica we use scallions mostly for soup and onions for meats. We never put onions in soup!
Using the Onion or scallion for medicine
- Do not cook onion or scallion for more than 3 minutes.
- For onion broth - boil water, diced onion and salt
- For scallion broth - same as onion
- For onion soup - you can dice onion and boil for three minutes then puree in blender. Add salt to taste
- By far the best way to have the onions - slice them somewhat thickly but not overly so, sauté onions in a little olive oil for no more than 3 minutes. Use as addition to your steak, fish or any thing you like. At this time you can also eat them as is. The toxicity has been reduced.
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Which of these 5 herbs is your favorite? Please say why in the comments
Thyme medicinal value
Thyme is a shrub that is very aromatic and bears pink flowers and has tiny leaves. Usually thyme is cultivated for culinary purposes and harvested before it blooms. Thyme is said to have antibiotic properties and is used to aid in the healing of infections. Thyme also strengthens the immune system and to relieve upper respiratory ailments. Used externally thyme relieves muscle pain and heals scabies, thrush and gets rid of lice. It is also believed that thyme gets rid of intestinal parasites.
To use thyme as medicine here are three tips:-
- Wash one small bunch/a good sprig/a medium stalk of thyme, place in a teapot and pour 2 -3 cups of boiling water. Let steep for 2-3 minutes. Sweeten (optional) and have a cup for stomach cramps, stomach or intestinal infections. Have it stronger for more serious ailments like gastrointestinal problems
- Put water to boil, add thyme, scallion and a pinch of salt. Let boil for no more than 3 minutes. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Enjoy as broth.
- You will need a mortar and pestle for this. Use fresh thyme. Use the mortar and pestle to bruise thyme, add a few drops of water to moisten. Continue to beat thyme in mortar until it becomes a bit mushy. Add water if needed. The consistency should be that of a poultice. Use poultice on affected areas:- for muscle pain, scabies, lice or thrush.
Garlic Medicinal Value
There are quite a few uses for garlic including flavor. Garlic is a very powerful pain reliever and also has antibiotic, antiviral and anti-fungal properties. Research has shown that garlic could be more effective than some broad spectrum antibiotics. This bulbous herb is also a blood thinning agent and too much may caused the blood not to be able to clot.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic has shown to be effective in the prevention of cancer and heart related diseases. This research, however is not conclusive.
In another study known as the Iowa Women's Health Study, it was discovered that 41,000 women who regularly had garlic, fruits and vegetables had a 35% less risk of developing colon cancer.
In yet another study it showed that garlic helped reduce Chemotherapy side effect by offering relief from fatigue and lack of appetite.
The major component in garlic is called Allin which is sulfur based and odorless. When we crush garlic the allin is converted to allicin and this is what gives garlic that pungent odor.
The best way to have garlic is in it's natural state, however many may experience nausea or upset stomach (including myself). Here are a few tips.
- Slice garlic and sauté for no more than a few seconds, sprinkle on food and enjoy (This is the method that is most recommended by scientists)
- You can also add sliced garlic to your food. That effect it has on the stomach will be significantly reduced (I found that this method did not upset me at all)
- Boil water and pour 1 cup over sliced garlic, enjoy as broth
- Let sliced garlic steep in a glass of water for 5 minutes and drink. I tried this method to help reduce my blood pressure and it worked. I suggest drinking this at night. The water may taste a bit spicy.
- Most people will dice the garlic and have them as tablets. I find this very hard to do as it also upsets my stomach.
Hot Peppers Medicinal Value
The first thing that might come to mind when you think of hot pepper is...."hot, hot, hot". Not all hot peppers are unbearably hot and they have been used for various ailments including hangovers. One of the major scientific breakthroughs when it comes to peppers is that it is known to aid in digestion. Here in Jamaica, I know for a fact that food with hot peppers relieves gas faster than that without. When I am feeling a bit gassy I can make some broth and add pepper to it and in no time...off with the gas!
Other medicinal benefits of peppers include relief of sore throats and colds, assisting with poor circulation. There is also the belief that peppers are a great heart stimulant that strengthens the arteries thus regulating blood flow. The major medicinal ingredient found in hot peppers is capsicum.
The difference with the peppers and the other herbs is that the effects of capsicum is not reduced through cooking. So pepper can be had in food or by themselves so long as you can bear it. I suggest starting with mild peppers and gradually building the intensity until you reach your tolerance level.