February 5, 2014

Super Healing Yellow Herbs for All Seasons.


Herbs, in general, are the most elusive compounds when it comes to food and eating.

Their very nature might cause some confusion or deliberation as to when to use them, how to use them, will they be palatable and what significance they could possibly bring to our health and the dishes we concoct in the kitchen.

These are all valid thoughts when adding herbs to our diets.

Most of the world’s food supply and culinary creations involve the use of herbs in some form, as they can morph an entire dish into something a foodie can appreciate and admire, beyond the actual aroma and sensation. Adding herbs to a daily regimen antes up simple  nutrition and enhances the palate.

They are used for healing, cleansing, inflammatory conditions, weight management and possess an overall wealth of nutritional goodness.

The herb story originates in flowers, seeds, fruits, barks, leaves and roots. Not only do they add a delicious and nutritious element to foods, but they can preserve the food for longer periods of time. The benefits of herbs far outweigh any alternative processed additives to meals and healthy living.

They are just plain essential.

There are five potent yellow herbs that I have singled out as some of the most unique, somewhat obscure and yet healing. These can boost fitness, immune function and can help with disorders that involve the skin and internal inflammation.

1. Dandelion: This was used in ancient China for its potency as a diuretic and detoxifying herb. Many healers regard dandelion root as an excellent remedy for diarrhea, eye problems, fever, diabetes and digestive disorders. Other medicinal properties associated with this plant were geared toward women in treating breast inflammation and stimulating milk flow. The root extract makes an excellent tea remedy for helping some cystic acne conditions.

2. Mustard Seed: Aside from adding flavor to your foods, the mustard seed has exceptional and beneficial properties. The seeds are high in selenium and magnesium. These wonder seeds are packed with the B-complex vitamins, and although each one has its individual merits, they can help with weight loss and slow aging due to the richness of the antioxidants such as lutein, zeaxanthin, and the carotenes. They are also packed with sulfur which can ease skin inflammations, muscle pain and rheumatoid arthritis.

3. Goldenseal: This herbal antibiotic and immune system enhancer has gained a reputation as one of the most popular herbs on the market for treating colds and flu. It soothes irritated mucous membranes, clearing the throat, eyes, nose, and relieving congestion from the symptoms of upper respiratory infections. It is best to take goldenseal at the first sign of a runny nose or fever, as the healing properties can work their magic before the immune system is compromised further. Popular in teas and coupled with Echinacea, goldenseal is one of the best natural antibiotics against infection.

4. Saffron: One of its first uses was for dyeing textiles since a single grain can color 10 gallons of water with a distinctive yellow hue. It has been revealed that saffron helps tremendously with appetite control and weight management. The manganese content of saffron alone is off the charts at 400 percent of the daily recommended value. Manganese helps regulate blood sugar, metabolize carbohydrates, and absorbs calcium. It also helps form tissues, bones, and sex hormones. Saffron also contains Vitamin C, and we know that this is a true infection fighter. Lastly, saffron has been shown to reduce some toxicity in the body, which can reduce potential growing tumors.

The volatility of saffron makes this compound have a very strong taste and fragrance in cooking. It is an expensive herb, but well worth the investment for its healthful benefits.

5. Turmeric: This dark orange-ish yellow herb has become one of the most significant anti-inflammatory healers for the holistic community for some time now. Most western doctors are starting to come on board with the amazing properties that turmeric can offer. Imported from India, this widely used spice yields more benefits that are continually being studied and revealed. The main component in turmeric, curcumin, blocks an enzyme that has been linked to reducing the growth of potential cancer in the head and neck areas. If that isn’t enough goodness, turmeric also plays a vital role in all other anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antioxidant capabilities.

It is a powerful plant, and is best when used raw, as it is more effective. Sprinkle some on vegetables or salads, or when mixing dressings. I like to mix it with coconut oil, as this combo is an amazing taste sensation, not to mention the wonderful offerings of the blend of the two.

There are a host of recipes that call for any of the above super healing herbs, and it doesn’t take much time or effort to incorporate any/or all of them into our daily fare.

Most can be steeped in teas, added to simple meals, found in supplement powder form, or purchased as the root or plant themselves.

There is no shortage of uses for these intensely healing yellow herbs. There is also no seasonal adjustment that needs to be made; we can simply attune to each one and use what works best for our health and overall wellness.

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Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo:  José Antonio González Nieto/Creative Commons

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