The Wonder Drugs in Your Kitchen Cabinet

Posted by: on Dec 14, 2014 | No Comments
The Wonder Drugs in Your Kitchen Cabinet
image from @mightyfrogz

Did the title catch your eye?

Good! Because the simplest things in your cabinet can be real medicine!

Back in the day, okay, waaayyyy back in the day, approximately four thousand years ago, the ancient Seers and Ayurvedic Physicians used what was around them for healing. Happy news: a lot of these medicines are still around and you probably already have them!

Here are a few, and some of the dis-eases they can be used to treat:

  • Turmeric: that yellow/gold powder that stains your hands and your dishtowels and your new yoga pants really IS as good as gold! Turmeric is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory. It has been proven effective in the treatment of Parkinson’s, cancer, and IBS, and it improves liver function. See what I mean? Pure GOLD! Add it to soups, stews, stir fries, smoothies, juices, salad dressing – it’s so versatile!  It’s main rasas (tastes) are Katu (pungent) and Tikta (bitter). It’s appropriate for all doshas.
  • Cinnamon: you might sprinkle a bit on your oatmeal in the morning and then forget about it. Don’t! Cinnamon, like yogis, is very flexible and can be used in a variety of preparations.  It has been proven effective in stabilizing blood sugar, preventing and/or helping to cure a cold or flu, and it’s great for energy, vitality and circulation. It’s also anti-microbial, been proven to boost memory and lower cholesterol. Add it to sweets, yes, but also to savory recipes. I use it in every pot of beans I cook, and in Kapha season I also throw in a chipotle pepper to spice things up! It’s also nice sprinkled on Greek yogurt, or for a vegan treat, blended up with almond milk and an avocado and a banana and some raw cacao or a half a vanilla bean or a teaspoon of vanilla extract for a decadent creamy treat! YUM! It’s Katu (pungent) and Madhura (sweet) but it’s Virya (energetic action) is heating. It’s great for Kapha, good for Vata, and Pittas need to take just a little if at all.
  • Honey: this sweet stuff is a medicinal treasure trove. First though, a couple of rules. Get organic, raw honey. Don’t cook or bake with it – in Ayurveda this is a big no no. If you are using it in your tea, drizzle it in at the last moment and give it one good stir. Honey is antibacterial and anti-fungal. Dab a little on a wound, or a burn, and it will heal faster. It has been shown as an effective treatment for coughs, sore throats, and infection. It’s great in a dressing for salad or cooked veggies combined with either some good coarse mustard (my fave) and a squeeze of lime or lemon, or combine with a spoonful of miso and soy and some ginger for a sauce for tofu. Honey, though it has the sweet taste, is what’s called Prabhava. Prabhava is an Ayurvedic term for foods that don’t act the way you think they would. So although the sweet taste is cooling, honey is actually heating. So although it is tridoshic, it is better used occasionally by Pitta folks. One warning, however, is that it is not recommended to give honey to infants under one year, as their immunity is not strong enough yet.

Now that you’re armed with the Wonder Drugs in Your Kitchen Cabinet, why not make a tonic with them?

An easy tonic that’s great for Kapha season is a glass of warm water with a pinch of turmeric, a pinch of cinnamon, the juice of half a lemon, some grated fresh ginger or a generous pinch of ginger powder, and at the last moment, a teaspoon of honey. It tastes delicious, and it covers all your bases, health-wise. Cheers to your good health! Bottoms up!

Namaste, Ali

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