Friday, 13 May 2011

Number 19 - Vanilla

Taken from the genus Vanilla, an Orchid subgenus.

Vanilla pods are very popular in cooking. They hold a sweet smell. In old wives tales, they were said to be good for sexual drive and a remedy for fevers. Although these methods have never been proven, the extract can increase levels of adrenaline being released into the body.

97% of all vanilla used is imitation vanilla due to the expense of real vanilla. This chemical will not give the exact same health effects or the same scent. It is claimed to not taste as nice, either.

Vanilla is popular in ice cream. It is also popular in deserts, perfumes and in aromatherapy.

Vanilla pod & flower.

Number 18 - Burdock

This article is about the genus Arctium.

The texture of the Burdock seeds and how they latched onto clothes inspired the production of velcro. It is a part of the traditional soft drink Dandelion and Burdock. Extracts from the plant can be used to treat the scalp for dryness and dandruff, and generally increases hair health.

Pregnant women should not use or ingest burdock due to studies which suggest it can induce labour. It's roots resemble that of deadly nightshade, therefore you should never attempt to ingest in the wild.

Burdock can be eaten by itself, or in a tea or drink. Can be applied as a shampoo or a conditioner.

Burdock Flower

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Number 17 - Turmeric

From the ginger family, Curcuma longa is a culinary spice.

Tasty in chicken dishes, it also has anti-inflammitory uses, and is mainly used in Ayurvedic Herbal Medicine. It is also used as a fake tan in India. Research into the plant has shown possibilities in interfering with the herpes virus and some tumours.

There are no apparent health risks with eating Turmeric, except for large doses causing nausea and diarrhea.

The spice can be taken in tablet form or as added to a meal.

Turmeric Root.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Number 16 - Arnica

I'm sorry for my tardiness in blog posts, I have finals and lots of work to do up until the end of June. I will still be updating, but I'm afraid they won't be as frequent.

Arnica, or arnica montana, is a pretty daisy-like flower.

This plant is very useful in treating bruised, strained or sprained parts of the body. It has also been used in helping wounds heal.

However, the plant itself is poisionous if ingested in large amounts. Ironically, unprepared arnica plants can cause skin irritation.

It is used as a gel or as a tincture.

Commercial Arnica gel. (Source SBC. Product of SBC)