A Herbal Haggis for Burn's Night

A Herbal Haggis for Burn's Night

A healthy vegetarian haggis recipe, chock full of tasty herbs

by Monica Wilde
Research Herbalist

This Burn's Night I have set myself the challenge of cooking a wild Burn's Supper using lean venison meat and lots of wild foraged herbs and vegetables. However, this isn't practical for everyone - particularly if there is still snow on the ground or you're not yet a confident forager. So why don't you try a more conventional 'healthy haggis' full of tasty herbs for your Burn's Night?

Here is one of my recipes full of nutritious herbs, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds.

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

20g coconut oil
2 medium sized onions
2 fat cloves of garlic
1 small knob of ginger
2 large peeled carrots
8 chestnut mushrooms
1 big handful fresh sage leaves
1 heaped teaspoon dried thyme
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
1 flat teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon of porcini powder
500ml vegetable stock
2 bay leaves
1-2 tablespoons of port
50g rolled oats
50g buckwheat
50g hazel nuts
50g walnuts
100g uncooked puy lentils
300g can pre-cooked borlotti beans
20g brown linseeds
20g sunflower seeds
1 pack of filo pastry

PREPARATION

Finely chop the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots, mushrooms and sage. Put the oats, hazelnuts, walnuts and sunflower seeds into a blender or food processor and lightly pulse until the texture is similar to the buckwheat. Drain the borlotti beans and roughly chop them.

COOKING DIRECTIONS

Fry the chopped onions, garlic, ginger and carrot, in a saucepan, gently on a low heat in some olive oil or coconut oil until the onions become translucent. Add the mushrooms and fry for 3 minutes, then add the sage leaves and wilt for 1 minute. 

Add the lentils, porcini powder, the dried herbs, spices, bay leaves and the vegetable stock - which should cover the mixture - bring to the boil and simmer gently for around 12 minutes until the lentils are 'al dente'. Add the oats and the buckwheat and simmer for 3 minutes. The lentils should now be soft and the stock absorbed.

Fold in the beans, the chopped nuts and the seeds, moistening with a little port. The mixture should be moist but not wet.

Now line a baking tray with a sheet of greaseproof paper and pre-heat the oven at 180C.

Peel off 1 sheet of filo pastry and lay flat on a clean, lightly floured worktop. Fold it in half. Put one large tablespoon of the mixture onto the narrow end of the filo sheet and spread it lengthways (across the narrow end) only leaving a few cm at each edge for the tuck. Then roll the sheet over the filling to create a 'sausage shape'. Tuck the ends underneath and place on the baking tray. Brush the tops with a little olive oil or butter. Repeat until all the mixture is used.

Bake in the oven until golden brown on the top. About 20-25 minutes.

SERVE WITH

Neeps: Mashed swede or 'clapshot'. This is diced swede boiled for 15 minutes, drained and then mashed with butter (or coconut oil if vegan), salt, pepper and ground nutmeg. Allow 175-200g of swede per person.

Tatties: Mashed potato. This is diced potato boiled for 15 minutes, drained then mashed with butter, hot milk (or oat milk if vegan), salt and pepper. For a healthier alternative, use sweet potatoes. Allow 175g-200g of raw potatoes per person.

Greens: Purists will raise their eyebrows as vegetables do not form part of the 'Holy Trinity' of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties. However, from a health point of view, I recommend far more green vegetables in our diet than is traditionally eaten. So add some broccoli or green peas, or a green side salad.

Happy Burn's Night!
August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Mulling over the Wine

Mulling over the Wine

by Monica Wilde
Research Herbalist

Mulled wine is a traditional Christmas drink and the scents of the spices conjure up the scent of Christmas. In fact the combination of oranges and cloves instantly magics up Christmas for me at any time of the year.

However, Duncan Napier, our founder, was a teetotaller. He was brought up by adoptive parents who ran a pub and had fared badly at the hands of his alcoholic step-mother. In the Victorian times, even children drank small beer and he was addicted by his early teens. A kindly mentor took him under his wing and he gave up alcohol completely at the grand old age of 15 years old. As we make up our mulled wine recipe (below) we reflect on the benefits and hazards of alcohol and other mulled wine ingredients.

MULLED WINE RECIPE

The Ingredients:
750 ml (1 bottle) red wine
1 litre of unfiltered apple juice
4 whole cloves
3 star anise
2 long cinnamon sticks
Zest and juice of 1 orange
Orange peel to decorate
The Directions: 
Put all of the ingredients into a large saucepan or preserving pan. Heat until the liquid is hot but not boiling. Turn off the heat, keep covered and leave over night to infuse. The longer it infuses, the more the flavour and spiciness develops. On the day of serving, heat to a comfortable temperature and serve from a large tureen with a ladle for each cup.

ALCOHOL

Alcohol is found naturally in nature and has been made by man for millennia. Drunk in excess, it is not good for you and can lead to all sorts of health problems. However, there are some health benefits when certain types of alcohol are drunk in moderation. 'Moderation' means no more than 1 glass a day, or perhaps two if you are a man. Red wine contains antioxidants like resveratrol which contains some surprising health benefits - like supporting our longevity genes, increasing HDL 'good' cholesterol, helping to reduce stress levels and increase creativity. The key is not to drink too much. If you do like to drink, consider having a break from all alcohol at least one day out of every three days.

APPLE JUICE

Apples contain a whole host of vitamins, flavonoids and other health boosting phytonutrients. A study released in 2013 demonstrated that just eating one more apple a day can dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease. So 'an apple a day, keeps the doctor away" is not without foundation!

CLOVES

Cloves are antimicrobial. Commonly used to treat toothaches where they help to anaesthetise the pain as well as providing an antiseptic effect. The key pain-relieving compound is called eugenol but it also has gallic acid, methyl salicate and quercetin which all add to the pain-relieving effect. Certainly, if I was in pain, I'd add some powdered cloves to my herbal tea. In winter medicines they also help the body to fight germs and microbes, and they also help the body to use insulin more effectively which in truns helps to regulate blood sugar.

CINNAMON

Cinnamon's main use in herbal medicine is to help lower and control your blood glucose levels. While many spices have this effect, cinnamon is one of the most potent blood sugar regulators. This means that cinnamon is particularly good for diabetics and helps to counteract the effects of sucrose or glucose-rich foods. Cinnamon, like many of the other spices, also has pain relieving properties. Follow this link for our Cinnamon Ointment recipe for a pain relieving ointment. ORANGES

Full of vitamin C, oranges not only taste good but are good for you too. As well as vitamin C they a good source of B vitamins including vitamin B1, pantothenic acid, and folate as well as vitamin A, calcium, copper, and potassium. They are also a good source of fibre.

August 04, 2021 — Younit.app

Vegan Irish Boxties with Wild Garlic Sauce

Vegan Irish Boxties with Wild Garlic Sauce

by Emilia Gordes
16 March 2015

Happy St Patrick's Day! This is a vegan version of the traditional Irish dish "Boxties" that not only is really delicious but it is also very healthy and surprisingly filling. So if you are cutting down on meat, for example to lower your cholesterol, this is a very tasty alternative. Wild garlic is in flower during the Spring and easy to find by its pungent garlic smell, so this also includes a healthy walk to find some! 

Ingredients for the boxties
4 big potatoes
1/2 onion
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 tablespoons chickpea flour
1 tablespoon flaxseeds
4 tablespoons sesame seeds
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch black pepper
   smoked paprika
4 tablespoons avocado oil

Ingredients for the sauce
1 handful of wild garlic (or spring onions for the lazy!)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
1 tablespoon tamari sauce

Directions
First chop 2 potatoes and steam them until cooked.
Secondly, chop the onions and cook them in a frying pan for 2 minutes in 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
Once cooked, add the steamed potatoes, chickpea flour, turmeric, smoked paprika and the black pepper.
Now grate the other 2 potatoes on the top of the already steamed ones and mix them all together with the spices until it becomes more or less like a dough.
Heat up about 3 tablespoons of avocado oil in a frying pan.
Take one tablespoon of the potatoes and roll the mixture out on a flat plate. This is where you sprinkle as many sesame seeds on as you desire and then you're ready to fry it over a medium heat.
Fry for no more than 5 minutes on each side.

While the boxties are cooking you need to prepare the wild garlic sauce.

Making the Wild Garlic Sauce

Simply blend the wild garlic, tamari sauce and nutritional yeast in a food processor until nice and creamy and you are ready to pour it on your fresh delicious potato boxties!

SERVES 10
PREP TIME 15 min
TOTAL TIME 30 min
August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Napiers Bitter Bloody Mary

Napiers Bitter Bloody Mary

by Monica Wilde
Spring 2015

If you've got one hell of a hangover you need some serious help with our amazing Napiers Best Bitters. They contain milk thistle, to help you recover from your last night's celebrations.

Ingredients
4 ice cubes
1 measure vodka (25ml or 1 oz) - optional
1 measure Napiers Best British Bitters (25ml or 1 oz)
150 ml / 5 fl oz tomato juice
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
6 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
salt and black pepper

Directions
Put the ice cubes into a tall glass
Add the vodka and the Best Bitters
Add the tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce and Tabasco.
Stir well.
Grind rock salt and black pepper on to it to taste.
Drink gently while nursing head!

For a Bitter Virgin Mary remove the vodka! (However, this will still contain the equivalent of 1/3 unit of alcohol from the Best Bitters.)

Remember to always drink responsibly, for the sake of your health and your fellow humans!

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Doses and Measures

Doses and Measures

by Monica Wilde
Research Herbalist

With some people recommending drops, others teaspoons and others ml, it can get very confusing measuring a dose of herbal medicine. Here at Napiers we use ml for accuracy.

DROPS

We use millilitres because they are a fixed measure of a unit by volume. With drops there is a lot of variance. Different liquids have different viscosity and form different sized drops. Larger drops require less per ml than small drops. For example:

Glycerite tinctures: 15 drops per ml (average)
Essential oils: 20 drops per ml (average as range varies widely)
Water: 27-28 drops per ml
Alcohol tinctures: 40-44 drops per ml

DROPPERFULS

Dropperfuls are misleading as there are long and short droppers and different thicknesses of dropper. So unless a dropper is graduated (marked) it is impossible to gauge the dose. So this measurement is only useful if you are using a dropper measurement just for the compound that the dropper came with. If using a dropper or pipette to dispense drops, remember that a wide dropper will give a larger drop than a narrower dropper too.

TEASPOONS

Teaspoons are also misleading unless they are marked. Some teaspoons (like medicine teaspoons) are 5 ml but many are 4 ml. 

MILLILITRES

We like millilitres (ml, ML) because they never vary! A millilitre is a millilitre is a millilitre. Just two things to watch out for though. 1. When using a measuring column (cylinder) to measure larger amounts, always measure the mark to the bottom of the curved meniscus of the fluid. 2. If measuring a thick substance you may find some sticks to the column on the way out, so make sure you allow enough time for it to drain right out. 

DON'T WORRY

Our marvellous human bodies are incredibly good at managing a wide range of doses and taking what it needs. Accuracy is essential on medicines with a narrow therapeutic index - such as heart drugs (digitalis) or any toxic medicines - such as chemotherapy (yews). You are very unlikely to come across these categories in herbal medicine unless your medical herbalist has prescribed a Schedule III herb. In that case, your medical herbalist will give you a very precise instruction of how to take the herb, or will have mixed it into a blend so that you are only ingesting a tiny amount.

Most herbs are broad spectrum and also part of the natural food supply. As well you know, your body can handle 1 clove of garlic or 5, 1 seaweed sushi roll or 8! So where the herbs have a food use such as peppermint, chamomile, ginger, lemon balm and so on, taking a few drops of ml more than you planned will not be harmful.

The more specialised the herb is as a medicine and not a common food, the more careful you need to be. So stick to ml as your way of measuring, don't buy Schedule III, banned or novel herbs with no track record, and consult a herbalist if you're not sure. 

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Napiers Shamrock Sazerac

Napiers Shamrock Sazerac

by Monica Wilde
Spring 2015

In Scotland we've always felt great kinship with our fellow Celts, the Irish. So to honour St Patrick's Day here's a special shamrock cocktail using Napiers Best Bitters to help prepare your body for an evening out on the town.

Ingredients
3 measures (75 ml / 2.5 oz) Irish whisky
1/2 tablespoon (7 ml / 0.25 oz) green Chartreuse
1 teaspoon (5 ml) Napiers Best British Bitters
½ teaspoon simple syrup
Lemon twist

Directions
Pour the whisky, Chartreuse and simple syrup onto ice in a cocktail mixing glass.
Stir well until well chilled.
Pour the bitters into a coupe glass.
Swirl to coat the inside of the glass but do not discard the bitters.
Strain the whisky mixture into the glass over the bitters.
Decorate with a lemon twist.

Have a craic-ing good time!

Remember to always drink responsibly, for the sake of your health and your fellow humans.

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Roses are not just for Valentine’s Day!

Roses are not just for Valentine’s Day!

By Monica Wilde
3rd February 2015

Did you know that roses may hold the key to preventing Alzheimer's in old age? That they can help arthritis, gut problems, stress, soothe your skin… and treat many other ailments? So they’re not just for lovers and Valentine’s day. Monica explores the secret side of roses.

Roses are heavenly! They’ve been appreciated since ancient times and highly valued. It takes a whole roomful of petals to produce even a tiny bottle of essential oil so they’ve always been on the botanical ‘royalty list’. In fact, Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen’s legendary beauty was attributed to her daily baths in donkey milk and rose petals! I’m not suggesting you go quite that far but using rose and rose hip seed oil in skin care is wonderful for your skin.

True rose essence (not the cheap synthetic stuff) is very soothing to irritated skin. Rosewater, the secret to the traditional fair ‘peaches and cream’ British complexion when used as a skin toner, is so gentle that it can also be used as a soothing antiseptic for eyes as well. Using Napiers French Green Clay as a base, mix up a paste with Witchhazel or Rosewater for a perfect face pack that is both cleansing, soothing and uplifting. Add essential oils for a special treat. Up to 10 drops of rose absolute (the essential oil) can be added to 10 ml of a carrier oil and used as much as you like even on delicate skin. In both massage and as a fragrance oil, this will fill you with calm, peace and a sense of well-being.

This well-being is because rose doesn’t just smell fabulous but it is also mildly sedative so really calms the nerves! For that reason, herbalists often add rose to prescriptions for stress, whether in day to day life or during periods of depression, PMT or the menopause.

Rose extract – whether as rose tea or rose tincture - also helps to tone your gut, increasing the contractions of the intestinal wall as food is digestive helping to maintain bowel regularity – at least that’s my excuse for loving Turkish Delight made with rosewater so much! Rose hip tea can also be used to slow diarrhea and urinary infections. In fact its antibacterial qualities also extend to traditional uses in treating chest and throat infections. Or being added to a steam bowl for inhaling to soothe sinuses irritated by sinus infections.

Medical herbalists use rose tincture in prescriptions to relieve the uterine congestion that cause heavy periods and menstrual pain. It is also used in treatments for irregular periods and infertility.

The seeds contain an essential oil that has a very long chain fatty acid. Clinical studies have found this fatty acid to be highly promising in delaying early onset Alzheimer’s disease.  The seeds (found inside the hips) are also fantastic anti-inflammatories and used by many arthritis sufferers to reduce joint pain.

Rose hips are famed for being high in Vitamin C. They were collected by children during the war and sold at school to make Vitamin C tonics. But did you know they are also an excellent source of vitamins A, B3, D and E as well? And zinc which is needed for the body to metabolise all that Vitamin C. Did I mention the antioxidants and flavonoids as well?! It is such an easy syrup to make I encourage every one to get out for a walk in the late autumn to pick the hips and make rose hip syrup.

So they smell nice, look nice, taste nice and are good for you. Truly blessed!

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

How to make a Flower Water Monica Wilde

How to make a Flower Water

by Monica Wilde
11 February 2014

It is not complicated to make scented flower waters, such as rose water, especially with Valentine's Day and then Mother's Day coming up. Little bottles of homemade rosewater tied with a ribbon bow make the most thoughtful little presents. They make gentle cleansers and toners, lovely linen sprays, fragrant non-toxic room sprays, and can be added to your face cream to enhance it. There are two main ways to make these at home very simply without possessing a still!

The recipe above is the quick method. You boil together equal quantities of flower petals and water, measured by volume. Gently steam until the petals lose their colour. Then put into a bottle or jar with screw-top lid. Keep in a refrigerator. 

For a stronger scent, I recommend double steaming as follows:

INGREDIENTS

Examples of flowers to use, with links to those we stock here at Napiers:

  • Rose petals
  • Witch hazel leaves
  • Calendula petals
  • Chamomile heads
  • Geranium petals
  • Yarrow flowering tops

Do make sure your petals or leaves are free from insecticides and other chemical sprays.

DIRECTIONS
  1. Get a large pan with a heavy base or a double boiler.
  2. Fill up to half-full with flower petals.
  3. Just cover the petals with filtered or bottled water, or rainwater.
  4. Simmer on a very gentle heat for 15-30 minutes with the lid on.
  5. Switch off and put aside to cool.
  6. When cool, pour the contents through a strainer. Squeeze petals to get all the water out.
  7. Now put new fresh petals into the pan until half-full again.
  8. Cover with the same water you have strained off from before.
  9. Simmer on a very gentle heat for a further 15-30 minutes.
  10. Switch off and put aside to cool.
  11. Strain and squeeze again.
  12. Now filter the water through coffee paper filters to remove any small bits.

Put into sterilised bottles. This will last up to 2 weeks in the fridge.

Please note: the exact time of steaming - whether 15 minutes or 30 minutes - depends on the delicacy of the petals.

PRESERVATIVES

You can add 5% vodka as a preservative if you want your rosewater to last a bit longer. Try to get the strongest vodka you can as alcohol prevents bacteria from thriving. Or, if you have dry skin, use vegetable glycerine instead. It is not as strong a preservative but it does help to lengthen shelf life.

IDEAS FOR USE

You can put this into bottles with a spray top to use as a skin freshener, body spray or facial toner. A few ml of vegetable glycerine with stop the water just dripping off your skin and help it lightly cling to your skin without feeling greasy.

You can mix this into any creams that you make instead of adding water.

An equal part of vegetable glycerin and rose water, shaken together vigorously, make the most excellent hand lotion.

Some flower waters (e.g. rosewater) can also be used in cooking, cake making or in sweet making (e.g. Turkish Delight)

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Evening Primrose, the occasional visitor.

Evening Primrose, the occasional visitor.

By Catriona Stewart
Medical Herbalist, Summer 2014

One thing I love about having a garden and never fail to be amazed by, is how plants ‘move around’ to suit themselves. The same is true of the meadow in front of my house or even up on the moors. Any gardener knows that you may plant something in one place, but you may well find the following year it pops up somewhere else!

I’ve been intrigued by the visitors that pass through my garden as well; one that recently appeared has been the very pretty Evening Primrose. It arrived unexpectedly about 3 years ago, beside my front path; the following year it was flowering enthusiastically across the road; it wasn’t to be seen at all last year and then a week or so ago I realised it had returned to my garden! I haven’t been able to spot it in any of the local gardens so wherever it is coming from, it’s travelling quite far!

Evening Primrose, as well as being a very pretty flowering plant, has long been used for the health benefits of its oil. Known often as EPO, it is sold as a supplement on its own and is also included in OTC fish-oil products such as EFAMOL, Eye-Q and Eskimo.

Why take EPO?

Fatty acids are essential to human health; the fatty acid chains which come in all sorts of different forms are used for brain function, hormones, skin, bone density, digestion, healthy circulation, you name it – fats are in there! It is believed that the human organism can generally create all the different lengths of fatty-acid chain needed for health from any of the ‘building block’ precursors available in the oily vegetable sources such as safflower or corn oil, some of the nut oils, such as walnut, and even hemp and flax. However, for a number of reasons, this may not happen.

According to EFAMOL’s website: “The body can convert Linoleic Acid (LA), found in foods such as safflower and corn oil and turn it into GLA and AA, whilst Alpha-linolenic acid, found in fish oils and green leafy vegetables can be converted to DHA and EPA. However, your body's conversion process can become less efficient due to a variety of factors, including diet, age, alcohol consumption and an excess of saturated fats in the diet. Sometimes it is necessary to supplement the diet to ensure sufficient levels of these important nutrients.”

A further concern with our modern diet is that we tend to take very imbalanced quantities of the fatty acid types. Olive oil is special in that it has a good balance of Omega 3 and 6 oils within it.

Research evidence on EPO alone is still scarce; it is used to address a range of problems and especially has been viewed as potentially beneficial for women’s hormonal issues. My own approach is that the combination of fish oils and EPO as formulated in EFAMOL and EYE-Q (products from 2 reputable companies with plenty of research evidence behind them) is one of the most effective ways of dealing with any potential EFA deficiency.

All that science aside - the lovely lemony-yellow blooms of the Evening Primrose that emerge late in summer are a tonic in themselves! I love my flowering visitors. 

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

The Wild Machair

The Wild Machair

​by Catriona Stewart, MNIMH
August 2014

Catriona is just back from a holiday in the beautiful Western Isles

The wildflower-rich machair of the Western Isles is a herbal and botanical paradise! Catriona Stewart, a Napiers herbalist, has been discovering this breathtakingly beautiful part of Scotland.

I’ve just come back from a cycling holiday in the western isles Barra, Eriskay and South Uist.  We went prepared for everything except for days of scorching hot sunshine and blue skies – it was so beautiful. It is beautiful no matter the weather; one of the things that make this area so wonderful is the very special landform encircling these islands known as the Machair.

The word ‘machair’ means ‘fertile plain’, but the term is now used to describe a special kind of dune grassland which provides support to the adjacent crofts. According to Scottish Natural Heritage: “it is a blend of low-lying coastline, sand partly consisting of shell fragments, the effects of strong winds combined with just the right amount of rainfall and, most crucially, the involvement of people and their grazing animals. So unusual is the right combination of these features that machair is restricted world-wide to just the north-west of Scotland and the north-west of Ireland… there is no doubt that it is best developed in the Uists, Tiree, and on Barra.”

A combination of natural conditions and empathetic land management developed by generations of indigenous people, the machair derives from a combination of crushed seashells mineralising and providing structure to the soil, a wealth of plants to support all sorts of insects, birds and small animals, careful crop rotation and the use of natural fertilisers in the form of kelp.
The RSPB have estimated that the machair is home to 16,000 breeding pairs of wading birds such as lapwings and ringed plovers. There are corncrakes here too. We saw oyster catchers, gulls and the occasional cormorant. We could hear seals singing and caught a glimpse of an otter cub making a dash for it.

The Machair contains a wealth of medicinal plants, as well as some that are just beautifully decorative or beautifully useful to the many, sometimes rare, insects such as the great golden bumblebee. In just a few metres, the list of medicinal plants I spotted went like this:

Firstly, of course, there was Kelp seaweed down on the shore. Up on the dunes there was: Nettle, Red Clover, Eyebright, Plantain, Yarrow, Dock, Thyme, Dandelion

Going a bit further: Lesser Burdock, Mugwort, Meadowsweet, Lady’s Mantle, Self-Heal

In a very small area, there were the makings of digestive and liver support, immune system remedies and anti-histamines, styptics and toners, anti-inflammatories, circulatory stimulants, fever management, expectorants and antiseptics, wound healers and remedies for menstrual issues.

There were also Orchids, Yellow Birdsfoot Trefoil, Lady’s Bedstraw, grasses and grains eg wild Oats, and all sorts of other things such as Hogweed, Bluebells, Corn Marigold and Ragged Robin.

Magic!

 

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Everything is coming up roses!

Everything is coming up roses!

From the garden of medical herbalist, Catriona Stewart

The roses are fabulous this year!  My own garden Jacobean or Stuart Rose has just about ‘gone-over’ now, but there is still a myriad of scented blooms all around in my neighbours’ gardens and along the hedgerows.

Rose has long been thought of as a feminine plant for many reasons. Not least of these is that the rose contains ingredients highly prized by women throughout the generations and world-wide for every aspect of life, from reproductive health and childbirth to skin care to menopausal symptoms to old age.

There are many members of the broader Rose family, including some that wouldn’t immediately spring to mind, such as Raspberry for example, which is often drunk as a dried infusion of the leaf in the weeks leading up to childbirth. Research evidence for this practice is mixed in terms of effectiveness, but sometimes it just feels good to do something positive to support yourself and your wellbeing, as long as sensible precautions are taken. *

Another member of the Rose family is Lady’s Mantle, one of my personal favourites and historically a hugely valued partum preparatory herb. It was also used as a skin wash and on very different themes, for infectious diseases and ‘children’s summer diarrhoea’.

The Rose family members commonly contain key ingredients that have a specific effect, one main one being a group of chemicals called tannins (as in, tanning leather!). These are very astringent, which means they cause the tissue they are applied to ‘tone up’. So, think of the toner you use on your face or the effect of after-shave and you’ll get the idea. In fact Rose-water has been used for millennia across the world for skin-care; it is still used in preparations for acne, acne rosaceae especially, small broken blood vessels and for general skin health.

As a circulatory stimulant, Rose extracts are used both internally and as topical applications for varicose veins and cellulite. And of course, we all know that the scent of the Rose lifts the spirits and soothes the heart.

Last summer, I tried a new approach to preserving Rose petals – I made Rose vinegar using a base of organic cider vinegar and Rose petals out of the garden and it was truly lovely; the vinegar seems to capture the scent and taste of Rose more powerfully than a tincture.  I used it to drizzle on salads and to add to marinades and I plan to make more this year, it’s so easy.

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app

Spice Mix for Diabetes

Spice Mix for Diabetes

Have fun experimenting with your food and control your blood sugar

by Monica Wilde
3 December 2014

Many people with diabetes start to view their kitchen cupboard as the enemy. Food becomes a chore. A constant reminder of what you can't eat, of what you have given up. However, food - the right food - is on your side. When you start to think of your food as medicine, and as every meal being an opportunity to fine tune your health, then you are on the way to being back in control again. 

Many of the spices languishing at the back of your kitchen cupboard are actually potent phytochemical allies. In other articles I have mentioned the blood glucose lowering power of cinnamon. Half a teaspoonful of cinnamon sprinkled onto porridge (low on the GI glycaemic index) in the morning with some grated apple is a great way to start the day. It even helps to spice up a herbal tea or hot milk. However, variety is the spice of life as well as cinnamon!

Here is a spice mix that can be used instead of stock cubes, bouillon seasonings, artificial gravy powders, or cook-in sauces. This spice combination will really help to keep your blood sugar under control/

Ingredients

  • 40 g Cinnamon
  • 20 g Turmeric
  • 20 g Cloves
  • 20 g Seaweed
  • 20 g Bay leaf

Directions

Make sure all the spices are dry. If the seaweed is not crisp, toast for a few minutes in a hot, dry frying pan. Put all the spices into a pestle and mortar, or a coffee grinder, and mill to a fine powder. Store the mix in a tin or jam jar.

Add a teaspoon or two every time you make a soup, stock, stew, casserole or gravy. Sprinkle it over fish or meat as a savoury crust.

You can also add a spoonful of this mix to a spoonful of soy sauce and a low GI index syrup such as agave syrup and mix into hot toasted nuts and seeds as a healthier snack when you get a craving for crisps!

August 03, 2021 — Younit.app