Health benefits of cilantro

We have so much cilantro growing and the plants are beginning to bolt so I cut a lot of it today and made a big bowl of pesto from it.

The good thing about cooking with cilantro is that the stems have the same taste as the leaves, so when you have a lot, you don't have to worry about pulling off all the leaves from the stems - just use the whole lot.


I made up my own pesto recipe, using walnuts, cilantro, olive oil, a little lemon juice and some water.

Gosh it tastes so vibrant. The way I eat it most is as a dip or spread for crackers.  When you make a large quantity as I have, you can freeze it in little muffin molds then pull one or two out as you need.

There are many so health benefits of cilantro, that it'll make you want to make some pesto too. Here they are:

  • powerful anti-inflammatory effects that may help symptoms of arthritis
  • protective against bacterial infection from salmonella in food products
  • increases HDL cholesterol and reduces LDL cholesterol
  • relief of stomach gas and a digestive aid
  • wards off urinary infections
  • helps reduce feelings of nausea
  • eases hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation and reduces cramping
  • good source of fiber for the digestive tract
  • gives relief from diarrhea
  • helps promote healthy liver function
  • reduces minor swelling
  • good antioxidant properties
  • disinfects and helps detoxify the body - especially good as a chelating agent to remove heavy metals, such as mercury
  • helps with insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar
  • acts as a natural antiseptic and anti fungal agent for skin disorders like fungal infections and eczema
  • boosts the immune system
  • acts as an expectorant
  • helps ease conjunctivitis, as well as eye-aging, macular degeneration and other stressors on the eyes
  • good source of minerals potassium, calcium, manganese, iron and magnesium
  • rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, beat carotene

Phew - after reading all that, I should be planting some more so the next batch is ready in a few weeks!

What's your favorite recipe for cilantro (or coriander as we call it in England)?
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Reducing nausea associated with chemotherapy

I had a call from a friend this weekend who was looking for some ideas that may help his friend who is suffering from severe nausea associated with chemotherapy.


Sadly, nausea is an all too common side effect of chemotherapy. There are medications available that may help and you should be sure to talk to your doctor about how to prevent nausea and/or vomiting and treat it.   Here are some general tips on how and what to eat that you might also want to consider:

  1. One of best things that can help with nausea is ginger. I wrote a blog post a while ago about the health benefits of ginger and included a few recipes that you can try - especially the ginger glycerite recipe.  But eating ginger anyway you can may help reduce nausea, from ginger cookies, to ginger tea to tinctures to..... Try different things and see which works best.  You can also get ginger capsules to take twice a day.
  2. Other herbs that might help are catnip, peppermint, chamomile and red raspberry.  You can try these as teas - and why not combine a few.  I often add a few different flavored tea bags to a big jug of cool water and get the combined benefit all at once.  Try ginger, peppermint and chamomile - I bet they'd go nicely together.  Use iced, cool, room temperature or warm water - not hot.
  3. Try drinking 1/3 cup of warm water with 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar and 1 tsp honey.
  4. Pumpkin seeds and squash seeds help nausea.  Just plain, raw seeds.
  5. Eat mainly starches like rice, crackers, dry toast, oatmeal, etc.  The food should be low fat and bland.  Cooking should not create lots of smells as this can make the nausea worse.  Don't get too concerned about balanced nutrition at this time, the goal is to get rid of the nausea and eat something.
  6. Eat cold or room temperature foods. Hot foods create more odors which is often a big cause of nausea.
  7. Eat and drink slowly.
  8. It often helps to put some dry toast or crackers at your bedside at night and eat a little of this before you get out of bed in the morning.
  9. Eat small amounts, frequently.
  10. Drink plenty of fluids during the day, but not during meals.
  11. Try drinking through a straw.
  12. Fruit popsicles are often easily eaten and enjoyed.
  13. Don't try cooking or eating one of your favorite foods. The body may come to associate it with nausea and you'll no longer enjoy it.
  14. If you need to rest after eating, make sure you keep your head higher than you feet.

It's a matter of trying different things and seeing what helps most for you.  And don't forget to tell your doctor that you have been experiencing these side effects as he may have other options and ideas.  

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Health benefits of ginger

I am a big ginger root fan.  I just love the taste of it - warming and a little spicy.  I could add it to most things - sweet or savory - and frequently do.

It has many health benefits, as well as tasting yummy.  Here are some highlights:

Photo by FotoosVanRobin

  • Anti-inflammatory - ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory that helps reduce both pain and inflammation. In a study published in the Journal of Pain, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority of patients had significant improvement in pain, swelling and morning stiffness by eating ginger daily.  In another study, ginger was found to be superior to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as Tylenol or Advil because NSAIDS only work on one pathway in the body.  Ginger, on the other hand, blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes and also has anti-oxidant effects (greater than Vit E) that break down existing inflammation and acidity in the body within the joints. 
  • Digestion - ginger balances COX-1 - an enzyme responsible for the gastric mucosal integrity, and is an antispasmodic. Thus is very effective for gastrointestinal disturbances, alleviating nausea, travel sickness, indigestion, IBS, loss of appetite, heartburn, bloating, ulcers etc.   I remember my sister always used to have ginger biscuits in the car when her boys were younger and whenever they felt a little car sick, they had a ginger biscuit and felt better. Similarly, my mother-in-law always used to eat a chocolate covered piece of ginger after dinner every night to help her digestion.  
Photo by Huffiz

..... and more.  The range and severity of conditions that ginger can help is stunning - and the research continues.


Here are a couple of ways to use ginger:
Ginger Tea:  Peel a 1 inch cube of ginger (the easiest way to peel it is to use a spoon, rather than a knife).  Slice it thinly or grate it.  Boil in 1 and 1/2 cups of water for about 10 minutes.  Add lemon/lime and/or stevia/honey, as desired.  Pour into a cup, relax and enjoy. More beneficial than ginger tea bags.

Ginger soak for aching muscles: Grate 4 teaspoons of ginger and seal it in a cotton/muslin bag.  Place the bag under running bathwater and then soak in the bath so as long as you want!

Ginger Glycerite: 1/4lb fresh ginger.  Chop the ginger roughly and place it in a food processor.  Add 1 cup food grade vegetable glycerin and process until the ginger is nearly incorporated into the liquid. Place mixture in a pint canning jar, mark with the day's date and leave on the counter for two weeks, shaking the jar every other day or so.  After two weeks, strain the mixture through muslin or cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible. Discard the ginger.  The glycerite will now keep for 6 months.   Mix the glycerite with water, sparkling water, tea, or use as desired.

Grate or chop and use in soups, smoothies, salad dressings, marinades, yoghurts, and just about anything else!

What's your favorite ginger recipe?  How will you get your next healthy dose of ginger?
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