Sunday, October 28, 2012

Flavors of Fall

It's raining here today and it's probably raining where you are too - if you live anywhere on the east coast.  Those of you who are suffering, or will soon suffer, from strong winds and heavy rain are in my prayers.  In our area, the cool rain is flowing down gently, the trees are turned, and the ground is coated with a thick patchwork of leaves and pine needles. I am snug and cozy in my nice warm house enjoying this lovely fall weather and a good cup of cinnamon milk.

all pictures from google images - I don't have time to take my own.

.Besides being tasty, cinnamon actually has some health benefits. There are actually two types of cinnamon; cinnamomum cassia is what you get in the grocery store and its relative cinnamomum zeylanicum  or ceylon cinnamon, which is considered true cinnamon in other parts of the world.  Ceylon is said to have a sweeter flavor, although having never tasted it, I cannot confirm that.

Cinnamon can act as a tonic to the entire body and can reportedly kill a host of bacteria  including e-coli, salmonella, staph and asian flu virus. Its medicinal value is mainly in the oil, which has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The warming properties of this herb make it good for the cold days ahead. It has been traditionally used to stimulate circulation and as a remedy for digestive problems.  It can even be used for aching muscles and other symptoms that come with those winter colds.

So how can you use it?
Well there is that yummy cinnamon milk that I love to make. The simplicity of the recipe makes it a very attractive and enjoyable recipe that even children like.  All you need to do is heat some milk or milk alternative on the stove an put a cinnamon stick or two in the pot. Let it simmer for a while, add some honey and your good to go! (This recipe is from Kid's Herb Book, A: For Children of All Ages) .
According to the book Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to 550 Key Herbs with all their Uses as Remedies for Common Ailments,  20 drops of a tincture of cinnamon in water can be used up to 4 times a day for flatulence, an infusion (a.k.a tea) can be used for colds and flu 1/2 cup  2-3 times a day, the essential oil  can be applied to bee stings and 1/4 tsp. of the powder in water can be taken 2-3 times a day for weak digestion.  Even simpler, how about adding cinnamon bark to your bath water?
What ever way you use it be sure to take advantage of this wonderful herb - now go eat a cinnamon roll!

Hey - who said medicine can't be tasty.

Just remember please, I am not a doctor and I don't even play one on TV .  Be sure to check with your doctor before taking anything in medicinal quantities.  Also cinnamon is contra-indicated during pregnancy and should be avoided in extremely large doses.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Life in a Nutshell

The Great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one's "own" or "real" life.  The truth is of course that what one calls the inturruptions are precisely on's real life - the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one's "real life" is a phantom of one's own imagination."
- C.S. Lewis