Medicinal Greens for Spring

Medicinal Greens for Spring

Happy Spring!  The smell of Apple Blossoms are in the air, Daffodils are shining bright, and the beautiful "Spring Green" color is appearing on the trees, a color only Mother Nature can create.  Todays blog is dedicated to cleansing medicinal plants, specifically, leafy greens.  We should be eating greens all year round, however, there is something extra rewarding about consuming them this time of year.  It's important that our diets reflect what is happening in our environment.  Seeing fresh shoots popping up from the earth, and baby greens growing on branches and stems should trigger our brains to eat fresh, clean and GREEN. 

The plants covered today are common, you know parsley and cilantro well.  Perhaps you didn't know their medicinal value.  And if you have never tried the fresh and pungent taste of watercress, don't miss out!

Parsley

Parsley is a member of the Apiaceae Family, the same family as carrot, celery and dill.  Its fresh taste and year round availability in our supermarkets makes it a great culinary herb.  During winter months, parsley can brighten the dull and heavy meals we tend to prepare. 

Two fun historic facts about Parsley..... During Roman times, parsley was used during orgies to cover up the smell of alcohol on the breath.  Corpses were also sprinkled with parsley to deodorize them. Parsley was once associated with death and curse, but during the Middle Ages, herbalists began to discover its power. 

Medicinal Actions: Diuretic, depurative, antispasmodic, carminative, mild uterotonic. 

To translate above, Parsley is a great cleanser for the body (diuretic).  Its root has laxative properties as well.  As it helps expel waste and cleanse the body (depurative), it also restores.  Parsley is high in Vitamin A, C, B, calcium and iron.  The volatile oils in the leaf are known to help ease gas (carminative) and may settle an upset stomach.  The flavonoids in parsley act as antioxidants, and a tea of parsley is said to help with painful menstruation, or infrequent menstruation. Use externally for itchy or inflamed insect bites.  And due to its high chlorophyll content, it is a natural breath freshener. For bad breath, chew on a few leaves and stems......brushing your teeth helps too.

Cilantro

Also in the Apiaceae Family, Coriandrum sativum is a giving plant.  the leaves and stems are referred to as cilantro, and the flavorful seeds are known as coriander.  Cilantro's taste is very unique and quite controversial.  People either love it or hate it.  Cilantro has been used throughout Europe and Asia for over 2000 years.  In fact, this plant was mentioned in the Ebers paprus, an Egyptian medical text dating to 1500 BC. 

Medicinal Actions: antioxidant, carminative, depurative, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac

The juice of cilantro, or coriander leaves are said to cleanse the blood, specifically of high metals. In Ayurvedic medicine, cilantro is considered an astringent, which promotes proper function of the liver. It is also cooling for the body and stomach, which may explain its frequent use in Indian and Mexican cuisines. Cilantro is high in Vitamins A, B, K, minerals such as iron, magnesium and calcium.  Many phytonutrients and flavonoids (antioxidants) are present as well.  A natural antiseptic, try cilantro juice or a poultice of the leaves on acne, rashes, or inflamed skin.

Cilantro Pesto

3 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and chopped

2 cups of fresh cilantro packed

1/4 cup of olive oil

2 Tablespoons of Sesame Seed Oil

2 Tablespoons of fresh lemon juice

Salt and Pepper to taste

Place cilantro and garlic in food processor.  As you chop, slowly add oils, lemon juice and spices until smooth. 

Stay tuned for part two........................