Cinnamon is considered to be one of the most precious of spices, known to man since ancient times. Not only is it a very excellent addition to your cuisine, but it also is a natural healer. Cinnamon trees grow up to 15 to 18 m in height, in the wilderness, but when they are cultivated in plantations, they are chopped off close to the ground. This is so that the cultivators can get a fresh crop of shoots all the year around. The shoots are harvested every two years, and the bark removed. When the bark is put out in the sun to dry, it curls up into quills. This is what you buy in the market. The best cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka. There is another associated plant, which is indigenous to China, and is called Cassia–Cinnamon cassia. It has almost the same properties as cinnamon, but it is bitter in taste, and is rough in feel and texture, when compared to original cinnamon. The essential oil of the cinnamon is distilled from the broken bark. You can also get some oil from the leaves. Cinnamon is excellent for poor circulation and colds. This is a best pick you up, especially when you want to feel warm. Ginger and cinnamon always go together, especially when they are put in warm drinks like milk and soup in the winters. Cinnamon is milder than ginger, but it has a more powerful sustaining action. When you are making a decoction with cinnamon, I would suggest using the quills, instead of using the powder. The powder makes the drink look muddy, and you need to filter it. Daily use of cinnamon in a glassful of hot milk made sure that I never suffered from cold feet and cold hands throughout the winter. Just add one little bit of cinnamon quill while boiling the milk with a little bit of ginger. If you are suffering from a nose cold, all you have to do is pop a little bit of cinnamon in your mouth and keep chewing it.
Cayenne powder, which you find in the market is definitely different from the vegetables you call capsicum or bell peppers. This Cayenne is better known as Chillies and is an herb/spice.
These hot chilies are natural stimulants, radiating heat throughout your whole body. It equalizes your body temperature from inside to your skin. That is why a pinch of cayenne is necessary to add warmth and heat to any soup which you are drinking in the winter.
Chilies are excellent for regulating your circulatory system, as well as strengthening your heart. Oil made from chilies are excellent to warm up cold feet and cold hands and relaxing tense muscles.
Ancient and medieval herbalists assigned the chili to the sun, because it was hot. The effect was almost as if you had a small white hot sun radiating its seat and energy inside you. This effect can be equal to lying out in the sun, and feeling the warmth permeate through your heart, body and soul.
A pinch of this spice of life is going to add warmth to the dish, and help circulate its healing powers throughout your body.
In the 19th century, Cayenne was considered to be a very powerful stimulant. That is why it was used by herbalists extensively in small or in large doses to induce the metabolism to get activated naturally. Also, this helped in getting rid of all the toxic wastes accumulated in the body.
Cayenne is used as a tonic, antispasmodic, circulatory system stimulant and also a rubifacient.
Once upon a time, lemons and oranges were considered to be so precious, that only the very rich could afford them. That is because they did not flourish in cold northern climates. So orange trees and lemon trees were grown in greenhouses and orangeries.
But nowadays we can use this versatile in all its forms – zest, peel, juice, oil, pips, and fruit, in one easily available package which can keep us healthy and fit and beautiful for long.
Lemon juice is refreshing and cooling. It has the sharp and clean taste that tones and detoxifies your system. Lemon and honey as a remedy for cold is just not an old wife’s tale. It is a time-tested remedy.
Cardamoms also belong to the ginger family, but their seeds are used as spices. There are two popular varieties of cardamoms available easily all over the world – green cardamoms and black cardamoms.
Cardamoms are natives of the southern portion of the Indian subcontinent, and Central America. The cardamoms are harvested, and dried in the sun, making sure that the seedpods do not split. In this manner, the powerful aromatic quality of the seeds is preserved until you need them.
You use these cardamoms by opening up the seedpods and crushing the seeds so that the aromatic qualities are released.
Cardamoms are not so powerful as ginger, so you can always use them, when you want a light and mild effect on your system and brain. Cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon are added to ginger and water to make refreshing teas, in the winter, to get your system toned.
Cardamoms are excellent for sinusitis, and you can chew them to get rid of cough and catarrh. At the same time you are sweetening your breath. So try adding cardamom seeds to milk, especially if you have a tendency towards chest infections.
Onions also have excellent curative powers because they are also antiallergic, antiparasitic, antifungal, antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral. When you feel garlic to be too strong, you can use onions, because this has a more soothing effect. This is definitely more suitable for children, old people, and people who are prone to bacterial and viral infections.
The deep and distinct smell of cloves are enough to reassure the body and the mind, and raise your spirits. In ancient Chinese writing, more than 5000 years ago, there have been references to cloves. These are the buds of a tall tree native to Indonesia, discovered in the 15th century by the Portuguese. But in the East, cloves were already been in use for millenniums, where they grew it locally. 15th century Europe went to war for getting control over these Indonesian islands, and it was only to the 18th century, when seedlings were smuggled out from Indonesia that the French established plantations in Zanzibar.
The moment you hear the term clove oil, your immediate response is – excellent for toothache. Just soak a small wad of cotton wool in the oil. Hold that against the infected tooth. The anesthetic quality of this powerful oil is going to bring immediate relief. Do not apply directly on your skin, because it is very powerful. It is going to cause blisters on your gums and in your mouth.
People suffering from bronchial infections can add three cloves to any herbal infusion or decoction which they are concocting. Toothache and oral hygiene is well served with a mouthwash made up of six cloves in half a cup of water, boiled and cooled. Rinse your mouth out with this mouthwash regularly after brushing your teeth. You get a natural breath freshener, as well as a powerful antiseptic mouthwash all in one.