Thursday, January 22, 2009

Herbs & Spices for every servings

Get acquainted with herbs and spices. Add in small amounts, 1/4 tsp. for every servings. Crush dried herbs or snip fresh ones before using. Use 3 times more fresh herbs if substituting fresh for dried.


This herb has a sweet, warm flavor with an aromatic odor. It can be used whole or ground and is
good with lamb, fish, roast, stews, ground beef, vegetables, dressings and omelets. (I grow my
own in a small pot in my kitchen window. It seems the more leaves I pick off the more the plant

Bay Leaves

It has a pungent flavor. Use whole leaves but remember to remove the leaf before serving. It's
good in vegetable dishes, seafood and stews.


Spicy in taste with an aromatic smell. Good used in cakes, breads, soups, cheese and


Sweet, mild flavor of an onion. Great in salads, fish, soups and potatoes. (This is another one
that I grow in my kitchen. I cut it just above the dirt and like grass, it grows right back.)


Use fresh. Excellent in salads, fish, chicken, rice, beans and Mexican dishes.

Curry Powder

This is a blend of spices that gives a distinct flavor to meat, poultry, fish and vegetables.


Both seeds and leaves are flavorful. Leaves can be used to garnish, cook with fish, soup,
dressings, potatoes and beans. (I like fresh dill but the plant gets a little large for my kitchen
window so I keep a pot growing on my porch. The only problem I find is the squirrels seem to
like it too. So I put small rocks on top so they can't dig up the plant.)


Sweet, hot flavor. Both seeds and leaves are used but use in small quantities in pies and baked


This is a pungent root sold fresh, dried or ground. It's common in cakes, cookies, soups and
meat dishes. See Ginger - Zingiber Officinale - Halia (Medicinal Herbs)


Can be found both dried or green. It's used to flavor fish, poultry, omelets, lamb, stew, stuffing
and tomato juice.


Aromatic with a cool flavor. Excellent in beverages, fish, lamb, cheese, soup, peas, carrots and
fruit desserts. (This is one plant that should come with a warning. I planted one plant and ended
up with it spreading throughout my gardening area. I now buy my mint from the store.)


Strong, aromatic odor. Use whole or ground in tomato juice fish, eggs, pizza, omelets, chili, stew,
gravy, poultry, vegetables and of course Italian dishes. (This is another herb that is easy to grow
in the kitchen window and it too likes to have it's leaves pinched off so it can grow more.)


A bright red pepper used in meat, vegetables and soups or as a garnish for potatoes, salads or


Best when used fresh, but can be used dried as a garnish or as a seasoning. Try using it in fish,
omelets, soups, meats, stuffing and mixed greens. (Another kitchen window plant.)


Very aromatic. Can be used fresh or dried. Season fish, stuffing, beef, lamb, poultry, onions,
eggs, bread and potatoes. Great in dressings. (This is an outside plant that starts out small and
becomes enough for a large neighborhood to share. And it gets bigger every year.) See ROSEMARY - Rosmarinus Officinalis (Medicinal Herbs)


Orange-yellow n color. It will flavor and color foods. Use in soup, chicken, rice and breads.
(This herb is a little expensive to buy.)


Can be used fresh or dried. The flowers can be used in salads. May be used in tomato juice,
fish, omelets, beef, poultry, stuffing, cheese spread and breads. (This is another porch plant. I
do have to plant it yearly but the use of fresh sage is worth it. As the plant dies out I break off
small branches and hang in my kitchen to dry and then store in a plastic bag. To use, I simply
pull the leaf off it's stem and rub the leaves between my palms.)


Leaves have a pungent, hot taste. Use to flavor sauces, salads, fish, poultry, tomatoes, eggs,
green beans, carrots and dressings.


Sprinkle the leaves on fish or poultry before broiling or baking and throw a few springs directly
on coals shortly before meat is finished grilling.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Kacip Fatimah as anti-ageing agent

Labisa Pumila, commonly known as Kacip Fatimah is the female version of Tongkat Ali. Kacip Fatimah is a small woody and leafy plant that grows and can be found widely in the shade of forest floors. The leaves are about 20 centimetres long, and they are traditionally used as a kind of tea by women who experience a loss of libido.

Herbal Uses

Extract from these herbs are usually ground into powder substances and are made into capsules and pills. A concoction made from boiling the plant in water is given to women in labour to hasten delivery of their babies. After childbirth, it may still be consumed by mothers to regain their strength. In other medicinal preparations, it can treat gonorrhoea, dysentery and eliminate excessive gas in the body.

Traditionally, it is used for enhancing vitality, overcome tiredness and help to tone vaginal muscles for women. Kacip Fatimah, the women’s tongkat ali has been used for generations in Borneo in maintaining the figure, health and vitality of women. Kacip fatimah is the female Tongkat Ali and for centuries -it has been used in Borneo to restore womenhood.

Kacip Fatimah in the news

From TheStar
Researchers unlock herb’s anti-ageing secret
Compiled by LEE YUK PENG, V.P. SUJATA and A. RAMAN

UNIVERSITI Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) and South Korean researchers have found an anti-ageing agent in the traditional herb kacip fatimah which stimulates the production of collagen and acts as an anti-oxidant, reported Kosmo!

The research conducted by UTM’s Faculty of Chemical Engineering professor Dr Mohamad Roji Sarmidi and South Korea’s Dongguk University’s Chemistry and Bio- chemical Department professor Dr Chan Seo-par showed that the herb could make the skin fairer.

UTM vice-chancellor Datuk Dr Zaini Ujang said extracts from the kacip fatimah leaves could also curb the production of melanin, which darkens the skin as well as reduces sunburn.

Kacip fatimah, better known for boosting women’s health, has now been found to be effective in skin care, he said, adding that Dongguk University was chosen because it had a research laboratory to conduct tests that was not available in Malaysia.

Photos of Kacip Fatimah

Saturday, January 3, 2009

VALERIAN - Valeriana Officinalis

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers. The flowers are in bloom in the northern hemisphere from June to September. Valerian was used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.

Native to Europe and parts of Asia, Valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Grey Pug.

Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal. The garden flower red valerian is also sometimes referred to as "valerian" but is a different species, from the same family but not particularly closely related.

Valerian, in pharmacology and phytotherapic medicine, is the name of a herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant, which, after maceration, trituration, dehydration processes, are conveniently packaged, usually into capsules, that may be utilized for certain effects including sedation and anxiolytic effect.

The amino acid Valine is named after this plant.

Medicinal use

Valerian is used for insomnia and other disorders and can be a useful alternative to benzodiazepine drugs.

In the United States Valerian is sold as a nutritional supplement. Therapeutic use has increased as dietary supplements have gained in popularity, especially after the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed in 1994. This law allowed the distribution of many agents as over-the-counter supplements, and therefore allowed them to bypass the regulatory requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Valerian is used against sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety, and as a muscle relaxant. Valerian often seems only to work when taken over longer periods (several weeks), though many users find that it takes effect immediately. Some studies have demonstrated that valerian extracts interact with the GABA and benzodiazepine receptors. Valerian is also used traditionally to treat gastrointestinal pain and irritable bowel syndrome. However, long term safety studies are missing. As valepotriates may be potential mutagens, valerian should only be used after consultation with a physician.

Valerian is sometimes recommended as a first-line treatment when benefit-risk analysis dictates. Valerian is often indicated as transition medication when discontinuing benzodiazepines.

Valerian has uses in herbal medicine as a sedative. The main current use of valerian is as a remedy for insomnia, with a recent meta-analysis providing some evidence of effectiveness. It has been recommended for epilepsy but that is not supported by research (although an analogue of one of its constituents, valproic acid, is used as an anticonvulsant and mood-stabilizing drug). Valerian root generally does not lose effectiveness over time.

SIDE EFFECTS: Headache, blurred vision, nausea, change in heartbeat, and morning grogginess may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor promptly. Very unlikely but report: dark urine, stomach pain. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

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