A Place to Start

By Staff
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Perk Up with Cardamom Coffee

Looking for a special pick-me-up on a cold afternoon? Try this
delicious Middle Eastern coffee for a guaranteed energy boost.

Arabic Cardamom Coffee

Serves 4

4 split green cardamom pods
4 heaping teaspoons finely
ground coffee
2 heaping teaspoons sugar
2½ cups water
1 teaspoon ground ginger

Add cardamom, coffee and sugar to water in a saucepan. Bring to
a boil; lower heat and simmer 20 minutes. Let steep 2 minutes to
allow coffee grounds to settle. Sprinkle with ginger and pour
carefully into small coffee cups.

Source: McIntyre, Anne. Drink to Your Health. New York:
Fireside, 2000.

Dong Quai: A Great Herb for Women

In China, dong quai (Angelica sinensis) is considered the best
tonic herb for women. The herb helps regulate the hormones and
keeps the reproductive system running smoothly. It also is used to
relieve menstrual cramps, ease the symptoms of premenstrual
syndrome, regulate the bowels and increase energy. Herbs for Health
editorial adviser Christopher Hobbs likes to use dong quai for his
patients that are experiencing “general weakness and debility and
circulatory disorders, such as angina.” The herb also is used to
help overcome anemia.

In tea form, the herb tastes pleasantly sweet and slightly
pungent. To make tea, place 2 tablespoons sliced, dried dong quai
in a saucepan with 2½ cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower
heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and drink 2 cups daily.
Another way to use the herb is to add it to soups and stews–the way
it’s traditionally used in China.

Fenugreek: A Plant with Promise

Common names: Fenugreek, hu lu ba, Greek hayseed
Latin name: Trigonella foenum-graecum
Family: Fabaceae
Part used: Seeds
Medicinal uses: Fenugreek has shown promise in lowering both
cholesterol and blood sugar. In a study conducted in India,
participants (who were type 2 diabetics) ate a soup containing 1
ounce of powdered fenugreek seed before lunch and dinner each day.
After 24 weeks, participants’ cholesterol levels fell 24 percent;
their blood-sugar levels dropped also. The herb also might help
increase lactation in nursing mothers and relieve bronchitis.
Forms commonly used: Capsules, tinctures, tea
Side effects: Fenugreek may stimulate the uterus and should not be
used during pregnancy.
Notes: Many herbalists like to use fenugreek in tea form, rather
than in capsules or tinctures. To make tea, simmer 1 to 2
tablespoons fenugreek seeds, ground or crushed, in 4 cups water for
about 15 minutes. Steep 15 minutes, strain and drink 1 cup, twice
daily.

A poultice of fenugreek seeds can help heal boils and sores.
Crush the seeds and simmer them in water to make a thick, slimy
tea. Spread the mixture on a piece of cloth and place over sores to
draw out waste and speed healing.

Fenugreek seeds were a popular remedy in ancient times–they were
even found in King Tut’s tomb.

The taste of fenugreek can be described as a cross between
bitter celery and maple syrup, according to health writer Michael
Castleman. The herb often is used to flavor horse and cattle
feed.

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