DANDELION: ( Taraxacum )
PART USED: Leaves, stem, flower, roots.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Rich in fiber, protein, lutein, zeaxanthin, Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin, Pantothenic acid, Folate, Choline, Vitamin A, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc.
Fresh dandelion greens, flower tops, and roots contain valuable constituents that are known to have anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Dandelion greens provide 58% of daily-recommended levels of vitamin-C. Vitamin A is an important fat-soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and vision. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone mass building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
Fresh leaves are very low in calories; providing just 45 calories per 100 g. It is also good source of dietary fiber. In addition, its latex is a good laxative. These active principles in the herb help reduce weight and control cholesterol levels in the blood. Its leaves are packed with numerous health benefiting flavonoids such as carotene-?, carotene-?, lutein, crypto-xanthin and zea-xanthn. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers. Zeaxanthin has photo-filtering functions and protects retina from UV rays.
Dandelion root has dozens of known chemical constituents as well as other plant parts contains bitter crystalline compounds Taraxacin, and an acrid resin, Taraxacerin. Further, the root also contains inulin (not insulin) and levulin. Together, these compounds are responsible for various therapeutic properties of the herb.
Roots are usually the most potent part of perennial and biennial plants. They work to anchor the plant in the soil and to draw nutrients out of the soil to feed the plant. They also function as a receptacle for food storage. Besides storing minerals, trace minerals, water and a host of other nutrients, they also contain a wealth of chemical constituents that have a medicinal effect on our bodies. Roots work on our bodies on a deep level. They supply us with concentrated bioavailable minerals and nutrients that help heal illness by correcting nutritional deficiencies. They can be deeply cleansing to the blood and nourishing to the liver, and improve our overall digestion with some of their bitter components. Roots offer us excellent support to long-term chronic health imbalances and also support the body during seasonal changes. Roots are nearly always featured in winter remedies.
Oftentimes fresh dandelion greens are gathered from the wild, but the herb is better selected from known source. In the markets look for fresh organic, succulent, soft young leaf tops. Fresh leaves are superior in flavor and rich in many vital vitamins and anti-oxidants like ß-carotene, vitamin C and folates. Once at home store the greens in plastic bags and store in vegetable compartment as in spinach, kale etc.
The moon has four phases or quarters lasting about seven days each. The first two quarters are during the waxing or increasing light, between the new and the full moon. The third and fourth quarters are after the full moon when the light is waning, or decreasing.
Planting by the moon is an ancient agricultural idea with scientific ideas to back it up. The Earth is in a large gravitational field, influenced by both the sun and moon. The tides are highest at the time of the new and the full moon, when sun and moon are lined up with earth. Just as the moon pulls the tides in the oceans, it also pulls upon the subtle bodies of water, causing moisture to rise in the earth, which encourages growth. The highest amount of moisture is in the soil at this time, and tests have proven that seeds will absorb the most water at the time of the full moon.
The lunar gravity pulls water up, and causes the seeds to swell and burst. This factor, coupled with the increasing moonlight creates balanced root and leaf growth. This is the best time for planting above ground annual crops that produce their seeds outside the fruit. Examples are lettuce, spinach, celery, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and grain crops. Cucumbers like this phase also, even though they are an exception to that rule.
The gravitational pull is less, but the moonlight is strong, creating strong leaf growth. It is generally a good time for planting, especially two days before the full moon. The types of crops that prefer the second quarter are annuals that produce above ground, but their seeds form inside the fruit, such as beans, melons, peas, peppers, squash, and tomatoes. Mow lawns in the first or second quarter to increase growth.
As the moon wanes, the energy is drawing down. The gravitation pull is high, creating more moisture in the soil, but the moonlight is decreasing, putting energy into the roots. This is a favorable time for planting root crops, including beets, carrots, onions, potatoes, and peanuts. It is also good for perennials, biennials, bulbs and transplanting because of the active root growth. Pruning is best done in the third quarter.
There is decreased gravitational pull and moonlight, and it is considered a resting period. This is also the best time to cultivate, harvest, transplant and prune. Mow lawns in the third or fourth quarter to retard growth.
“In the time of need and worry, affliction and pain, I give my people healing”
ALL SPICE/PIMENTO: ( Pimenta dioica )
PART USED: Leaves, Fruit, Bark.
MEDICINAL PROPERTIES: Anti-inflammatory, rubefacient, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. Health benefiting essential oils such as eugenol, a phenylpropanoids class of chemical compound, which gives pleasant, sweet aromatic fragrances to this spice. It also contains caryophyllene, methyleugenol, glycosides, tannins, quercetin, resin and sesquiterpenes. These volatile oils obtained through distillation process using this spice corns. The outer coat of the berries have the greatest medicinal activity. The active principles in the allspice may increase the motility of the gastro-intestinal tract as well as increase the digestion power by increasing gastro-intestinal secretions. The spice is enriched with good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, iron, copper, selenium, and magnesium. Iron is an important co-factor for cytochrome- oxidase enzymes during cellular metabolism. It is also required for red blood cell production in the bone marrow. Being an important component of cell and body fluids, potassium helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the powerful antioxidant enzyme superoxide dismutase. Also, it contains very good amounts of vitamin-A, vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C. Vitamin C is a powerful natural antioxidant; regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.