Managing Thanksgiving Induced Indigestion

Giving thanks for all that we have is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about; however, over the years it seems Thanksgiving is more about stuffing ourselves into heartburn, indigestion, and bloat. There are nearly 50 essential oils that help combat the symptoms of Thanksgiving induced indigestion.

First, I want to count my blessings and tell you what I am thankful for this year. I am truly blessed with a supportive, nurturing, wonderful husband. I have two great, faithful, supportive older brothers. I am blessed to be owned by three loving terriers. I have many positive, encouraging, and loyal friends that I call family. I, and my family, have good health. I have the perfect home with beautiful surroundings. I have just what I need in terms of property and material items and nothing more. I am thankful for my productive herbal, flower, and vegetable gardens. I also have wonderful clients who I enjoy and respect. In all, I have been blessed and I am truly thankful.

As family and friends gather for the Thanksgiving feast they all know they are going to over eat, but how can they not? The food at Thanksgiving is decadent. Most feasts include a big turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes or yams, vegetables, cranberries, and assorted pies. Each family has its own traditional dish too. In our family it is my mother’s recipe for pearl onions in a thick creamy cheese sauce. YUM! For a lot of families the addition of green bean casserole is the dish that makes the feast complete.

Regardless of what we serve on Thanksgiving Day, everyone tends to over eat. Over eating is one sure way of causing heartburn, indigestion, bloat, and flatulence. There are many means of managing these conditions: over-the counter antacids, drinking ginger ale, mixing up some sodium bicarbonate, drinking a lot of water, avoiding certain foods, and not lying down after eating. All of these methods are effective, and I recommend using them. However, using essential oils to help with indigestion is effective, pleasurable, and can be used with all members of the family, young or old.

Indigestion Massage Blend at a 3% dilution:
In a dark glass bottle mix the essential oils and add the carrier oil. Gently massage the blend over your abdomen in a clockwise fashion.
3 drops Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) essential oil
2 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
2 drops Dill seed (Anethum graveolens) essential oil
1 drop Ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil
15 ml. Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) carrier oil

I recommend this blend at a 3% dilution for healthy teens and adults: however, for young children, the elderly, or those with sensitivities or weakened physical states a 1% dilution would be where I would begin.

Earlier I mentioned there are over 50 essential oils that help with digestive issues. These oils include:

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Dill seed (Anethum graveolens)

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides)

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

These oils are listed because they are gentle, have few contraindications (can be used with children, during pregnancy, and with high or low blood pressure), and are effective. The citrus oils do increase the chance of photosensitivity.

If a massage blend is not your style, or if you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, you may want to formulate a blend to use in a personal inhaler. Personal inhalers are easy to carry, as well as being easy and discrete to use. Choose two to three essential oils in the list above and use between 15 to 25 drops of the blend you have formulated. No carrier oil is used with a personal inhaler. Place the required drops of your chosen essential oils on a sterile glass plate. Then, using sterile tweezers, place the cotton pad from the inhaler on the essential oils. Allow the cotton pad to absorb all of the essential oils. Using the tweezers insert the cotton pad into the inhaler, cap the bottom, screw on the cover, and you are ready to go!

My Thanksgiving wish for you is that you have a day filled with love, family, friends, and good food. If you happen to eat to the point of digestive issues add essential oils to your arsenal of tools to combat them.

 Information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider.  This information is not meant for diagnosis of health issues.  If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils.  If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.   

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com.  I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions.

You can also find me on Facebook

 

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) Hydrosol Brownies

Who can resist brownies?  A warm brownie and a cold glass of milk is the perfect bedtime snack, at least in my book!  There are hundreds of ways of making a simple brownie recipe more interesting; however, have you ever thought about using a hydrosol as a natural flavoring ingredient instead of flavor extract?

Two years ago I planted a small chocolate peppermint plant in my herb garden not knowing what I was going to use it for, but I planted it just for the whimsy of it.  Chocolate peppermint is a variety of peppermint (Mentha piperita) with the aroma and taste of chocolate to it.  The name, chocolate peppermint, comes from the fact that the leaves of the chocolate peppermint plant are brownish in color, not from the slight chocolate taste of the plant.

Once the plant was thriving in my herb garden I realized I had to find a use for it, and several ideas came to mind.  I have used this fun herb as a garnish for hot cocoa, as a stand-alone herbal tea, and as a hydrosol ingredient in brownies.  Chocolate peppermint can be used to flavor ice-cream as well.  Whenever a combination of chocolate and peppermint can be included in any recipe try including the herb as a secret ingredient.

Why use peppermint hydrosol instead of peppermint extract?  Extracts of any flavor are produced through the use of alcohol, which I can taste, and which I find rather biting.  Sometimes the flavor becomes lost due to the high amount of alcohol used to make the extract.  Vanilla extract must contain a minimum of 35% alcohol.  That is a lot of alcohol.  I prefer the pure subtle flavor of a hydrosol.

Making brownies can be as easy as baking a packaged brownie mix or as homey as making them from scratch.  When I am in a pinch the packaged mix works just fine, but when I have the time and ingredients I prefer to make brownies from scratch.  To use a hydrosol in a packaged brownie mix, substitute water with hydrosol.  When baking from scratch, replace the amount of flavor extract with a hydrosol. Below is my personal recipe; however I replace vanilla extract with peppermint hydrosol and increase the amount of hydrosol to 2 Tablespoons while the original recipe asks for 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. If I use flavor extract I use one teaspoon vanilla and one teaspoon peppermint, because peppermint extract can be overwhelming.  Another reason I like using a hydrosol.

 

Haly’s Chocolate Mint Brownie Recipe:

2/3 cup butter

5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate

1 ¾ cups granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons peppermint hydrosol or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1 teaspoon peppermint extract

1 cup flour

3 eggs

1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325°.  Grease the bottom and sides of a 13×9 inch pan.

Melt the baking chocolate and butter in a small pan on low heat.  Stir frequently.

With an electric mixer beat the sugar, eggs and hydrosol together. On low speed slowly mix the melted chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture.  Add flour to the mixture until well blended.  Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

If you want you can frost the brownies with a frosting of your choosing.  I like chocolate!

Allow brownies to cool and then enjoy with a big glass of cold milk!

 

These brownies are a great treat during the holiday season, or whenever you want a brownie with an additional zing.

 

Go forth and bake! 

 

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

Infused Honey

[quote]“Nothing was safe from honey…honey was the ambrosia of the gods and the shampoo of the goddesses.” ― The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd.[/quote]

True, honey is a panacea.  It is antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, and full of polyphenols and antioxidants.  Honey helps to boost the immune system, combat the common cold and alleviate allergies.  Honey was used by the ancients for its medicinal purposes and has been found, in a still edible state, in the Egyptian tombs of kings and queens.

I have infused honey with three plant item; grapes, hawthorn berries and red clover. Infused honey takes on a different complex taste depending on the type of plant material used to infuse it.  I am going to share with you how and why I infused honey with each of the plant materials listed.

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Grape (Vitis vinifera) Infused Honey:As expected, grape infused honey tastes like grapes; however, the flavor isn’t completely as expected.  Grape infused honey has a tangy, sweet & sour, grape flavor.  The color of the honey is a golden purple.

Grapes have strong antibacterial and antiviral properties.  Grapes help to reduce the chance of heart attack, blood clots, memory loss, and they help to reduce bad cholesterol levels. Grapes are known to be high in flavonoids and antioxidants.  Grapes also contain all of the vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy body.  Grapes contain high levels of Vitamins A, C, and B6.  Grapes also contain calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and foliate.

Grape infused honey tends to be thin due to the high level of juice from grapes.  This honey can be used as a sweetener in teas or taken directly.

Infusion:  I picked the grapes when they were near to bursting with ripeness. I put the grapes into a jar leaving about one inch of space between the top of the grapes and the top of the jar.  I covered the grapes with honey allowing the honey to filter through the grapes and fill the jar to the top.  The jar did have to sit open for approximately one hour to allow all of the air bubbles to escape.  After all of the air left the honey and grape mixture the lid was put on the jar. The jar was placed in a cool dark area of the kitchen for a period of three days.  Once a day, during the three day infusion period, the jar was turned upside down.  This turning allows the honey and grape juice to mix.  After three days of infusion the honey was strained through a mesh-metal food strainer into an eight ounce jar, labeled, and stored in the refrigerator.  This honey should keep for six to eight months.

Hawthorn (Crateagus oxycantuhs) Infused Honey: This honey has a fruity, floral flavor.  The color is a beautiful orange-gold.

Hawthorn berries are astringent, cardiotonic, diuretic, antispasmodic, sedative, and vasodilator in properties.  Hawthorn helps to promote heart and circulatory system health.  Hawthorn is used to treat high blood pressure, angina, congestive heart failure, arteriosclerosis, lower bad cholesterol, restoring heart muscle, and strengthening blood vessels.  Hawthorn berries contain flavonoids, antioxidants, carotene, tannins, and are full of Vitamin B complex (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, B12) and Vitamin C.

This honey can be taken directly, used as a sweetener in teas, or spread on toast/breads.

Infusion:  When the hawthorn berries were dark red they were ready for picking.  The same process used to infuse honey with grape was used to infuse honey with hawthorn; however, the duration of the infusion increased from three days to one week.  Once the hawthorn berries lose their color and become nearly white it is time to end the infusion.  This honey should keep for six to eight months.

Red Clover (Trifolium pretense) Infused Honey: This honey has a sweet, herbaceous, grassy flavor.  The color of the honey is a beautiful golden red.

Red clover flowers are shown to have antispasmodic, diuretic, expectorant, sedative, tonic, and alterative properties.  Red clover helps to treat coughs, colds, asthma, sore throats, digestive problems, prostate health, cholesterol levels, and menopausal issues. Red clover is full of the vitamins A, C, B-12, E, and K, as well as minerals, such as calcium iron, magnesium, potassium, niacin, thiamine.

With cold and flu season well upon us, I will use red clover honey to treat coughs, excessive phlegm, and sore throat.  The sedative properties of red clover will also help when a night-time cough keeps one awake.  One teaspoon of red clover honey taken directly helps coat the throat easing both the soreness and the tickle that causes a cough.  Red clover honey can also be used as a sweetener in tea.

Infusion: I used dried flower heads of red clover that had been picked in the forest meadows in late August.  Since I used dry, instead of fresh, flowers I put several handfuls of the flowers into a double-boiler and covered them completely with honey.  Keeping the temperature of the double-boiler on low I left the clover to steep in the warm honey for approximately three hours.  Once the red clover had lost most of its color the honey was strained through cheese-cloth into an eight ounce jar, labeled, and stored in the refrigerator.  This honey should keep for six to eight months.

Honey can be infused with nearly any type of plant material.  The decision to infuse honey can be based on what therapeutic properties you are looking for, availability of plant material, cost, and maybe most importantly, taste!  May your coming week be sweet, like honey.

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

 

Powerful Purslane (Portulaca oleracea)

I hold the belief that a weed isn’t a weed until I decide it is a weed.  Having what most people consider a weed in my garden proves to be a bonus for me and my family.  Let’s take the little known “weed,” Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), for example.  This is a hardy plant that can be seen growing all over our property, and for me it is not a weed!  Every morning when I go outdoors to visit my herb, vegetable, and flower gardens I spy purslane, and it makes me smile.  I smile because I know how powerful purslane is in providing important vitamins and nutrients.  I also smile because it is as if this little plant and I have a little known secret about its amazing properties.  But now is the time to share that secret.

Purslane, also known as verdolaga, pig weed, and little hogweed, grows all over without any assistance.  It grows best in arid sunny areas where the earth is high in nitrogen.  It will thrive best if it receives water along with your flowers, vegetables, etc.  Purslane seems to love the company of other plants and co-exists with them well; however, if left unchecked it can spread quickly.

Purslane provides an entire host of important vitamins and minerals.  Just one half cup of purslane will provide you with over one third of your daily Vitamin C, nearly half of your daily Vitamin A, and one quarter of your daily Iron intake!  This poor, misunderstood, and little known plant has a powerful punch.

There are so many culinary uses of purslane.  Yes…it is an edible weed!  All parts of the plant are edible; the stems, flowers, and leaves.  When I am working in the gardens and my mouth becomes dry I often pick a few leaves of purslane and chew them.  Because purslane leaves hold so much water they help moisten my mouth, and the leaves also have a nice sour, citrus, cucumber-like flavor.  Purslane can also be steamed as a side vegetable, similar to steaming spinach.  It can be added to any fresh garden salad.  Some people have also pickled purslane for use in the winter months.  Personally, I love a fresh purslane and cucumber salad on a hot summer day.

Purslane and Cucumber Salad

I need to confess something before I give you my recipe.  I am one of those people who will never measure anything when I cook or bake.  I simply create culinary delights by personal taste and sight; therefore, the measurements provided are merely approximations.  I encourage you to adjust the measurements to suit your own tastes.

Ingredients:

2 cups purslane leaves

2 thinly sliced cucumbers

1 bunch scallions or ¼ cup finely chopped onion

4 minced radishes

1 to 1 1/2 cup sour cream (depending on how thick you like your dressing)

½ Tablespoon dill weed

1 teaspoon cardamom

Salt and pepper to taste

After harvesting the purslane, rinse in cold water and pat dry.  Mix purslane, cucumber, scallions, and radishes.  In a separate bowl mix the sour cream, dill weed, cardamom, salt and pepper.  If the dressing is too thick add a splash of milk.  Pour the dressing over the vegetable mixture and stir.  Refridgerate the salad for several hours before serving, this allows the flavors of the ingredients to marinate together.

I have served this salad to dinner guests and taken it to outdoor barbeques and picnics, and it is always a favorite.  I hope you will be encouraged to try the salad recipe, add a few purslane leaves to a salad, or steam it in place of spinach.

Below is a table the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has prepared to show the many advantages of eating purslane.  (100 grams is approximately ½ cup)

See the table below for in depth analysis of nutrients:

Purslane (Portulaca oleracea), raw, fresh,
Nutritive value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
Energy 16 Kcal 1.5%
Carbohydrates 3.4 g 3%
Protein 1.30 g 2%
Total Fat 0.1 g 0.5%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Vitamins
Folates 12 µg 3%
Niacin 0.480 mg 3%
Pantothenic acid 0.036 mg 1%
Pyridoxine 0.073 mg 5.5%
Riboflavin 0.112 mg 8.5%
Thiamin 0.047 mg 4%
Vitamin A 1320 IU 44%
Vitamin C 21 mg 35%
Electrolytes
Sodium 45 mg 3%
Potassium 494 mg 10.5%
Minerals
Calcium 65 mg 6.5%
Copper 0.113 mg 12.5%
Iron 1.99 mg 25%
Magnesium 68 mg 17%
Manganese 0.303 mg 13%
Phosphorus 44 mg 6%
Selenium 0.9 µg 2%
Zinc 0.17 mg 1.5%

 

Here is to your good health, and as always, Fragrant Blessings!

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

 

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!