Archives for category: Natures Cure

download dongoyaro seedsI  was drawn to the Dongoyaro tree as a child.  I liked the small yellowish fruit  which  look like  tiny apricots and the busy branches with  their lively serrated leaves. It also fascinated me as  I heard my aunties speak almost in awe of the Dongoyaro tree and its  potency  to cure all–  especially the use of its leaves in the  traditional treatment of malaria.

Today, among traditional healers  in Okeigbo, South west Nigeria, Azadirachta indica (Dongoyaro) continues to be  used with other  herbs in  malaria therapy.

A few years ago, on a trip to Malaysia, I discovered  a face mask which seemed like the new best thing in town.It worked a near miracle on reducing my acne and breakouts.

A Neem face mask;  I was super impressed.Imagine my pleasant surprise when I joined the dots…- the Dogonyaro tree and the Neem  tree are one and the same.

Grown throughout India, and known as the  one tree pharmacy’, extracts  from the Neem tree have been used in Ayurvedic preparations  for thousands of years to maintain health and overall well-being. The roots, bark, gum, leaves, fruit, seed kernels and seed oil  of the Neem tree are all used  for both internal and topical use.

Top 10 Benefits of neem – Neem Benefits – Health

For more information on benefits of Neem see here.

Buy Neem products online here.

images (1) basil flowers

Basil, (Ewe Efirin in Yoruba ) also known as Saint Joseph’s Wort , is a herb belonging to the mint family Lamiaceae often used as a seasoning in cooking. Basil is native to India and other tropical areas of Asia.

BASIL BENEFITS

1. Contains a wide range of essential oils rich in phenolic compounds. Natural phenolic compounds play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.

2. Like most natural foods, Basil is rich in antioxidants which can help to prevent and repair damage to your body’s tissue.

download basil smoothie

3. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies and impotence.

4. Basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders

5. Fresh basil leaves and basil oil have antibacterial properties and are used in many traditional societies to disinfect surfaces.

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6. Basil leaves, applied to wounds, may eliminate infections.

7. Used in cooking or taken as a nutritional supplement, basil can assist in combating common viruses like colds, flu, and the herpes family of viruses – in a manner similar to that of Echinacea.

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8. Basil leaves are an excellent source of iron, contains 3.17 mg/100 g of fresh leaves (about 26% of RDA).

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ADDING BASIL TO YOUR DIET

A few basil leaves are perfect in any green smoothie. I always add at least “ a spicy one” (either basil, parsley, or peppermint) to my green smoothies to pep things up!

Fresh Basil Vinaigrette

Fresh basil and a bit of garlic are whirled into a simple fresh basil vinaigrette in this easy recipe. It’s perfect on tomatoes, summer salad greens, or grilled meats.
Prep Time: 10 minutes

download basil dressing

Total Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:

2 cups basil leaves (about 1 large bunch)
1/2 cup good-quality olive oil
1/4 cup white wine or champagne vinegar
1 small clove garlic
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preparation:

In a blender or food processor, whirl the basil, oil, vinegar, and garlic until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Makes about 1 cup Fresh Basil Vinaigrette. (see link)

download diabetes buster

Ingredients


1 bitter gourd/melon
4 celery ribs
1 and a half cup parsley
2 cups spinach
1/2 lemon

download bitter gourd

 BITTER GOURD
Technically known as “Momordica charantia”, varieties of the bitter gourd are known by different names around the world, including Balsam Pear, Bitter Melon and in Karela in Hindi.
In Nigeria, it is known as :

Ejinrin Wewe in Yoruba

Daddagu in Hausa

Iliahia in Igala

kakayi in Igbo 

download balsam pear

USES 

 

AFRICA
In parts of Nigeria and South Africa,  
people drink a glass of bitter gourd juice in the morning to help strengthen the immune system and increase the body’s fighting power against infection.

 

SOUTH AMERICA:
In the Amazon, local people and indigenous tribes grow bitter melon for food and medicine.

The fruit and/or leaves are parboiled first with a pinch of salt to remove some of the bitter taste and then added to beans and soup for a bitter or sour flavor.

 

ASIA
Bitter gourd is a popular vegetable in India well known for it`s ability to lower blood glucose in diabetics.

Bitter gourd has been used to treat diabetes in traditional medicine and is now commercially available as tea (from fruits or leaves), juice, extracts, and pills.

RISKS

Contraindications
Patients deficient in the glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase gene should avoid consumption of bitter melon preparations due to the presence of vicine in the seeds.

Pregnancy/nursing
Documented adverse reactions include stimulating menstruation and inducing abortion. Avoid use.

See here for more info:

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for juicing. Ile-Ife

Star Fruit straight from the tree- ready for juicing.
Ile-Ife

 

 Star Fruit,  also known as Carambola  is high in  fiber, rich in Iron, vitamins A and C.

 

HEALTH BENEFITS

 

1. Low in calories, sugar, sodium and acid

2.Star fruit has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels and a possible treatment for diabetes.

3. Contains high amounts of Vitamin C, a powerful natural antioxidant

4. Star fruit is a good source of B-complex vitamins such as folates, riboflavin, and pyridoxine vitamin .

5. In India, the ripe fruit or its juice is used as a remedy for  fever.

 

RISKS

 

Carambola  contains oxalic acid, which has been considered harmful to individuals suffering from kidney failure, kidney stones, or those under kidney dialysis treatment.

Like the grapefruit, star fruit is considered to be a potent inhibitor of seven cytochrome P450 isoforms and the consumption of star fruit or its juice in combination with certain medications can significantly deincrease their effective dosage within the body.


Read more about the pharmaceutical uses of Carambola here

download moringa tree

The Moringa tree is another of the many medicinal plants I grew up with in Nigeria.

As a child, I did not know its name but I was fascinated by the giant pods of the Moringa tree. When dried and hardened in the hot tropical sunshinem these made a perfect rattle-pod and a few together in a bundle could make a lot of hmmmm… rhythmic noise.

images (1) moringa pods

Today, from the oil to green capsules of powder, creams to extracts of bark in ointments, Moringa Oleifera is definitely trending as one of the most sought after medicinal plants. So, as I catch myself sprinkling some home dried Moringa leaf powder into my green smoothie, it gets me thinking…So what`s in it for me?

images (1) moringa tabs

Native to the Himalayas and now grown practically everywhere in the world, the common English names of the Moringa tree are “Drumstick Tree,” Horse Radish tree, Benoil tree and simply Moringa.
In Nigeria it is called:

Zogale, Bagagruwa Maka in Hausa

Ewe Igbale, ewe ile, adagba maloye, igi agunmaniye in Yoruba

Okwe oyibo, odudu oyibo, okochi egbun in Igbo

MORINGA LEAF-MEDICINAL USES

1. Fresh Leaves rubbed against the temple can relieve headaches.

2. A poultice of fresh moringa leaves can be used to stem bleeding from shallow cuts

3.Produces an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect when applied to wounds or insect bites.

4. Extracts can be used against bacterial or fungal skin complaints.

5. Moringa is used for “tired blood” as the iron content in the leaves is high, and they are reportedly prescribed for anemia in the Philippines.

6. Dried Moringa leaf tea is used treat diarrhoea in Malawi, Africa.

7. Moringa is also used to increase sex drive (as an aphrodisiac)

Clearly, Moringa Oleifera is quite a remarkable plant.

Since it can be grown cheaply and easily, and the leaves contain a lot of vitamins and minerals when dried, moringa is used in India and Africa in feeding programs to fight malnutrition.

The immature green pods (drumsticks) are prepared similarly to green beans, while the seeds are removed from more mature pods and cooked like peas or roasted like nuts.The leaves are cooked and used like spinach, and the dried powder is used as a seasoning- a bit like dried thyme!

Read more here about how to prepare Moringa leaf tea and other recipes using the Moringa plant

Health  Benefits of Ginger

 

download ginger leaves

By far my favorite root of all time is ginger– I simply cannot imagine a day without some ginger somewhere in my diet.

Today, I had a good chunk of  raw ginger blended straight into my  lunchtime fruit smoothie. It worked a treat.

 

This amazing plant is worth taking seriously when you consider the range of health benefits to be reaped.

This video says it all. Check it out.

 

 

 

 

The weather is getting slightly brisk and I have to say- out comes the Ginger, Lemon and Honey.

 

If like me you use your voice a lot everyday– you need to keep your throat feeling good  and avoid those tickly coughs right through the autumn into winter.

 

Lemon

images (1) drink

 

 

 

 

Ginger, Lemon and Honey Syrup Recipe

Ingredients

Fresh juice- 2-3 lemons or a good sized couple of limes
1″ piece fresh ginger root
1/2 to 1 cup honey

 

honey-ginger

 

Instructions

Grate the ginger and squeeze out the concentrated ginger juice.
Add the ginger juice to the lemon/lime.
Add the honey.

or

Grate the ginger
Add the lemon juice
Boil
Add honey- cool enough to sip ginger bits and all

download ginger leaves

 

Also called graviola, guanabana, custard apple and brazilian paw paw, soursop is a large, spiny, green tropical fruit.

Lovely Soursop cut in half- fleshy,sweet and very,very nice.

Lovely Soursop cut in half- fleshy,sweet and very,very nice.

Growing up in Nigeria I remember the soursop fruit well.
I recall my mum telling me that soursop was imported into Nigeria by the West Indian women who emigrated to Nigeria after Independence.

Well, whatever the case, I can definitely remember soursoup trees in the many West Indian homes I visited as a child in the city of Ibadan.

Check out soursop juice- fantastic with some ice cubes on a hot day

Check out soursop juice- fantastic with some ice cubes on a hot day

It`s sweet, delicious, creamy pulp just oozed goodness when ripe and ready for plucking off the tree.

Soursop tree in the tropical sun

Soursop tree in the tropical sun

 

Beyond just being a yummy fruit to feast on, soursop contains fatty compounds called acetogenins.

Soursop’s acetogenins are the compounds that have been most studied, especially for their potential to prevent or slow the growth of cancer.

I`ts Saturday…all day.
Chill and relax with this yummylicious pineapple and soursop smoothie!

 

Pineapple and Soursop Smoothie Treat

A cup of soursop pulp or graviola
Half cup of pineapple into cubes
½ c. orange juice
2 Tbs. honey (optional)
4 to 5 ice cubes
Place all ingredients into the blender. Blend until smooth.

Pineapple and Yummy Soursop in a delish smoothie

Pineapple and Yummy Soursop in a delish smoothie

Enjoy

Read more about the health benefits of soursop here.

images (1) amunututu 2

Growing up in Nigeria, there was always a ready source of spinach in the back garden. My favourite was the Indian spinach or amunututu as its known in Yoruba. I suppose above all else, it`s soft purple seeds made it stand out and quite attractive to the curious eyes of a young child.

images (1) seeds amunututu

Also known as amunututu in Yoruba, malabar spinach, pasalai keerai in Hindi, Indian spinach is a perennial twining, sprawling vine with juicy, green leaves packed with calcium and iron and a good source of vitamins A, B and C.

download efo amunututu

Its also very easy to grow and sustain. Amunututu will do well in moist, fertile and well drained soils. it is a very attractive plant quickly growing up trellises . It’s best suited to sub-tropical to tropical conditions where the rain and heat of summer suit it perfectly but will also grow with a shorter season in cooler climates.

The favorite in many Asian, Carribean and African dishes, this spinach is versatile and cooks in a jiffy and can be combined in lots of different recipes. Personally, I love the taste of amunututu in spicy sauces but also as a side, lightly steamed with some garlic salt.

images (1) salad

images (1) efo amunututu

images (1) indian spinach

Nutritional Values Indian Spinach

Fiber 0.6 g
Fat 0.8 g
Calories 27
Water content 92.1 g
Protein 2.0 g
Mineral Salts 1.7 g
Sugar 2.9 g
Calcium 73 Mg
Phosphorus 21 Mg
Iron 10.9 Mg
Vitamin C 28 Mg
Niacin 0.5 Mg
Riboflavin 0.26 Mg

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