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March 28, 2017

Food As Medicine
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11 Kitchen Remedies for Your Natural First Aid Kit

You have a first aid kit in your kitchen – you just don’t know it yet. Open up your kitchen cabinet and what do you find? Not just herbs, spices, oils and foods, but also various time-tested kitchen remedies. And there’s nothing I love more than sharing what these kitchen remedies are and how to use them.

Whether you’ve got a cold or accidentally cut yourself chopping carrots, these home kitchen remedies can step in and help you.

Honey

Health Benefits:

  • Honey has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. 1
  • It can soothe a sore throat and help fight the common cold. It’s even been studied as a possible adjunct to cancer treatment due to its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. 2
  • In one study, mortality was lower in the group of men who consumed honey compared to those who didn’t eat it. 3
  • Use honey topically for burns to help with healing and to reduce the risk of infection. 45
  • Adding honey to your green tea can reduce your risk of H. pylori, a bacteria that attacks the stomach lining and can lead to ulcers. 6
  • New and very interesting research concluded that organic honey can help reverse DNA damage caused by pesticide exposure. 7

How to use it: Use honey topically for burns, add it to teas and elixirs, mix it with water, lemon, garlic and cayenne for a cold-fighter, incorporate it into baked goods, spread it on toast with coconut oil and nut/seed butter. We love this honey!

Ginger

Health Benefits:

  • Ginger is highly anti-inflammatory and can help soothe stomach upset, especially nausea from morning sickness 8, motion sickness, 9and chemotherapy. 10
  • Ginger helps speed up gastric emptying (the speed at which food leaves the stomach), which leads to functional digestion further down the line. 11
  • Can help reduce pain, particularly in the joints. 12
  • Ginger boosts the immune system and reduces our risk of viral infections. 13
  • It may help boost cognition in middle-aged women – and can’t we all use a brain boost? 14
  • Ginger improves insulin sensitivity and can be helpful for patients with Type 2 diabetes. 15
  • Ginger can significantly lower cholesterol and triglycerides, making it a great herb for heart health. 16
  • It can lower DNA fragmentation in sperm, so it has the potential to help male infertility. 17

How to use it: Grate it into soups and stews, steep it in hot water for tea, add it to smoothies and elixirs, make a ginger tincture you can have before meals to stimulate digestion.

Turmeric

Health Benefits: Turmeric is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory. One of its most active constituents is called curcumin and it has a multitude of therapeutic benefits, including:

  • Kills cancer cells and can benefit the treatment and prevention of cancer. 18
  • Reduces pain of acute and chronic conditions 19 and can be equally as effective as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. 20
  • Turmeric improves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 21
  • Can be used to induce remission in patients with ulcerative colitis 22 and Crohn’s disease.  23
  • Turmeric reduces symptoms in patients with major depression. 24
  • Curcumin gel can help treat gingivitis. 25

How to use it: Check out these 19 different culinary ways to use turmeric. For a more concentrated therapeutic dose, take curcumin capsules. You can also use turmeric topically by mixing with coconut oil to make paste then apply to the skin.

Coconut Oil

Health Benefits:

  • Coconut oil is anti-microbial, anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. 26
  • Coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer. 27
  • It reduces our risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. 28
  • Can boost brain health and benefit patients with Alzheimer’s disease. 29
  • Can help heal burns. 30
  • Helps to reduce abdominal obesity. 31
  • It’s anti-microbial properties can make it an effective fat to incorporate into a candida protocol. 32
  • Coconut oil keeps our blood sugar levels balanced, which means we won’t become “hangry”, 33 and it helps with weight loss. 34

How to use it: Use coconut oil as a fat for cooking, baking or sauteeing, add it to smoothies and elixirs, apply it topically as a moisturizer, eat it off the spoon for a quick burst of energy.

Cayenne

Health Benefits:

  • Cayenne has anti-inflammatory properties and can help reduce pain, including neuropathic pain, 35low back pain, 36headaches 37 and muscle pain. 38
  • Cayenne pepper can stop bleeding. (I’ve tested this one out more times than I’d like.)
  • Increases circulation and metabolism. 39
  • Aids in weight loss.  40, 41

How to Use It: Use cayenne on cuts and scrapes, and add as much as you can tolerate to your food.

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Garlic

Health Benefits

  • Garlic is nature’s antibiotic! It boosts the immune system and helps to prevent the common cold, 42and reduces the severity and duration of colds if you catch one.  43
  • Garlic’s sulfur compounds help to prevent cancer. 44
  • Garlic lowers blood pressure. 45

How to Use It: If you feel a cold coming on, crush up a garlic clove and eat it (you can also do this daily for prevention). You can also make a batch of immune-boosting fire cider, and of course add garlic to your cooked dishes.

Let garlic sit after chopping for 5-10 minutes before cooking it. This ensures the beneficial compound allicin, which is released during chopping, isn’t destroyed.

Peppermint

Health Benefits:

  • Alleviates irritable bowel syndrome 46 and can reduce spasms in the colon. 47
  • Peppermint essential oils relax muscles when used topically. 48
  • It’s great for tension migraines if applied to the neck.
  • When inhaled, peppermint can address respiratory infections, 49 as well as improve cognition and mood.  50
  • Can suppress colon cancer cell growth. 51

How to Use It: Steep peppermint leaves, covered, for 10 minutes then sip. You can add food-grade peppermint oil to elixirs, homemade chocolate and other desserts, or you can drop it into an essential oil diffuser.

Lemons

Health Benefits:

  • Improves digestion and decreases acid reflux.
  • Lemons are rich in Vitamin C, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial and immune-boosting properties. 52
  • The Vitamin C in lemons prevents the common cold. 53
  • Lemons may inhibit cancer cell growth. 54, 55
  • Lemons can reduce crystal formation in the urinary tract, improving urinary health and reducing kidney stones. 56
  • Citrus flavonoids may aid weight loss and can improve cardiovascular health. 57

How to Use It: Squeeze half a lemon into 1 cup of water and drink 15-20 minutes before eating. Add lemon to smoothies, salad dressings, squeeze over salads, soups or roasted vegetables.

Cinnamon

Health Benefits:

  • Cinnamon is the best spice for diabetics. It helps to normalize blood sugar. 58
  • One of its active compounds, cinnamaldehyde, is highly anti-inflammatory 59 and inhibits the flu.  60
  • Cinnamon hinders cancer cell growth and shows promise as an anti-cancer therapy. 61
  • Cinnamon may prevent Alzheimer’s disease by averting the production of senile plaques. 62

How to Use It: Take 1 tsp daily in a smoothie, elixir or oatmeal.

Thyme

Health Benefits:

  • Thyme breaks up mucous from cough. 63
  • Thyme is naturally anti-microbial 64 and antibacterial.  65
  • Thyme can destroy cancer cells 66and when used in combination with other herbs, it can inhibit colon cancer.  67
  • When combined with olive oil, thyme can improve blood lipid profiles. 68

How to Use It: Steep 1 tbsp of thyme for 10 minutes, covered, then sip. Add it to tomato sauce, home baked breads or infused olive oil.

Corn Silk

Health Benefits:

  • Corn silk is a potent diuretic and can be used to address urinary issues. 69
  • Corn silk inhibits tumor necrosis factor alpha, a protein that causes inflammation. 70
  • Animal studies indicate that corn silk may improve hyperglycemia 71 and reduce weight.  72

How to Use It: Make sure to use dried corn silk. Use as a tea.

For the visual and auditory learners among you, I appeared on Breakfast Television to discuss many of these easy kitchen remedies. You can watch the video below:

These basic home kitchen remedies are easy to incorporate into your everyday diet and you probably already have most of these ingredients on hand. Turn your kitchen into a health lab and start concocting!

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References:

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  2.  Othman, Nor Hayati. “Honey and Cancer: Sustainable Inverse Relationship Particularly for Developing Nations: A Review.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012 (2012): 1-10. Web.
  3. Cooper, Rose A., Ann M. Fehily, Janet E. Pickering, Jorge D. Erusalimsky, and Peter C. Elwood. “Honey, Health and Longevity.” Current Aging Sciencee 3.3 (2010): 239-41. Web.
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  6. Boyanova, Lyudmila, Juliana Ilieva, Galina Gergova, Borislav Vladimirov, Rossen Nikolov, and Ivan Mitov. “Honey and Green/black Tea Consumption May Reduce the Risk of Helicobacter Pylori Infection.” Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 82.1 (2015): 85-86. Web. 
  7. Alleva, Renata, Nicola Manzella, Simona Gaetani, Veronica Ciarapica, Massimo Bracci, Maria Fiorenza Caboni, Federica Pasini, Federica Monaco, Monica Amati, Battista Borghi, and Marco Tomasetti. “Organic Honey Supplementation Reverses Pesticide-induced Genotoxicity by Modulating DNA Damage Response.” Molecular Nutrition & Food Research 60.10 (2016): 2243-255. Web.
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  27. Agero, Anna Liza, and V. Verallo-Rowell. “A Randomized Double-blind Controlled Trial Comparing Extra-virgin Coconut Oil with Mineral Oil as a Moisturizer for Mild to Moderate Xerosis.” Contact Dermatitis 50.3 (2008): 183. Web.
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