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Saturday, March 8, 2014

March 8th WHMonth KITCHEN HERBOLOGY: FENNEL

TO CELEBRATE WOMEN'S HISTORY MONTH (WHM), during the month of March ~ in addition to my weekly postings ~ I will be making DAILY postings of time tested herbal and medicinal foods used from a Medicine Woman's bag, which holds many, many herbs, generating many, many formulas, as one herb used for a cold (mullein), when combined with totally different herbs, can be used as an antispasmodic for inflammation or as an expectorant to relieve asthma or general lung congestion.


I hope you enjoyed the first week of Women's History Month "Healers Remedies" 
and have made some of  them a part of your home medicine bag. 
Starting this week we will be focusing on 'Kitchen Herbology' 
featuring healing foods and spices from the kitchen. 

Feel free to share the wealth of knowledge with your family and friends ~ and to post comments on your personal experiences with the herbs, foods and
 remedies ~ so we all can expand the tools in our medicine bags!

As the preparers of food, women (and today, many men) hold the power of health as s/he alone can redefine “health care” and the quality of “medicines” s/he opts for the family right from the kitchen. Almost all of our foods, spices and condiments have healing properties.


Because our survival is dependent upon our ingestion of food for physical sustenance, digestion is the single most important function of our living organism (next to air and water). DIGESTION, ASSIMILATION and ELIMINATION are three extremely important and pivotal aspects of health, and a series of foods and spices that assist our bodies in these areas are called carminatives, laxatives, cholagogues, emetics, parasiticides, sialagogues and bitters. The most common are Anise seed, Basil (relieves allergies), Bay leaves, Black Pepper (rids congestion), Caraway, Cardamom, Cayenne (can stop stroke/heart attack), Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Cumin, Fennel (relieves gas), Fenugreek (lung congestion, stomach ulcers), Garlic and Ginger, Marjoram, Mustard Seed, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme, just to name a few.


FENNEL

Fennel is a perennial, pleasant-smelling herb with yellow flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is now found throughout the world.  Dried fennel seeds are often used in cooking as an anise-flavored spice.  Fennel looks much like a large version of its relative, dill. Also like dill, this herb has a score of herbal remedy and culinary uses.
Fennel's medicinal uses include reducing gas discomfort, cramps, bloating and more -- and it can be a useful addition to the diet of those sufferings from stomach problems.

Uses for Fennel

It is recommended for numerous complaints related to excessive gas in the stomach and intestines, including indigestion, cramps, and bloating, as well as for colic in infants and heartburn. Other Apiaceae family members, such as dill and caraway, also are considered carminatives.
As an antispasmodic, fennel acts on the smooth muscle of the respiratory passages as well as the stomach and intestines; this is the reason that fennel preparations are used to relieve bronchial spasms. Since it relaxes bronchial passages, allowing them to open wider, it is sometimes included in asthma, bronchitis, and cough formulas, as well as for backache, bedwetting and visual problems.
Fennel long has been used to promote milk production in nursing mothers, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process and increasing sex drive. And because of its antispasmodic activity, breastfed infants whose mothers drink fennel tea are less likely to suffer from colic than other babies.

Fennel powder is also used as a poultice for snakebites.

 Grilled Fennel with Lemon Oil

Grilled FennelIngredients:

Fennel (~1 lb)
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon olive oil (or 1/2 Meyer lemon juice and zest)
Sea salt
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped

If you are using baby fennel, cut off the green stems and the very bottom of the root (but not so much that the layers have nothing to attach to). Then cut the fennel in half lengthwise, and then again into 4-6 bite-sized wedges.

The goal is to get your fennel into manageable chunks, which means (ideally) all the layers would still be attached at the bottom. It Is easier to get the fennel to cook evenly on the half where the core was still attached. You can remove the core after cooking if it is still tough.

If you are using a large fennel bulb simply trim off the stems, slice off the bottom and cut the bulb in half lengthwise. Cut each half into even-sized wedges, about 0.5 inch thick.

For an outdoor grill, simply brush your fennel wedges with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and grill until soft and tender, turning occasionally.

For a grill pan, heat the pan on medium high heat for 3-5 minutes. Lightly coat fennel in olive oil and sea salt (use a bowl and stir). When the pan is hot, add 1-2 tbsp olive oil and gently swirl it in the pan so it coats the surface. Place fennel in a single layer on the hot grill, lower the heat to medium and cook until translucent, tender and slightly browned, turning occasionally. This should take about 10 minutes.

Your fennel should have grill marks and be caramelized in places. Exercise patience and allowing fennel to become extremely tender, but you can choose your desired crunchiness. Remove the fastest cooking fennel pieces from the grill when they are done and place them in a bowl.

When all the fennel is finished cooking, drizzle it lightly with lemon oil (or juice and zest) and sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley. Adjust salt and zest as necessary.

I found this recipe online: 
http://summertomato.com/grilled-fennel-with-lemon-oil/

Other herbs like uva ursi, parsley root, gentian root, red raspberry leaves, buchu leaves, saw palmetto berries, kelp and bladder wrack all contain chemical ingredients that promote the body’s ability to reduce high blood sugar and supports the body’s fight against diabetes.

Each of these herbs when used with others in effective combinations relieve dis-ease and restores balance to our organs. Most of the illnesses and dis-eases we experience are a direct result of the types of foods we eat.