NATURES BEAUTY - LILY

Easter is upon us, and no flower is more associated with the celebration of Jesus Christ’s resurrection than the lily. Traditional lore says white lilies emerged where drops of Christ’s sweat fell to the earth in his final hours on the cross. The ancient Greeks believed lilies came from the breast milk of Hera, the queen of the gods. In Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of beauty, was jealous of the flower’s white loveliness. A European legend says if you approach an expectant mother holding a lily….

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NATURES BEAUTY - SQUASH

Is squash a vegetable or a fruit? You would probably call a zucchini squash a vegetable, but you would most likely call a pumpkin a fruit. The definitive answer, from a botanical view, is squash are fruits because they contain the seeds of the plant.  Squash are some of the oldest cultivated crops on earth, believed to have originated in Mexico and Central America more than 10,000 years ago. The word squash comes from the Narragansett Native American word askutasquash, which means…..

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NATURES BEAUTY - CINNAMON

One of the best-loved spices of cooks and food lovers alike is cinnamon. Made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon has been around since the days of ancient Egypt, where it was used to embalm mummies. The tree is native to the Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. Indonesia and China produce three-quarters of the world’s supply of cinnamon today.

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NATURES BEAUTY - EPAZOTE

Medicinally, epazote has been effective as a vermifuge (it can expel intestinal worms, hence the name wormseed). In the form of a medicinal tea made from its leaves and flowers, the plant has long been used to treat intestinal parasites in humans. The compounds found in epazote are said to reduce the gas and bloating many people experience from eating beans and cruciferous vegetables. This is why epazote is often added to soups and other dishes containing beans. Epazote has been purported to reduce respiratory conditions, improve metabolism, protect the immune system, help weight loss efforts, heal wounds and reduce menstrual discomfort, according to one source. Its decoction has been found to have some anti-diabetic properties. But you must be very cautious when you try it (and never use an unknown herb without consulting an expert or your primary care physician): Epazote can be toxic if you ingest too much of it. Pregnant and nursing women and children should avoid large amounts of epazote. Essential oils made with epazote can also be harmful if ingested and are no longer recommended.


In cooking, epazote imparts a rustic layer of flavor to many dishes – tamales, chilis, quesadillas and others. The herb is used in traditional Mexican molé

sauce. Add it to a dish that is get ting close to being done, preferably during the last 10 minutes of cooking. While it’s best to use fresh epazote, the dried form can be used if no fresh herbs are available. Epazote is very easy to grow in your own back yard. Just give it full sunlight, well-draining sandy soil and water and let it take you on a culinary adventure.


Sources:


TANYA TYLER





Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

First things first: The name of this herb is pronounced eh-pah-ZOH-tay. It is commonly used in the cuisine and traditional medicines of Central and South America. According to The Spruce Eats, the epazote plant is a leafy annual or short-lived perennial that can grow as tall as 4 feet. Epazote often grows in empty lots and by roadsides throughout a large part of North and South America and even into Europe and Asia. It is suitable for gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian and paleo diets. Its name, which comes from the language spoken by Mexican Aztecs, means “stinky sweat.” In English, epazote is called goosefoot, skunk weed or wormseed.


Organic Facts says epazote is packed with nutrients and organic compounds the body needs. It contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A and C, as well as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and zinc, which contribute to bone mineral density and may help stave off osteoporosis. Epazote has significant levels of six different B vitamins, particularly folic acid, which is important for proper development and growth. The antioxidant properties of epazote can also neutralize free radicals that cause various types of chronic diseases. Like most other leafy green vegetables, epazote has lots of fiber, which helps improve digestion and the efficiency of the gastrointestinal system. Thus it may reduce constipation, cramping and bloating.