Food as Medicine Update: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)

Pumpkins (Cucurbita pepo) are an economically important fruit native to Central America and belong to the Cucurbitaceae family. This family consists of approximately 1,000 species of which 23 are cultivated in warm and temperate climates worldwide.1,2 In addition to pumpkins, other familiar cucurbits (species in Cucurbitaceae) include squashes, melons, and gourds.3,4 Cucurbita pepo as a species includes many … Continue reading Food as Medicine Update: Pumpkin (Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbitaceae)

Birch-based Topical Product to Treat Partial-thickness Skin Wounds Approved as a Drug in Europe

Episalvan (Amryt AG; Niefern-Öschelbronn, Germany) is a topical gel containing dry extract of bark from either of two species of birch trees (Betula pendula and B. pubescens, Betulaceae) and/or their hybrids. The birch bark extract is rich in triterpenes, containing about 80% betulin. In 2016, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved Episalvan as a prescription drug to … Continue reading Birch-based Topical Product to Treat Partial-thickness Skin Wounds Approved as a Drug in Europe

Antileishmanial Herbs from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Leishmaniasis is caused by parasitical protozoans of the genus Leishmania. Fourteen Leishmania spp. infect vertebrates, including humans and other mammals. Invertebrates, all called sand flies, are their natural vectors; Lutzomyia spp. in the Western Hemisphere; Phlebotomus spp., in the Eastern. Leishmaniasis is endemic in 98 countries, 1.2 million new cases occur yearly; 90% of them among poor and marginalized groups in Brazil, … Continue reading Antileishmanial Herbs from Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

LEGAL ALERT: FDA sends warns 15 companies for allegedly selling CBD products that violate the FD&C Act (FDA)

FDA sent warning letters to 15 companies for allegedly selling products containing cannabidiol (CBD) in ways that violate the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act). In a press release, the FDA stated that based on the lack of scientific information supporting the safety of CBD in food, it cannot conclude that CBD is … Continue reading LEGAL ALERT: FDA sends warns 15 companies for allegedly selling CBD products that violate the FD&C Act (FDA)

The Herbs and Spices of Thanksgiving!

Without the herbs and spices, we associate with our traditional Thanksgiving spread the food would be rather dull.  What would the turkey be without incorporating sage (Salvia officinalis) in our stuffing?  Cinnamon is a must-have for apple pie.  For pumpkin pie, we need cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. And I’d rather not drink my eggnog without a dash of freshly ground nutmeg. Many of us use the familiar Old Bay Poultry seasoning and often, along with sage, this herb and spice mix also includes nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and black pepper.

Kate Erd, manager of the Spice House on Old World 3rd Street in Milwaukee explains that “Herbs are the leafy part of the plant, like sage leaves, rosemary needles, and parsley.” “Spices are the hard part of the plant, so it’s the bark or the seed or the root. For example, cinnamon is bark, nutmeg is a seed, and ginger is a rhizome. Spices only grow about 15 degrees above and below the equator, where herbs, on the other hand, can be grown anywhere.” Erd says. “We grow them here in the Northern Hemisphere. There are some exceptions,” she adds. “Coriander and dill seed are spices from plants that are grown as herbs — cilantro in the case of coriander.”

Often, “pumpkin pie spice contains cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, mace, cloves, and allspice, and sometimes buds from the cassia tree from which cinnamon is produced.”

Below are three Thanksgiving recipes that I’ve made for years, which have now become a tradition in my family. And here is a great site with wonderful recipes to try as well.  https://theherbalacademy.com/12-herbal-thanksgiving-dinner-recipes/

Creamed Onions with White Wine and Herbs

  • 2 pounds small white boiling onions, peeled (you can use frozen– much easier!)
  • 1 (750 milliliters) bottle decent Chardonnay wine
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

Place onions in a 2-quart pot. Pour enough wine to cover half of the onions. Add the bay leaf, thyme, and salt. Simmer and stir for 25 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the butter. Remove bay leaf and serve.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Cranberry Chutney

Makes about 4 ½ cups (Note–Makes the whole house smell wonderful– it’s a joy to make)

  • 2 oranges
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries, washed
  • 6 ounces dried cranberries
  • 8 ounces dried cherries
  • 3 or 4 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 good sized garlic cloves, minced well
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
  • ¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup apple cider

Remove the zest of the oranges (a vegetable peeler works very well!) Cut the zest into fine julienne, and set aside a small amount to use later for garnish. Juice the oranges. Using a large non-reactive pot, combine all ingredients (except a few reserved orange juliennes) and give a good stir. Simmer the mixture for 25- 30 minutes over a medium /low heat, stirring occasionally, until all the liquid is evaporated and the chutney is thickened. You can garnish the finished chutney with the cinnamon sticks and reserved zest. Cool well before storing it. I have found this freezes quite well in small batches.

Adapted from The Martha Stewart Cookbook : Collected Recipes for Every Day

 

Lemon – Ginger Cheesecake

12 TO 14 SERVINGS

CRUST

  • 2 cups finely ground gingersnap cookies (about 9 ounces)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

FILLING

  • 4 8-ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped crystallized ginger
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 4 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • Lemon slices (for garnish)

FOR CRUST: Preheat oven to 325°F. Generously butter a 10-inch-diameter springform pan with 2 and  3/4-inch-high sides. Double-wrap outside of pan with heavy-duty foil. Blend ground cookies, sugar, and ginger in a food processor. Add melted butter and process until moist crumbs form. Press mixture onto bottom and 1/2 inch up sides of prepared pan. Bake until crust sets, about 10 minutes. Cool. Maintain oven temperature.

FOR FlLLING: Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy. Beat in sugar, scraping down sides of bowl occasionally. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in sour cream and whipping cream, then crystallized ginger, fresh ginger, lemon juice, and lemon peel. Pour filling into crust. Place springform pan in a large roasting pan. Pour enough boiling water into roasting pan to come one inch up sides of the springform pan. Bake cheesecake until filling is set and golden brown on top (cake will rise slightly above the edge of pan), about 1 hour 25 minutes. Turn off the oven and prop open the oven door with a wooden spoon. Let cake stand in the oven one hour (cake will fall).

Remove the springform pan from the water bath. Remove foil and cool cheesecake completely on rack. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (Can be prepared ahead and refrigerated four days or frozen up to two months.) Defrost frozen cake overnight in the refrigerator.) Release pan sides from cheesecake. Transfer cheesecake to platter. Arrange lemon slices decoratively around the cake and serve.

TEST KITCHEN TIP: Use a processor to grind the gingersnap cookies finely for the crust. Adapted from Epicurious


 Susan Leigh Anthony is a longtime member of the New England Unit of HSA. She runs a garden design business named Doveflower Cottage and is a perennial buyer and expert at Kennedy’s Country Gardens in Scituate, MA.

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Susan Leigh AnthonyHappy Thanksgiving

If we are lucky enough, most, if not all, of us have sat down to an annual Thanksgiving feast with our loved ones in late November.  The house is filled with familiar aromas of the season that evoke a sense of warmth, coziness, and well-being. It is the ultimate comfort food meal!

Without the herbs and spices we associate with our traditional Thanksgiving spread the food would be rather dull.  What would the turkey be without incorporating sage (Salvia officinalis) in our stuffing?  Cinnamon is a must-have for apple pie.  For pumpkin pie we need cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. And I’d rather not drink my eggnog without a dash of freshly ground nutmeg. Many of us use the familiar Old Bay Poultry seasoning and often, along with sage, this herb and spice mix also includes nutmeg, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and black pepper.

Kate Erd, manager…

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HerbalGram Special Sustainability and Conservation Issue Highlights Threat of Climate Crisis on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

AUSTIN, Texas (November 25, 2019) — Rapidly warming temperatures, fluctuating precipitation patterns, and changing landscapes are having measurable negative effects on global flora, including medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs). These impacts are described in the extensive cover article of issue 124 of HerbalGram, the quarterly, peer-reviewed scientific journal of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC). This latest issue … Continue reading HerbalGram Special Sustainability and Conservation Issue Highlights Threat of Climate Crisis on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Sage: The Herb of Thanksgiving

The majority of recipes that we find for stuffing (cooked inside the turkey or other fowl) or dressing (generally cooked separately in a baking dish in the oven), use fresh or dried sage leaves for flavoring, whether the ingredients include sausage, oysters, mushrooms, nuts, dried fruit, traditional white breadcrumbs or cornbread. Besides its traditional uses … Continue reading Sage: The Herb of Thanksgiving

Webinar: Roadmap to Climate Action & Collaboration in the Herbal & Supplements Industry

Wednesday, December 11 10 AM PT // 11 AM MT // 12 PM CT // 1 PM ET Register here This December, The Climate Collaborative, AHPA, and ABC's Sustainable Herbs Program are partnering to host a special introductory webinar for herbal and supplement companies on how you can join in creating a collaborative industry pathway … Continue reading Webinar: Roadmap to Climate Action & Collaboration in the Herbal & Supplements Industry

Nutmeg – The Rest of the Story

The Herb Society of America Blog

By Maryann Readal

November2019 HOM Nutmeg

Nutmeg is that spice we use in pumpkin and apple pie and sprinkle on our lattes and eggnog during the holidays.  It is also the spice that we use in béchamel and alfredo sauces and is an ingredient in garam masala and curry.  Its medicinal uses include treatment for diarrhea and gas and a topical treatment for pain. In the mid 1300’s it was thought to combat the Black Death. Eaten in very large doses, nutmeg can cause severe hallucinations which have an unpleasant after effect compared to a two-day hangover. Not to worry, culinary doses of nutmeg are very far from the doses needed to achieve unpleasant results.

The Herb Society of America’s Herb of the Month for November is nutmeg. Nutmeg is made from the seed of the nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans. The outer lace-like covering of the nutmeg seed is dried and ground…

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How To Make An Herbal Liniment For Pain

What is a liniment? A liniment is an herbal remedy that is used topically to help alleviate pain in sore muscles and soft tissues.  It’s usually made with either rubbing alcohol or witch hazel, so the herbs can be easily and quickly absorbed into the skin.   Oils can also be used, but they don’t have the … Continue reading How To Make An Herbal Liniment For Pain