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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Fluids, Rest, Onions and Garlic

Onions, garlic, chives and leeks are part of the 500 plants belonging to the genius Allium. 

These vegetables have long been regarded as food sources but also highly respected as a form of treatment in health care.
The Egyptians regarded the onion as a symbol of the universe because of its sheaves or layers that encircle the bulb. Garlic is the second oldest medicine (after ephedra)and is even in the world's oldest surviving medical text, the Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian medical papyrus dating to circa 1550 BC.

People tend to avoid these vegetables due to their pungent smell and after taste, but their use in treating and preventing illness is definitely worth this little aggravation. To get rid of garlic breath, try chewing some parsley.
Allicin, a sulfur compound found in these foods is responsible for the resulting garlic and onion breath. When we chop the onion or garlic cloves, the resulting chemical reactions create a very pungent smell.

Containing more than 100 sulfur-containing compounds, the chemistry of the onion is very complex.
Used as a traditional remedy for respiratory ailments, it has been found that these sulfur compounds can prevent the biochemical chain of events that lead to asthma and inflammatory reactions. Onions may help to prevent the inflammatory response that can lead to allergies and asthma. Being potent antioxidants, onions are valuable for the prevention and treatment for colds, congestions, coughs, and bronchitis.
If you dread working with onions because of tearing eyes try rinsing the onions after you cut off the ends. What happens is that when you cut into an onion, vapor from the sulfur hits your eye creating sulfuric acid, which is what makes you cry.

Before the Age of Antibiotics with the discovery of penicillin in 1928 by Alexander Fleming, garlic was relied heavily upon for the treatment of infection. The source ingredient in this wonder herb was discovered in the 1920's when researchers at Sandoz Pharmaceuticals in Switzerland isolated alliin. When garlic is chopped or chewed, the alliin comes in contact with a garlic enzyme, allinase, which transforms it into another chemical, allicin, a powerful antibiotic.

According to Dian Dincin Buchman in "Herbal Medicine", if garlic wasn't so cheap we would treasure it as if it were gold. While garlic has only 1 percent of the impact of penicillin, it is more effective with gram negative bacteria than is penicillin. It sweeps through the body in a cleansing fashion without destroying the body's good intestinal flora.

Garlic is safe for children and nursing mothers (unless mom is on a garlic and onion free diet to reduce colic). A great way to get your child to benefit from garlic if he or she refuses to eat it is through an oil to apply topically. Steep three minced cloves in four ounces of olive oil 8 - 12 hours. Rub the oil onto the soles of your child's feet before bedtime and cover with socks. Garlic's healing antiviral properties will be absorbed through the skin and circulate throughout the bloodstream. Keep the bottled oil in the refrigerator. Good for about one year.

Coughs and bronchitis can be relieved with the following homemade cough syrup.  This recipe uses honey so check with your child's physician before using with children under 1 year of age.
Slice an onion into thin slices and place in a small amount of honey.  Let stand for about two hours and you'll have a thick throat-coating syrup even kids can tolerate. Onions attack the germs that bring on the cough as well as help with a sore throat. Take one teaspoon four times a day until the cough is gone.

Below are great therapeutic soups which are not only very tasty, but loaded with the recuperative value of the ingredients.

ONION MISO SOUP
(What is Miso? Amazing nutrition is what it is)

1/2 cup garlic oil or other oil of choice
4 large onions, quartered and cut in half
2 quarts water or stock
3 tbsp miso
1 tbsp Spike seasoning
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 tbsp vegetable bouillon
2 slices whole grain bread cut into 2" squares
1/4 cup parmesan cheese or your choice
1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Saute onions in oil until transparent but not brown. Set aside.
Heat water or stock in a four-quart pot. Add one cup of this stock to the miso and mix well to break up any lumps.
Add this back to the rest of the stock along with the bouillon, cayenne and Spike seasoning.
Add the sauteed onions that had been set aside.
In a frying pan, mix oil, garlic powder, and 2 tbsp of the cheese. Toss in the bread squares and fry for a minute till lightly browned.
Top the soup with these croutons and sprinkle with the rest of the cheese.

SWEET POTATO KALE SOUP

4 oz. fresh kale, coarsely chop, discarding the thick vein from each leaf
1 large onion, chopped
3 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 tsp. olive oil
3 (14 1/2 oz.) cans vegetable broth or your own version of stock
2 (15 oz) cans white kidney or cannellini beans or soak and cook your own beforehand
1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
12 garlic cloves, minced (yes 12, not a mistake!)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Coarsely chop kale and set aside.
In a large saucepan, saute the onion and Italian seasoning in the oil until onion is tender.
Stir in the broth, beans, sweet potatoes and kale. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for 10 minutes.
Stir in the garlic, salt and pepper. Simmer until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 15 minutes.
Yields 2 quarts of soup.

CHICKEN BARLEY SOUP

1 broiler-fryer chicken (2-3 pounds) cut up
2 quarts water
1 1/2 cups diced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1/2 cup barley
1/2 cup chopped onion
1-2 cloves garlic (more if you wish)
1 chicken bouillon cube
1 tsp salt
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp. poultry seasoning
1/2 tsp. pepper
1/2 tsp. dried sage

In a large pot, cook chicken in the water until tender. Cool broth and skim off the fat that will coagulate on the surface.
Bone the chicken and cut into bite-size pieces.
Add the chicken pieces back to the pot of broth along with the rest of the ingredients.
Simmer, covered for at least an hour until vegetables and barley are tender.
Remove the bay leaf before serving
Makes 1 1/2 quarts of soup.

To your good health!