Ingredient Profile: Cinnamon

A Cinnamon BundleCinnamon comes from the inner bark of evergreen trees native to Sri Lanka, southwest India, and Asia. After it is peeled away from the tree this, this brown bark curls up into tubes called “quills” as it dries.

In addition to its use as a spice, cinnamon or its oil is used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical, personal health, and cosmetic products. It is also often used as incense.

Cinnamon is available either as cinnamon sticks (whole quills) or as a ground up powder.

Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon Cinnamon), and Cinnamomum amoraticum (Chinese cinnamon) are the most popular of the more than two hundred varieties of cinnamon. Many consider Ceylon cinnamon to be “true cinnamon,” while the Chinese variety is known as “cassia.”

While both are relatively similar in characteristics, featuring an aromatic, sweet, and warming nature, the flavor of the Ceylon variety is more refined and subtle.

In North America cassia is more popular, probably due to its cheaper price, whereas Ceylon cinnamon is less commonly found and used.

History

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicinal herb, but also as an embalming agent. At one point in ancient history, cinnamon was so highly treasured it was considered more precious than gold.

Cinnamon SticksCinnamon also received much attention in ancient China, which is reflected in its mention in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, a reference which dates to around 2700 B.C.E.

It is also mentioned in the Bible, and reportedly, Nero, the emperor of Rome in the first century C.E., burned a year’s supply of cinnamon in his wife’s funeral pyre as an extravagant gesture meant to signify the depth of his loss.

As the popularity of cinnamon continued to flourish, it became one of the most utilized spices in Medieval Europe. During the Middle Ages most meals were prepared in a single cauldron; casseroles containing both meat and fruit were common, and cinnamon helped bridge the flavors. Mince pie is a traditional food from this period that still survives today.

Due to its great demand during the late Middle Ages, cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between Europe and the Near East. The demand for cinnamon was enough to launch a number of explorer’s enterprises, especially explorations by the Dutch and Portuguese.

In modern times, cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, while Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil, and the Caribbean.

Health Benefits

Cinnamon has a long history of use in both Eastern and Western cultures as a medicine. Some of its reported uses are in cases of arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, and spastic muscles.

There are scientific studies to support some of these uses. Some of the confirmed effects of cinnamon are as a sedative for smooth muscle, circulatory stimulant, carminative, digestant, anticonvulsant, diaphoretic, diuretic, antibiotic, and antiulcerative.

Cinnamon SticksOne recent investigation of sixty people with type 2 diabetes demonstrated that 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon taken daily for forty days reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 7 to 27 percent, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent. In contrast there were no clear changes for the subjects who did not take cinnamon.

Cinnamon’s unique abilities come from three basic components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamylacetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

Cinnamon is often used in multicomponent Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been studied for clinical effects. For example, cinnamon combined with Chinese thoroughwax (Bupleurum falcatum) and Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora) was shown to produce satisfactory results in the treatment of epilepsy. Out of 433 patients treated (most of whom were unresponsive to anticonvulsant drugs), 115 were cured and and another 79 improved greatly.Improvements were noted not only by clinical symptoms, but also by improvements in brain wave patterns.

Other clinical studies have shown cinnamon-containing formulas to be useful in cases of the common cold, influenza, and frostbite. However it is not really known to what degree the improvements noted are actually due to the cinnamon versus the other components.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Powdered CinnamonGender: Masculine
Planet: Sun
Element: Fire
Influences: Spirituality, Success, Healing, Power, Psychic Powers, Lust, Protection, Love

When cinnamon is burned it raises the spiritual vibrations of the area where it is smouldering. This energy can be used in all manners of spells, healing work, or even just meditation and prayer.

To draw money to you sprinkle some powdered cinnamon inside your wallet, and to help a business do well place some cinnamon powder under the doormat after asking it to bring customers.

In matters of love and passion, cinnamon can be used to heat up a romance or to attract lovers. It can also raise psychic awareness, especially if burned with sandalwood.

Sprinkle in the corners of your home if you seek energetic protection.

Cinnamon’s lovely taste also makes this a great inclusion when using food magic. Simply ingest the food you prepared after asking the cinnamon to bestow upon you the attribute you desire.

How to Select and Store

Homemade Cinnamon PowderCinnamon is available in either stick or powder form, though most recipes call for the ground powder. You can grind cinnamon sticks into powder on your own if you have a spice grinder; otherwise it is quite difficult. Just as with other dried spices, choose organically grown cinnamon when possible, since organic spices are are much less likely to have been irradiated.

Remember if you want a, sweeter, more refined taste, choose the Ceylon variety. Fortunately it is becoming more widely available.

Ground cinnamon as well as sticks should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months, while whole sticks may stay fresh for as long as a year. The best judge of freshness is your nose.

Tips for Use

Cinnamon is vital to Indian, Moroccan, Indonesian, Middle Eastern, Greek, Chinese, and many other cuisines. It is an extremely versatile spice that compliments a wide variety of foods and other spices. Cinnamon works well with pultry, in curries, and with fruit, particularly apples and pears.

*Safety*

Cinnamon contains moderate amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over-consumption of this food.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 261
Carbohydrates: 79.85 g
Fat: 3.19 g
Protein: 3.89 g
Fiber: 54.3 g
Water: 9.52 g
Stearic Acid: 0.005 g
Oleic Acid: 0.45 g

Linoleic Acid: 0.53 g
Linolenic Acid: 0 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.48 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.53 g
Saturated Fat: 0.65 g
Calcium: 1228 mg
Copper: 0.233 mg
Iron: 38.07 mg

Magnesium: 56 mg
Manganese: 16.667 mg
Phosphorous: 61 mg
Potassium: 500 mg
Selenium: 1.1 mg
Sodium: 26 mg
Zinc: 1.97 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 1.3 mg
Pantothenic Acid:0 mg
Riboflavin: 0.14 mg

Thiamine: 0.077 mg
Vitamin A: 260 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.31 mg
Vitamin C: 28.5 mg
Vitamin E:0.01 mg
Vitamin K: 0 mg

Recipes which Include Cinnamon:

Spiced Hot Chocolate

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

With Additional Information from:

The Complete Illustrated Encyclopedia of Magical Plants by Susan Gregg

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by John Lust

Pictures pulled from Google.com

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Ingredient Profile: Pine Nuts

Pignoli inside their ShellsPine nuts, also called pignoli, piñons, and Indian nuts, depending on the variety, are the seeds of various species of pine trees. Of the more than one hundred pine tree species around the world, about a dozen in the Northern Hemisphere yield desirable seeds, the three most prevalent being the Pinus pinea (Mediterranean stone pine), Pinus cembroides (Mexican nut pine), and Pinus edulis (piñon pine of the south-western United States).

Pine species that produce edible nuts grow in northern Mexico, the south-western United States, Europe, Asia, North Africa, and South America. Their seeds range in size from the 1/2-inch seeds found in Mexican, American, and European pines to the giant 2-inch seeds of the nut pines in South America.

A single pine cone may contain a hundred seeds, but they are lodged securely within the cone, which must be heated to open the scales and loosen the nuts, enabling their removal. After the nuts have been shaken free, the hull protecting each individual nut must be cracked open. This intensive two-step process is the primary reason for their high price tag.

Shelled PignoliIf you’ve already tried pine nuts, you’ve most likely eaten the seeds of the Mediterranean stone pine, Pinus Pinea, a tree found from Portugal to Italy to Lebanon that provides the most widely available nut. Shaped like a torpedo, these soft, ivory-colored, 1/2-inch pignoli have a light, delicate flavor with a piney, resinous undertone.

Piñons are similar to pignoli  in taste and appearance, but the Chinese pine nut, which is shaped like a squat triangle, has a pungent pine flavor so intense it can overpower some dishes.

 Pignoli are a ubiquitous ingredient in the cuisines of the Mediterranean, Middle East, and North Africa, where they are eaten by the handful as snacks and used in a wide variety of recipes, including classic Italian pesto. Piñons have also enhanced the traditional dishes of Mexico and Native Americans living in the south-western United States for many centuries.

History

Not surprisingly, all cultures where nut-bearing species of pines grow have valued their edible seeds since time immemorial. It is thought that the pine nuts from the North American piñon tree were eaten as a staple food some 10,000 years ago, and species are also to be found in Korea, China, Turkey, Pakistan, and Afghanistan, where they have been a traditional food of nomadic tribes.

Piñons were so important a food for Native Americans throughout the region that they were called Indian nuts and are still harvested in quantity by Native Americans, both for food and for trading.

Piñon in Shells

In the 1500s, Spanish chroniclers traveling among the Hopi and Navajo nations recorded pine nuts being eaten whole, ground for flour and baked, pounded into a buttery paste, used in soup, and either boiled or roasted to make a nourishing porridge. The seeds were cached against long winters, serving as the mainstay of the Native American’s diet when weather conditions prevented hunting for fresh meat.

Despite this description of use in America, pine nuts are most often associated with the Mediterranean region, in particular Italy, where they have been used as a n ingredient for well over 2,000 years. Evidence found in the ruins of Pompeii, an Italian town destroyed when the volcano Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 C.E., show that pine nuts were widely used at that time.

Some research indicates that the species now grown in Europe, Pinus pinea, originated in the Near East and that it was humans who gradually spread it throughout the Mediterranean.

Valued by ancient Greeks and Romans as an aphrodisiac, pine nuts are still a favorite ingredient in Italian cuisine.

Pignoli are also used in a variety of French meat dishes, in crudités (raw vegetable salads), and in pastries and baked goods such as macaroons.

Pignoli in an Open ConeIn Greece and Turkey pine nuts, often along with currants, are an integral ingredient in a number of pilaf rice dishes.

In North Africa, pine nuts are common ingredients in confections; in Tunisia, they are often added to mint tea, the regions ubiquitous equivalent of the American cup of coffee.

In India, where they are called chilgoza, pine nuts garnish rice dishes and add their sweet richness to desserts, puddings, sauces, and sweetmeats.

Finally in Korea they are used in a sustaining breakfast porridge, ginger tea, and confections.

Although 3,000 or more metric tons of pine nuts are produced annually in Mexico and the south-eastern United States, little of this crop enters the nut trade. The majority of pine nuts commercially available in the United states are imported from Italy and Spain, the world’s top producers.

Nutritional Highlights

European pine nuts, or pignoli, which deliver 24 grams of protein per 3.5 ounces (100 grams), contain more protein than any other nut or seed. An ounce of pignoli contains more protein (6.8 grams) and less fat (14 grams), fiber (1.3 grams), and carbohydrate (4 grams) than their American cousins, piñons, which provide 3.3 grams of protein, 17 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber, and 5.5 grams of carbohydrate. The fat provided by both types of nuts is about 50 percent monounsaturated, 40 percent polyunsaturated, and 10 percent saturated.

Shelled PiñonsPignoli supply160 calories per ounce, while the same amount of piñons provides 178 calories. Per ounce, piñons contain more vitamin B1 (32 percent the recommended daily intake compared to 21 percent of the recommended daily intake of pignoli, although both nuts qualify as an excellent source), while pignoli contain more iron (14 percent of the recommended daily intake compared to the 5 percent in piñons, which makes pignoli an excellent  and piñons a good source of the mineral.)

Both types of nuts provide comparable amounts of other vitamins and minerals. Both are an excellent source of vitamins B1 and B3, manganese, copper, magnesium, molybdenum, and zinc as well as being good sources of vitamin B2, E and potassium.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of pine nuts are similar to those of other nuts that provide a high content of monounsaturated fat and arginine. In addition both types of pine nuts deliver a hefty dose of magnesium and potassium, two minerals whose combined effects produce a strong, healthy heartbeat, lowered blood pressure, and improved blood flow.

Taken altogether, pine nut’s arginine, monounsaturated fat, magnesium, and potassium content provide powerful effects for counteracting heart disease.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Piñon in an Open ConeGender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Air
Influences: Fertility, Abundance

Pine cones containing seeds are carried throughout Europe to increase fertility and to retain your youth in old age. The seeds also make wonderful offerings to fairies, rumored to live and play inside pine trees; slain-god figures, whose immortality is reflected by the evergreen nature of pine trees; and to nature spirits in general.

To inspire abundance or fertility include them in altar arrangements and ceremonies. They can also be ingested to help bring these properties into your life, simply ask them to do so as you include them in dishes or as you snack on them whole.

How to Select and Store

Pignoli are widely available and are sold already shelled. Piñons are most likely to be available in the southwestern United States, where they are sold, already shelled, in the produce section of grocery stores and natural food markets. They can also be found still inside their shells by wild-harvesters on the side of busy roads, or at markets in the same area.

Asian markets are the best place to find Chinese pine nuts.

Chinese Pine Nuts in their ShellBecause of their high fat content, all varieties of pine nuts are extremely susceptible to rancidity. Purchase pine nuts that are packaged in an airtight container. Be sure to check the sell-by date on the package to ensure freshness.

Store all pine nuts in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to three months, or an airtight ziplock bag in the freezer, where they will keep for up to nine months.

Tips for Preparing

Toasting shelled pine nuts will intensify their flavor and takes just 2-3 minutes in a dry skillet over medium heat or 6-8 minutes spread out on a cookie sheet in an oven preheated to 350 degrees F.

Roasted PiñonsAlternatively, rinse the pine nuts in cold water, drain, sprinkle with salt, put in a covered roasting pan, and steam at 250-275 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. Remove the cover and stir until completely dry.

To roast piñons inside their shells wash them thoroughly, spread out in a single layer on a cookie sheet while still wet, salt if desired then place into a preheated oven at 325 degrees F. Check them after 10 minutes by pulling one from the pan, cracking it and tasting it. If it still tastes raw they are not finished; also pay attention to the color of the meat inside the shell. When they become a light butterscotch color remove them immediately and cool thoroughly and evenly. Piñons can burn easily, so check them often as they roast.

*Safety*

There are significant safety issues with nut and seed consumption. As a general rule, nuts are among the foods more commonly associated with allergic reactions. Nut allergies also tend to be severe with a range of symptoms. Use caution when introducing nuts to children, or when trying new types of nuts yourself.

Pinus Pinea ConesA less serious safety issue with most nuts and seeds is they provide a high ratio arginine to lysine. While arginine does provide significant health benefits, a high arginine-to-lysine ratio is best avoided by people susceptible to cold sores or herpes infections, as arginine promotes, while lysine prevents, the activation of the virus.

Asthma-like symptoms have also been observed after consumption of pine nuts. Individuals living near a pine forest, who are therefore exposed and possible sensitized to pine tree pollen, may be more at risk to allergies involving pine nuts. Also, common antigenic (allergy-provoking) proteins have been identified in pine nuts and peanuts, so individuals with a peanut allergy may want to avoid pine nuts.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 566
Carbohydrates: 14.22 g
Fat: 50.7 g
Protein: 24 g
Fiber: 4.5 g
Water: 6.69 g
Stearic Acid: 1.672 g
Oleic Acid: 17.9 g

Linoleic Acid: 20.689 g
Linolenic Acid: 0.654 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 19.076 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 21.343 g
Saturated Fat: 7.797 g
Calcium: 26 mg
Copper: 1.026 mg
Iron: 9.2 mg

Magnesium: 233 mg
Manganese: 4.298 mg
Phosphorous: 508 mg
Potassium: 599 mg
Selenium: 16.6 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Zinc: 4.25 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 3.57 mg
Pantothenic Acid: 0.208 mg
Riboflavin: 0.19 mg

Thiamine: 0.81 mg
Vitamin A: 29 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.11 mg
Vitamin C: 1.9 mg
Vitamin E: 3.5 mg
Vitamin K: 0 mg

Recipes which Include Pine Nuts:

Ginger Tea (생강차 [Saenggangcha])

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

With Additional Information from:

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by John Lust

Pictures pulled from Google.com

Ingredient Profile: Honey

Honey Honey can be found in its standard amber state but may also be red, brown, and even nearly black. Made by bees in an elegant natural process, honey is designed for the bees’ nourishment. Incredibly, each bee makes on average about only 1/12 of a teaspoon of honey in its entire lifetime.

Considering the tons of honey produced each year, that is a lot of bees at work!

The honeybee (Latin name Apis)  first travels several miles to collect nectar from local flowers into their mouths. Enzymes in the bee saliva then create a chemical reaction that turns this nectar into honey, which is deposited into the walls of the hive. Incredibly rapid movement of their wings aerates the honey, which decreases its water content and makes it ready to eat.

Textures and flavor are dependent on which flowers the honeybees choose. Typical choices include heather, alfalfa, clover, and the acacia flower. Less common but well-known flowers that confer their own special taste characteristics on the honey include thyme and lavender.

History

Referred to in ancient Sumerian, Vedic, Egyptian, and biblical writings, honey has been employed since ancient times for both nutrition and healing medicine. For centuries honey has been a multipurpose food, used to give homage to the Gods and to help embalm the dead, as well as for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.

Honey BeeSome evidence suggests that despite the risk of bee sting, collection of honey has occurred since 7,000 B.C.E., and at least 700 B.C.E., beekeeping for the production of honey (apiculture) has been used. To the surprise of the Spanish conquistadors, the natives of Central and South America were already keeping bees for the purpose of collecting honey when they arrived.

Honey was considered a food of the rich for many years. More recently, honey has decreased in popularity as refined sugar, which is cheaper and sweeter, has replaced the sweet viscous liquid in common households all over the world.

Nutritional Highlights

Honey is a source of riboflavin and vitamin B6. It also provides iron and manganese. A 3 1/2-ounce (100 gram) serving of honey provides 304 calories, mostly as 82.4 grams of carbohydrate, almost all of which is sugar, 0.3 gram of protein, and 0 gram of fat. However, honey is more likely to be consumed by the tablespoon (15 grams), which provides 64 calories, 17.3 grams of carbohydrate, and 0.1 gram of protein.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of a particular honey depend on its processing as well as the quality of the flowers the bees utilize when collecting the pollen. Raw honey is honey that has not been pasteurized, clarified, or filtered, and this form typically retains more of the healthful phytochemicals lost to the standard processing of honey.

Fresh Honey with Honeycombspices and fruitsHoney, particularly darker honey, such as buckwheat honey, is a rich source of phenolic compounds such as flavonoids, that exert significant antioxidant activities. A recent human trial showed that daily consumption of honey actually improves blood antioxidant levels and helps prevent lipid peroxidation.

Lipid peroxidation, the damaging of lipids (such as cholesterol) by free radicals is central to the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Honey’s ability to prevent this may translate into a protective effect against atherosclerosis, since oxidized cholesterol is a well-known risk factor for this cardiovascular disease.

Honey is an excellent source of readily available carbohydrate, a chief source of quick energy. In the time of the ancient Olympics, athletes were reported to eat special foods, such as honey and dried figs, to enhance their sports performance.

Recently a study involved a group of thirty-nine weight trained athletes, both male and female. Subjects underwent an intense weight-lifting workout and then immediately consumed a protein supplement blended with sugar, maltodextrin, or honey as the carbohydrate source.

The honey group maintained optimal blood sugar levels throughout the two hours following the workout. In addition, muscle recuperation and glycogen restoration (carbohydrates stored in muscle) was favorable in those individuals consuming the honey-protein combination. Honey appears to be a suitable source of carbohydrate that can help athletes perform at their best, and helps aid in muscle recovery.

Thick, Delicious HoneyThe wound-healing properties of honey may be its most promising medicinal quality. Honey has been used topically as an antiseptic therapeutic agent for the treatment of ulcers, burns, and wounds for centuries.

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain the wound-healing benefits that are observed when honey is applied topically. Because honey is composed mainly of glucose and fructose, two sugars that strongly attract water, honey absorbs water in the wound, drying it out so the growth of bacteria and fungi is inhibited. Secondly, raw honey contains an enzyme called glucose oxidase that, when combined with water, produces hydrogen peroxide, a mild antiseptic.

In addition to the glucose oxidase enzyme found in honey,  which may help in the healing process, honey also contains antioxidants and flavonoids that may function as antibacterial agents. One antioxidant in particular, pinocembrin, which is unique to honey, is being studied for its antibacterial properties.

Darker honeys, specifically honey from buckwheat flowers, sage, and tupelo, contain a greater amount of antioxidants than other honeys, and raw, unprocessed honey contains the widest variety of health-supported substances.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Honey is readily imbued with energy of all sorts. This makes it a great carrier when an individual wishes to ingest a certain type of energy. It is especially helpful in cases of sickness where the honey being added to the tea can be charged with healing energy.

It is also a favorite offering of many Gods and Goddesses. If you do not know which kinds of offerings a certain deity or spirit likes, honey is a good go to. Deities and spirits of nature especially tend to enjoy this sweet gift.

When used in cooking magic it is used to represent the sweet things in life, and happiness. These properties make it perfect to add into dishes you are serving your loved ones if there have been quarrels lately. Simply ask the honey to bring happiness to all those who ingest it as you mix it into your recipe.

How to Select and Store

Honey is usually found pasteurized, although the more health-conscious consumers can find the raw versions as well. Pasteurized honey is usually translucent; honeys that are “creamy” are usually produced by mixing crystallized honey into the liquid honey mixture.

Rich Buckwheat HoneyDarker honey is usually of a stronger flavor. flavors may also depend on the flower nectars from which the honey is produced, so it is fun to try honey made from various sources. The author’s personal favorite is a honey made from orange blossom nectar. It is very sweet and floral.

High sugar and acid content helps this liquid remain quite fresh for long periods of time. Honey does easily absorb moisture from air, and honey stored in an airtight container will keep almost indefinitely. Since cold promotes viscosity and changes honey’s flavor, it is best to not store it under cold conditions.

Tips for Preparing and Using

Honey may crystallize, but you can easily remedy this by heating the jar in hot water for fifteen to twenty minutes. Honey heated in the microwave might have an altered taste, as its hydroxymethylfurfural content can change through exposure to microwave radiation.

It can replace sugar, where 1/2 to 1/4 cup honey is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar. Honey is a bit sweeter, so you can use less. In addition since honey adds liquid to your recipe, remember to decrease the liquid by a quarter cup for each cup of honey used. Finally since honey browns well, reducing baking temperatures by 25 degrees F. will avoid over-browning.

*Safety*

Because honey can contain spores of Clostridium botulinum -the causative agent of botulism, an infection in infants- children less than 12 months old should not be fed honey. Honey is safe however for individuals over a year old due to their more mature digestive systems.

Honey Bee Collecting NectarAllergic reaction is the most common side effect from bee products. If you know you are allergic to honey, bee pollen, or conifer and poplar trees, do not use bee products. Reactions can range from very mild such as mild gastrointestinal upset, to much more severe reactions, including asthma, anaphylaxis (shock), intestinal bleeding, and even death in people who are extremely allergic to bee products.

Honey contains small amounts of oxalates. Individuals with a history of calcium oxalate-containing kidney stones should limit their consumption of this food.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 304
Carbohydrates: 82.4 g
Fat: 0 g
Protein: 0.3 g
Fiber: 0.2 g
Water: 17.1 g
Stearic Acid: 0.002 g
Oleic Acid: 0 g
Linoleic Acid: 0 g

Linolenic Acid: 0 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g
Saturated Fat: 0 g
Calcium: 6 mg
Copper: 0.036 mg
Iron: 0.42 mg
Magnesium: 2 mg
Manganese: 0.08 mg
Phosphorous: 4 mg
Potassium: 52 mg

Selenium: 0.8 mg
Sodium: 4 mg
Zinc: 0.22 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 0.121 mg
Pantothenic Acid: 0.068 mg
Riboflavin: 0.038 mg
Thiamine: 0 mg
Vitamin A: 0 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.024 mg
Vitamin C: 0.5 mg
Vitamin E: 0 mg
Vitamin K: 0.02 mg

Recipes which Include Honey:

Ginger Tea (생강차 [Saenggangcha])

Ginseng Jujube Tea (인삼대추차 [Insaengdaechucha])

Steamed Korean Pear (배숙 [Baesuk])

Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Honey Lemon Slices

Black Sesame Smoothie

Witches’ Love Honey

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

Pictures pulled from Google.com

Ingredient Profile: Ginger

Sliced Ginger RootGinger is an erect perennial herb that has thick tuberous rhizomes (underground stems and roots). It’s botanical name Zingiber officinale, is likely derived from its Sanskrit name, singabera, meaning “horn-shaped.”

The rhizome is branched with small “arms” usually two inches in circumference. A piece of the rhizome is often called a “hand.” It has a pale yellow interior and a skin varying in color from brown to off-white.

Jamaican ginger, which is a pale buff, is regarded as the best variety. African and Indian ginger is darker-skinned and generally inferior, with the exception of Kenya ginger, and its flesh can be yellow, red or white in color, depending on the variety.

The brown skin may be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young, respectively.

Ginger rhizome has a firm yet striated texture and boasts a taste that is fragrant, pungent, and hot. Interestingly, according to Chinese tradition, dried ginger tends to be hotter energetically than its fresh counterpart.

Ginger is available in various forms:

  • Whole fresh roots. These provide the freshest taste. The roots are collected and shipped when they are still immature; the outer skin is a light green color.
  • Dried roots. These are sold either “black” with the root skin left on, or “white” with the skin peeled off. The dried root is available whole or sliced.
  • Powdered ginger. This is the buff-colored ground spice made from dried root.
  • Preserved or “stem” ginger. This is made from fresh young roots, peeled and sliced, then cooked in a heavy sugar syrup. The ginger pieces and syrup are canned together. They are soft and pulpy but extremely hot and spicy.
  • Crystallized ginger. This is also cooked in sugar syrup, then air dried and rolled in sugar.
  • Pickled ginger. The root is sliced paper thin and pickled in a vinegar solution. This pickle, known in Japan as がり (gari) often accompanies sushi to refresh the palate between courses.
  • Pureed ginger. The root is pureed finely then packed into tubes. This method makes it easy to get exact measurements of ginger with little to no waste, but grating the ginger yourself offers a much fresher product.

History

Ginger is native to southeastern Asia, India, and China, where it has been a very liberal component of the diet. Ginger is found found in ancient Chinese, Indian, and Middle Eastern literature and has long been valued for its aromatic, culinary and medicinal properties. Ginger has also been important in Chinese medicine for many centuries and  is mentioned in the writings of Confucius.

Ginger FlowersThe ancient Romans first imported ginger from China almost 2,000 years ago. From that time its popularity in Europe remained focused in the Mediterranean region until the ninth century. Because ginger had to be imported from Asia, it remained a relatively expensive  spice. Nevertheless, it was still in great demand.

As a result, Spanish explorers introduced ginger into the West Indies, Mexico, and South America in an effort to increase its availability.

By the sixteenth century, these areas began exporting the precious herb back to Europe. Subsequently  it became so popular in Europe that it was included in every table setting, like salt and pepper. A common article of medieval and Renaissance trade, it was one of the spices used against the plague.

In English pubs and taverns in the nineteenth century, barkeepers used to put out small containers of ground ginger for people to sprinkle in their beer -the origins or ginger ale.

In recent times, the top commercial producers of ginger include Jamaica, India, Fiji, Indonesia, and Australia.

Health Benefits

Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, it is regarded as an excellent carminitive, a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas, and intestinal spasmolytic, a substance which that relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract. These properties can be attributed to its volatile components.

Powdered GingerModern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties which are not limited to those listed above. They include antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects. A combination of ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, and coriander is a great carminative and stimulates digestion.

Ginger is also one of the best treatments for motion sickness, nausea, morning sickness, and sea sickness. In studies it has been shown to perform more effectively than Dramamine in preventing and treating motion sickness, and it doesn’t cause drowsiness and other side effects. It works by slowing the feedback interaction between the stomach and nausea center of the brain by absorbing and neutralizing gastrointestinal hormones, toxins, and acids. This is a much more healthy cycle than impairing the central nervous system to prevent drowsiness like Dramamine.

People who suffer with rheumatoid arthritis, muscle pain, and osteoarthritis have found success in inflammation and pain relief even where drugs have failed. The best part about ginger is that you can receive these benefits from cooking with it. It is high in active chemicals so eating as little as a 1/4 inch slice of ginger daily has shown results. It can also be made into a delicious tea which is quite enjoyable and easy to prepare.

Energetic and Magical Properties

Chopped GingerGender: Masculine
Planet: Mars
Element: Fire
Influences: Love, Money, Success, Power, Protection

Ingesting ginger before working magic or healing is most favorable. The root helps to stimulate energy flow throughout the body, and makes your store of personal power more readily available.

When parts of the root are worn or carried it is said to protect the wearer from harm; the same is true if planted in gardens.

Sprinkling dried ginger powder onto money or into your wallet helps to attract funds.

Love spells and potions of all types include ginger because it warms hearts and increases passion.

In the Pacific the Dobu islanders make much use of ginger in their magic. They chew it and spit it at the “seat” of an illness to cure it, and also spit chewed ginger at an oncoming storm to calm it.

When used in cooking magic ginger can bring health, vibrant energy, and zeal into your dishes. Simply ask the ginger to impart your food with its properties as you add it to your creations. This is especially helpful if there is a lingering illness or imbalance within your household.

How to Select and Store

Fresh ginger can be purchased in the produce section of most supermarkets. Ginger is generally available in two forms, either young or mature. Mature ginger, the more readily available type, has a tough skin which requires peeling, while young ginger, usually available only in Asian markets, need not be peeled. Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three weeks if left unpeeled.

Fibrous InsidesWhenever possible, choose fresh ginger over dried since it is not only superior in flavor but also contains higher levels of gingerol as well as ginger’s active protease, its anti-inflammatory compound.

The bronze root should be fresh looking, with no signs of decay such as soft spots, mildew, or a dry, wrinkled skin. When purchasing fresh ginger, make sure it is firm, smooth, and free of mold.

If fresh ginger is not available, dried ginger is widely stocked. Just as with other dried spices, when purchasing dried ginger powder, try to select organically grown ginger, since organic spices are less likely to have been irradiated.

Ginger is also available in several other forms, including crystallized, candied, pickled and pureed. It can be found in the first three forms in Asian markets and natural food stores. Pureed ginger is becoming readily available at supermarkets. Simply look for the tube in the refrigerated produce section.

Dried ginger powder should be kept in a tightly sealed glass container in a cool, dark and dry place for no longer than six months.

Tips for Use

A paring knife is the best utensil to remove the skin from young ginger, while a spoon is quite handy for mature ginger. Simply scrape the skin off with the edge of the spoon, and make sure to get into all the little crevices.

Peeled Ginger RootIt is important to note that the strength and taste that ginger imparts to a dish depend upon its timely addition during the cooking process. If it is added at the beginning, it will create a subtler taste; however, if you add it near the end, it will be much more pungent.

Ginger is an important spice in cooked dishes but can also be used as a fantastic addition to fresh fruit and vegetable juices, especially pineapple, carrot, and apple.

*Safety*

Ginger contains moderate amounts of oxalate. Individuals with a history of oxalate-containing kidney stones should avoid over-consumption of this spicy root.

Nutritional Information per 100 Gram Serving

Calories: 347
Carbohydrates: 70.79 g
Fat: 5.95 g
Protein: 9.12 g
Fiber: 12.5 g
Water: 9.38 g
Stearic Acid: 0.025 g
Oleic Acid: 1 g

Linoleic Acid: 1.02 g
Linolenic Acid: 0.29 g
Arachidonic Acid: 0 g
EPA: 0 g
DHA: 0 g
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g
Polyunsaturated Fat: 1.31 g
Saturated Fat: 1.94 g
Calcium: 116 mg
Copper: 0.48 mg
Iron: 11.52 mg

Magnesium: 184 mg
Manganese: 26.5 mg
Phosphorous: 148 mg
Potassium: 1343 mg
Selenium: 38.5 mg
Sodium: 32 mg
Zinc: 4.72 mg
Folic Acid: 0 mcg
Niacin: 5.155 mg
Pantothenic Acid:0 mg
Riboflavin: 0.185 mg

Thiamine: 0.046 mg
Vitamin A: 147 IU
Vitamin B12: 0 mcg
Vitamin B6: 0.84 mg
Vitamin C: 7 mg
Vitamin E:0.28 mg
Vitamin K: 0 mg

Recipes which Include Ginger:

Ginger Tea (생강차 [Saenggangcha])

Spiced Hot Chocolate

Witches’ Love Honey

This article was adapted from:

The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray N.D. and Joseph Pizzorno N.D. with Lara Pizzorno M.A. , L.M.T.

With Additional Information from:

The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl

Cunningham’s Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham

The Herb Book by John Lust

Pictures pulled from Google.com except for picture of peeled ginger which belongs to Maangchi.com