Mariam Alireza, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2011-02-02 20:19

Moreover, important aspects worth mentioning are that they are safe to health if used reasonably and effective if they are used properly. I would say that they are the optimal treating methods. BUT, I would like to remind our readers that they SHOULD NOT rule out the use of pharmaceutical drugs to treat complicated medical conditions and emergencies. However with doctor’s advice, they can take them along with medication to speed recovery and enhance energy and immunity. With this said, I can go back to my precious little things. They may be small in size, but they packed with great health advantages. 
Fenugreek is a round seed, which has strengthening and cleansing effects on energy and blood. The seed’s potency comes from its detoxifying phytochemicals like beta-carotene, parthenolide, and santamarin. Its nutrient-rich content (calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, and vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C) gives a myriad of health benefits, by acting on many disorders. The seed has laxative and lubricating characteristics, which influence the intestines; reduce inflammation, fever, and lung disorders; break up mucus; and decrease sinus and asthma symptoms. Its diversified nature also helps lowering blood cholesterol and sugar levels and stimulating lactation in new mothers.
Fenugreek, holba in Arabic, comes with an abundance of bone-building minerals and nutrients, making it instrumental in strengthening bones and preventing osteoporosis. Traditionally, the seed is recommended to break up phlegm and expectorate it to relieve asthma and cough. The drink made with boiled or soaked seed produces a diuretic effect and helps digestive tract disorders. Fenugreek is recommended for diabetics for its balancing effect on blood sugar. The solution should be taken in small amounts before meals. A Yemeni recipe suggests drinking the water of the soaked seed every morning for body cleansing. Fenugreek is much recommended to give energy and heal from chronic fatigue.
The ancient Egyptians and Arabs used fenugreek after childbirth to detoxify the body of the new mother as well as promote the flow of breast milk.  However, it is contraindicated during pregnancies as it stimulates uterine contractions, thus provoking the onset of abortion or preterm delivery. Unfortunately, many people distance themselves from the use of fenugreek due its undesirable side-effect; it releases a disagreeable body odor, the result of its detoxifying function.
Boswellia, Boswellia serrata, is a gum, having active phytochemicals like borneol, boswellic acids, carvone, caryophyllene, farnesol, geraniol, and limonene. They have anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, antifungal, and anti-bacterial properties. The gum lowers cholesterol serum, plus it restores blood vessel damage caused by inflammation. It relieves gout, arthritis, and fibromalgia pain, plus it is an effective immune-booster.
Boswellia, luban shihri in Arabic, is a favorite herb in Arabia. Resin of superior quality was once collected in copious quantities from the trunks of trees in Shihir, located in the southern part of Yemen in the Arabian Peninsula. Unfortunately, their yield has diminished tremendously in the recent years. Also known in the West as frankincense, the Arabian gum was sought after; it fetched high prices.
The bitterness in the gum has healing properties. It can be chewed, sucked, soaked, or burned on charcoal according to requirement. Traditionally, the soaked gum relieves dry cough and cold by expectorating mucus. The milky liquid is soothing heartburn when taken on empty stomach. Due to its potent detoxifying agents, the drink cleanses the liver and kidneys; treats urinary tract infections; and supports urinary tract health (supplements come for the latter reason, too). It is said to sharpen cognitive abilities and memory. The resin is taken diluted in water on empty stomach twice or three times daily, depending on the severity of the condition. Soaking the nail treats fungal infections and spreading the liquid on affected skin soothes eczema. Chewing it lowers blood sugar and hypertension. The gum is sucked or chewed during pregnancy to relieve nausea, stomach complaints, and indigestion; soothe the throat; eliminate bad breath; and clean the mouth.
Ayurvedic medicine also appreciates boswellia. Taken along with turmeric and basil leaf, it relieves pain and inflammation in arthritis sufferers. It is used to treat obesity, acne, and eczema. The gum’s anti-inflammatory compound, boswellic acid, alleviates digestive disorders, acid reflux, diarrhea, parasites, acidic conditions, yeast infections, and asthma.
Frankincense is burned to refresh the odor of interiors and kill airborne germs. The gum is also commonly used for its many medicinal properties in this part of the world, making it a valuable healing remedy. I, for one, have experienced its effectiveness on different aspects of health; I always include it in my first aid kits for its immune-lifting potency. By the way, it also comes in supplement form, convenient for traveling.
Nutmeg is another spice, or nut; it reduces blood pressure. How? It is one of those spices that build heat in the blood, making blood vessels dilate, thus it increases blood flow.  It is usually added to bakery goods, vegetables, and meatloaf to enhance their flavors.  It is also used as a sedative for its calming effect.
Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, contains an array of phytochemicals such as alpha-pinene, beta sitosterol, caryophyllene, citral, farnesol, geraniol, limonene, luteolin, myrcene, quercetin, rutin, saponin, and triacontanol. A recent research showed an interesting phenomenon. According to the test-tube study, citral, the active lemony compound in lemongrass, acted on cancer cells by making them self-destruct through ‘apoptosis’ with only a small amount of lemongrass infusion poured on cells. What is more interesting is that normal and healthy cells were left intact and fully functional. Citral is also found in plants like Verbena officinalis and Melissa officinalis.
Lemongrass offers important immune-lifting nutrients like calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc. The grass has digestive, tonifying, and astringent properties. It acts on fever, flu, headaches, and intestinal problems. The herb is added to tea in Arabia for its flavor and refreshing benefits. To intensify its detoxifying effects, I mix it with verbena leaf and gingerroot infusion. Due to its fragrant aroma, it is often found in beauty products and scents.
Nanakha known in Arabia and ajmaeen in India is an aromatic seed that resembles anise, but of a more intense potency and pungency, which work on digestive disorders. Traditionally, it was used in the Hijaz region of Arabia and in India for relieving abdominal pains and indigestion, dispelling gases, and treating intestinal infections. The stinging flavor of the seeds makes the person reluctant to chew and swallow them, but with time it becomes palatable.  An acceptable way to have them is boiling them a little and steeping them for twenty minutes. The clear liquid is very aromatic and soothing to pain and bloating and detoxifies infections. I find it very soothing to digestive pain and disorders.
I thought I was going to close the discussion about remedial herbs and spices today, but I feel it is unfair to abruptly end my investigation of such treasures as there are still prominent ones worthy of revealing their infinite benefits. 
It is important to continue spreading the information about these precious plants in order to convey it to the public in a simplified manner at our age of medical drugs, which also come with side-effects. I would like to see these remedies used for their healing, detoxifying, fortifying, and rejuvenating properties. I have explained how they enhance wellness and energy; sharpen the memories and acuity, and energize the brain in a cost effective way with minimum harm to health.
I will come back next Wednesday, inshallah, with more of my superlist of Nature’s priceless gift.

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