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 - NUTMEG

Nutmeg is used in baked goods, meat courses, drinks such as eggnog and vegetable dishes. It can be used to make jam or crystallized and made into candy. Antibacterial nutmeg essential oil, derived from the tree’s bark and leaves, is used in cosmetic and pharmaceutical products. It is often found in cough syrup or toothpaste (it boosts gum immunity) as well as in alternative and herbal medicine. Beneficial components found in nutmeg include fiber, manganese, thiamin, vitamin B6, magnesium, copper, calcium and folate.


Often used as a folk treatment for various ailments, including stomachache and headache, nutmeg has also been shown to fight halitosis; eliminate the toxins that accumulate in the liver and kidney; dissolve kidney stones; and improve skin health and appearance. Nutmeg is recommended as a remedy for insomnia. And it has great potential for battling cancer. Studies have shown that a certain methanolic compound in nutmeg and its essential oil can actually induce cell death (apoptosis) in leukemia cells. In large doses, raw nutmeg has psychoactive effects. Some people have claimed it to be an aphrodisiac. Another claim is that it improves brain health by reducing the degradation of neural pathways that commonly afflicts people with dementia or Alzheimer’s  disease. However you use it, sprinkle on – nutmeg can certainly spice up your life.


Sources:


TANYA TYLER

Tanya Tyler is the Editor of Health & Wellness Magazine

more articles by Tanya Tyler

Nutmeg is not a nut. It is actually the seed of an evergreen tree called Myristica fragans (fragrant nutmeg). The tree takes seven years to bear fruit, but it may produce until it is 90 years old. The seeds are dried in the sun over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time, the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat and is picked out when the shell is broken with a wooden club.


Nutmeg was once prized in medieval cuisine as a flavoring and preservative, but it was also known for its medicinal properties (people believed it could ward off the plague). These attributes made it very expensive. It was also difficult to obtain. At one point, the Banda Islands, also known as the Spice Islands, located in eastern Indonesia, were the only place in the world that produced nutmeg. Arabian sailors sold nutmeg to Europeans but wouldn’t reveal their source. The first Europeans reached the Banda Islands in 1512 and quickly bought up as much nutmeg as possible to take back home. Desire for control of nutmeg production led to a war between the Bandanese and the Dutch East India Company, which decimated the native population. When the British got control of the islands, they transplanted nutmeg trees to other sites, including Sri Lanka and Singapore. Today estimated annual world production of nutmeg is between 10,000 and 12,000 tons. Indonesia and Grenada are the leading producers and exporters of nutmeg. Other producers include India, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Sri Lanka and some Caribbean islands. Connecticut is known as the Nutmeg State – not because nutmeg is grown there but because some traders in the past whittled nutmeg out of wood.