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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

10 Powerful Spices For Your Health

Original Article

spices-for-health
The following list of spices are extremely high in ORAC value, meaning, they are very good for you and your health and should be incorporated into your diet to take advantage of the many antioxidant and other benefits. In the American diet, it is so common to simply add ‘salt and pepper’ to nearly everything. In addition, or instead, if you can get into the habit of adding these spices to your food dishes, you may gain the reward of better health and life.

List of powerful, high ORAC value spices

Cloves (ground)
Cinnamon (ground)
Oregano (dried)
Turmeric (powder)
Cocoa (powder)
Cumin (seed)
Parsley (dried)
Basil (dried)
Chocolate (baking, unsweetened)
Curry (powder)
While so many preppers are focusing on food storage, I’ll bet that many are not thinking as much as they should about spices and healthy additives, all of which would be especially rewarding and beneficial during a time of long lasting disaster. It is simple to stock up on spices. You can also easily grow some of your own too, such as oregano, parsley, and basil.
Cloves. Although most spices are excellent sources of antioxidants, cloves rank as the richest source of them all. The abundant health benefits of cloves have been well known for centuries. Cloves have antiseptic and germicidal properties that help fight infections, relieve digestive problems and arthritis pain.
Cinnamon. Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes. In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections. In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells. It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood. In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
Oregano. Oregano is known to have strong antibacterial properties, perhaps as a result of the volatile oils the herb contains which have been shown to inhibit the growth of many kinds of bacteria, including some that cause serious food borne illnesses. Researchers have even studied oregano as a treatment for the common bacteria disease known as giardia. This common amoeba is common throughout the world.
Turmeric. Research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns. It is a natural liver detoxifier. It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory. It has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
Cocoa. Cocoa consumption is associated with decreased blood pressure, improved blood vessel health, and improvement in cholesterol levels. Flavonoid-rich cocoa consumption is also linked to reductions in risk factors for diabetes. Antioxidant benefits include a reduction in blood pressure, improved circulation, improved digestion, improved function of the endothelial cells of the circulatory system, protection from free radicals and the promotion of cardiovascular function that fights heart disease.
Cumin. The seeds themselves are rich in iron and are thought to help stimulate the secretion of enzymes from the pancreas which can help absorb nutrients into the system. It has also been shown to boost the power of the liver’s ability to detoxify the human body. It can help with flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea, and morning sickness. Cumin is also said to help relieve symptoms of the common cold due to it’s antiseptic properties – you’ll want to boil the seeds in a tea and then drink a couple of times a day. Researchers from Michigan State University, publishing the result of a study in the Journal of Biological Chemistry have found that this amazing natural compound is able to prevent the destructive formation of alpha-synuclein proteins that are the hallmark presentation in many neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
Parsley. Parsley’s volatile oils—particularly myristicin—have been shown to inhibit tumor formation in animal studies, and particularly, tumor formation in the lungs. Extracts from parsley have been used in animal studies to help increase the antioxidant capacity of the blood. Parsley is an excellent source of two vital nutrients that are also important for the prevention of many diseases: vitamin C and vitamin A (notably through its concentration of the pro-vitamin A carotenoid, beta-carotene). Parsley is a good source of folic acid, one of the most important B vitamins. Folic acid is also a critical nutrient for proper cell division and is therefore vitally important for cancer-prevention in two areas of the body that contain rapidly dividing cells—the colon, and in women, the cervix.
Basil. The main use of basil medicinally is as a natural anti-inflammatory. Many naturopathic doctors prescribe basil in treatment of diabetes, respiratory disorders, allergies, impotence, and infertility. This may be because basil contains cinnamanic acid, which has been found to enhance circulation, stabilize blood sugar, and improve breathing in those with respiratory disorders. It is also know that basil is very high in antioxidants, especially when it is used as an extract or oil. These antioxidants can protect your body against free radical damage associated with aging, some skin ailments, and most forms of cancer.
Chocolate. Studies have shown that consuming a small bar of dark chocolate everyday can reduce blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) by up to 10 percent. It stimulates endorphin production, which gives a feeling of pleasure. It contains serotonin, which acts as an anti-depressant. This information doesn’t mean that you should eat a pound of chocolate a day. Chocolate is still a high-calorie, high-fat food.
Curry. Curry is a mixture of several spices, predominantly turmeric. The most prolific benefit may be its effect on those who suffer from arthritis or otherwise sore and inflamed joints. Turmeric may reduce swelling and ease the pain associated with inflammation of the joints. The compound that makes curry yellow could help fight skin cancer. Curry may help protect the aging brain.

So, instead of reaching for a pill, how about reaching for a few of these powerful and natural spices and herbs!
There are many other beneficial high ORAC value foods, which are listed in the following article, Top 100 High ORAC Value Antioxidant Foods.



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A Rocket Stove Made From a Five Gallon Metal Bucket

Original Article


The principle behind a rocket stove is simple--rather than cooking on an open fire, you burn wood in an insulated chimney. Rocket stoves are highly efficient and easy to make. They run on twigs, so you can avoid cutting down a whole tree just to cook dinner.

We've had a rocket stove made out of brick in our backyard for several years. The post we wrote on it in 2007 is--oddly--the most frequently searched post on this site. I figured that since there was so much interest in the topic it would be good to offer one that didn't require masonry work. Better yet, I figured that it should be portable, so I made it out of a five gallon steel paint bucket. (eta: for your googling pleasure, it seems retailers call these cans "steel pails" rather than buckets). The project took less than an hour to complete and I'm very pleased with the final result. We created a pdf with full instructions that you can download at the Internet Archive. What follows are some photos showing the building process:


Using a piece of 4" vent pipe and a 90ยบ elbow, I made the chimney. See the pdf for the exact dimensions.


I traced the outline of the vent pipe on to the lid of the bucket and cut this hole out with a jig saw. Tin snips would also have worked.


Using the vent pipe as a guide again, I cut out a 4" hole near the bottom of the bucket.


I used one part clay (harvested from the yard) to six parts vermiculite as my insulation material. Mixed with water, the clay holds the vermiculite together. I could also have used dry wood ash, but I had the vermiculite and clay on hand so that's what I went with.


With the vent pipe in place, I packed the insulation into the bucket and let it dry for a few days before putting the lid on.


I found a barbecue grill at Home Depot that rests on the top of the bucket to support a pot.



Next you want to get yourself a tin can, take off both ends and open it up with tin snips. Cut a piece to serve as a shelf in the mouth of the pipe. It should be about 4" long--so it sits forward in the mouth of the vent. The rear part of the vent, where the fire burns, is open. The twigs rest on top of the shelf, the lower half is for drawing air.



The last step was to add the new Root Simple stencil to the back.

Some fire tips from the little lady, our resident pyro:

A rocket stove isn't like a campfire--you don't throw on a big log and kick back. Cooking on it is intense and concentrated, best suited for boiling or frying. The best fuel source is twigs, small ones--I prefer pencil-sized twigs, and I never try to burn anything thicker than a finger.

To start a fire just shove some paper or other tinder under the shelf toward the back of vent. Lay some very thin twigs, pine needles or other combustibles on the shelf. Light the paper and watch it go. Start adding larger twigs to establish the fire. Of course, twigs burn fast and hot, so you have to keep adding more fuel. Also, the twig are burning from the back (the fire is concentrated in the bend) so as the fire consumes the sticks, you just keep shoving the unburned parts to the rear.

There's a balance between choking the vent with too much wood and having too sparse a fire. After a few minutes of playing with it you'll get the hang of things. If you're doing it right, there should be no smoke, or almost none. These things burn clean.


Let us know if you like the pdf and if you would like to see more similar instruction sheets (maybe in an ebook format) of these types of projects. There's also a good book on using rocket stoves as heaters:  Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves YOU Can Build by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson.



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