High on the emergency preparedness list of food stockpile should be an ample supply of certain culinary herbs and spices, not necessarily for the spice cabinet but, rather, for your medicine cabinet. The healing and regenerative properties of herbs and spices are well documented and, for many people, they already have a place on the spice rack. In preparation for the unexpected, when maintaining optimum health and immunity to disease is paramount, their amazing health properties should not be taken for granted.
Everyday spices such as cinnamon, pepper, cayenne, and cloves should be stockpiled to the extent that they can become part of your daily nutritional intake. If they somehow can’t be worked into your daily prepared meals, it’s recommended that they be doled out in dosages much like you would do with any supplement.
Herbs such as oregano, basil, sage, fennel, and garlic may also be a current staple in your kitchen. However, for the astute emergency preparers, they will occupy a plot in the garden as well. Large quantities of these highly functional herbs can be grown and maintained in a relatively small-sized plot. For city dwellers, where garden plots are impractical, the dried versions of these herbs can be stored for about a year before they lose some of their magic.
Here’s the definitive list of essential spices that will turn your spice cabinet into a medicine cabinet:
Cayenne — Possessing both internal and external healing properties, cayenne is one of the most powerful medicinal spices that are readily available. Known for its stimulating effect on the cardiovascular system, cayenne acts upon the heart and circulation to increase blood flow. In this way, it can also be an aid in helping to speed digestion. Its heat producing properties are helpful during the cold months (taken internally or used topically) and it also builds immunity against colds and flus. Used externally, cayenne can be applied to wounds to stem bleeding.
Cinnamon — A favorite found in most spice racks, Cinnamon is a known antioxidant and most dieticians recommend a daily dose. Cinnamon also aids in digestion and stimulates circulation
Ginger — Ginger provides several digestive related remedies by settling nausea and stopping diarrhea. It is also a known decongestant and can soothe a sore throat.
Black pepper — Storing dried, black pepper, or, alternatively, black peppercorns, is useful for its ability to boost energy, warm the body and increase circulation. Like its cousin, cayenne, it also aids in the stemming of blood flow from cuts.
Cloves — Clove oil has long been a treatment for tooth and gum problems. Its analgesic properties help soothe mouth pain, and it is also a bacteria killer. The antibiotic properties of cloves make it ideal for topical treatment to burns and skin irritations. Used in teas, cloves can also be an effective fever reducer.
Plot your garden with these vital herbal medicines:
Oregano — Oregano, as a source of antioxidants, is a proven immune booster. It can also settle the stomach, fight infection and even soothe cold symptom flare-ups in the throat and lungs. Taken in tea, it helps settle the mind for a good night’s sleep.
Basil — is also a known sleep aid, especially in its ability to reduce tension and anxiety. When life gets you down, basil has been known to lift spirits.
Bay leaves — another effective digestive aid, bay leaves can be added to your meal preparation and/or teas to keep stomach acids at bay.
Sage — Sage seems to be the most versatile medicinal herb. It can remedy winter coughs, stimulate digestion, and is a great source of antibiotics. You can decide if its famously mythical ability to ward off evil spirits might be of use.
Garlic – Most would argue that garlic is the mother of all medicinal herbs. As a potent source of antibiotics, it is a proven cold and flu fighter, immune booster and can ward off infection. If you’re worried about walking around with garlic breath, just add a small section of parsley to your garden plot.
Peppermint, rosemary, thyme and fennel are equally powerful medicinal herbs rich in healing and regenerative properties, and should be included in your medicinal garden.
Full preparation for a potential long-term emergency isn’t complete until your spice and herb medicine cabinet is full. With the range of healing and health strengthening properties available in these natural remedies, you might spend a fortune on pills, syrups and ointments trying to replicate their benefits. It’s time to stop taking them for granted.
Other articles in this issue: