Monday, June 27, 2011

Hot Peppers

Hot peppers contain a chemical called capsaicin (or more commonly, capsicum).  This is the chemical that makes the peppers hot, and the more capsiacin in the pepper the hotter it will be.  Research has been done which indicates that capsicum helps wounds heal more quickly and also deadens the nerves.  Capsicum is a topical anesthetic, the effects of which can last weeks.

Note that the researches were done with pure, concentrated capsicum, not whole peppers.

Other possible uses:  Numerous.  The only one I've used it for is above.

Interactions:  Be careful when using this with blood thinners or anti-coagulants, also blood pressure medications.  It might increase the effectiveness of the medications (which really suggests to me that it could be used for this, but science would not agree with me).

Nature Walks

The third part is nature.

Most likely, within a few miles of your home there will be public gardens or wild lands that contain the native plants of your area.  Become familiar with these, make them your friends.  If all else fails, these will likely remain.  Consider a weed Well Met.

Be aware that many herbals (as in books that deal with herbs) will not include these plants because the "herbal" history of our world was written mostly in India, China and Europe.  If it is not in one of these three traditions, many people ignore it.

Still, could not wild lavender have the same properties as the cultivated version?  Wild Horehound, wild garlic, wild sage?

In the Yard

The second piece of the puzzle sits outside your door.

Whether you live in a condominium or a cardboard box, you probably have something growing within a few feet of your door.  If it's growing and immobile, consider it a possible adjunct to your herbal.

Lillies, hostas, grapes, iceplant and so many more.  Explore the living plants available immediately around (or in) your home.

The Kitchen Connecton

I split my herbal study into three pieces.

I began my own exploration with my kitchen - if you have spices of any kind in your kitchen, you have something that could have other uses.  Black pepper, salt, cardamom, cilantro, dill, and many others, are the base.  If it has a unique smell or flavor, it's probably good for something.  If it doesn't have a unique smell or flavor, why is it in your kitchen?

The Color Correlation

My favorite color has always been green.  The color of life, the color of growing things.  Some of my earliest memories are in the garden (weeding, entirely against my will :)  ) or sitting in the strawberry patch hoping my mother didn't catch me eating the strawberries.

A little at a time it dawned on me that the plants I love are more than just oxygen and food producers. 

So started my quest. 

Come with me, join me in my exploration of the other alternative medicines.