good medicine everyday

Good Medicine Everyday: Rosemary by emily penn

Rosemary has been my favorite herb for a long time. I love it with vegetables - especially roasted potatoes, I make a rosemary cashew sauce, I even make granola with rosemary in it! It’s just got such a satisfying flavor and aroma.

And - you guessed it - rosemary has some impressive health benefits. It’s packed with antioxidants and polyphenols. Rosmarinic acid is the primary compound that gives rosemary its health punch. This is what rosemary means for your health (1):

  • One of the oldest medicinal uses of rosemary is for improving memory and boosting brain health. It’s protective against Alzheimers and cognitive decline. I like to diffuse rosemary essential oil if I’m studying or anytime I want to enhance my memory.

  • Mood boosting - rosemary reduces cortisol levels and has a calming effect, making it great for those suffering from anxiety and depression.

  • Rosemary has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It selectively kills cancer cells.

  • Rosmarinic acid prevents accumulation of fluid in the lungs, making it a great remedy for a cough, cold, flu and even asthma.

  • Boosts immunity - like so many other herbs, the antimicrobial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of rosemary make it a great herb to consume regularly for immune protection.

  • It increases bile flow and gallbladder function, resulting in overall improved digestive health.

  • It supports the liver, especially the healing of the liver.

  • Rosemary essential oil promotes hair growth, slows graying and helps treat dry scalp. Try adding a few drops to your shampoo or doing a hair mask that includes rosemary.

Use rosemary in any savory dish where you want a pop of flavor or a boost in brain power. Marinate and cook meats with it - the high antioxidant content can help offset any potential carcinogens produced by cooking the meat (especially grilling).

This super herb is easy to access and also super easy to grow! Here in the PNW it grows everywhere, but it’s super hardy so will grow well in many regions, or you can always grow indoors!

Good Medicine Everyday: Parsnips by emily penn

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Parsnips - the underrated root veg. Have you had them before? They look like white carrots. They’re a little sweet. Creamy on the inside when roasted. I LOVE them!

My favorite thing to do with them is cut them into strips and make parsnip “fries” but you can also cut them in whatever shape you like and roast them with some oil, salt and pepper. You can also steam and mash them (think with mashed potatoes or cauliflower), use them in soups and stews. I consider them a highlight of the winter vegetable selection. They’re sweet and creamy and have a very grounding quality to them

Lucky for me (and you!) they’re also chock full of compounds that support our health. Let’s check it out (1):

  • Parsnips have an impressively high vitamin C content, making them great for our immune system and eye health.

  • They’re high in fiber, which keeps the good bacteria in your gut happy and also keeps everything moving so you avoid constipation.

  • Folate - just 1/2 cup of parsnips contains 11% of your daily folate, which is pretty awesome! Folate is an essential nutrient that we need for gum health, brain health and to avoid birth defects.

  • Parsnips also contain manganese, which supports bone health.

Good Medicine Everyday: Bay Leaves by emily penn

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If your experience with bay leaves is pretty much non-existent, join the club. It was something that was in my spice cabinet growing up, that my mom would use occasionally in soups and stews. As an adult, if a recipe called for a bay leaf, I usually skipped it thinking it wasn’t that important. Sure, it might impart some flavor but I wasn’t going to go out of my way to track one down.

Recently, Rich nonchalantly mentioned that he had read about the health benefits of bay leaves and that they were impressive. I’m all about increasing my health benefits with minimal effort, so if throwing a few leaves in my soups is going to give me a boost, I’m all for it!

People have been using bay leaves forever - the wreathes used to crown victorious athletes in ancient Greece were made of bay leaves. They’ve also been used as poultices and some tribes would place a single leaf in one nostril to cure headaches. Hunters would use it to attract deer. And of course, people have been using it for centuries to impart a savory flavor to soups, stews, and meats.

And yes, the health benefits are warranted. Here’s what the humble bay leaf can do for you (1):

  • It contains high antioxidant levels. Antioxidants fight damaged cells and keep us young and healthy.

  • The essential oil from bay leaves has antimicrobial activity, which can boost immunity.

  • Its antifungal properties make it a food that can be used to help treat candida, which is an overgrowth of yeast in the gut. One study demonstrated that the bay leaf disrupted adhesion of candida to cell walls.

  • Several studies that have been done that suggest bay leaf fights cancer cells - especially breast and colon.

  • Regular consumption of bay leaves may help regulate blood sugar and support cardiovascular health.

  • Bay leaves can enhance digestion and prevent bloating and gas.

So if you can reap some of these help benefits simply by letting a couple leaves simmer in your next soup, wouldn’t you do it? That’s exactly what I’ve been doing. Bay leaves are inexpensive and extremely easy to find. Now that’s the kind of #goodmedicineeveryday I like.