May 29, 2013 Something To Cure: CURES FROM THE KITCHEN PT1 Whether tearing, chopping, pummeling or blending them, the aromas of freshly diced herbs are dizzyingly heady and with the mystical month of May almost out why not summon your white witch while you still can and experiment with these household herbs to cure your ailments and ensure that you see the lusty month with gusto: Fennel Characteristics: A mass of delicate, feathery foliage with flat, yellow flower heads. Flowers throughout summer and autumn and every part of it can be eaten. Flavour: Aniseed fragrance with the leaves being a lot milder than the seeds. Use it in: Commonly associated with fish but quite delicious with lamb. Seeds can be added to water when boiling ham, sprinkled over salads or cooked in pasta sauces. Medicinal Uses: It is said to help alleviate heartburn and constipation. Acts as a diuretic and is said to ease the the symptoms of cystitis. Chewing the seeds is said to reduce hinger pangs and fennel tea is reputed for soothing babies with colic, a teaspoon full of this can either be given to the infant directly or via the nursing mother instead. *Pukka's 3 Fennel Tea features in our "Sick & Tired" parent & baby pack. Basil Characteristics: Fragrant, bright green leaves with clear veins. Flavour: Pungent, peppery flavour that gets stronger with cooking. This herb is much tastier torn as opposed to chopped. Use it in: Delicious in tomato salads, when mixed with oil and vinegar and, less traditionally but equally as scrumptious, with eggs. Medicinal Uses: This herb does not get as much medicinal kudos in the UK as perhaps it should given the manners in which our Chinese and Indian comrades put it to use; in Chinese it's used to soothe gum ulcers and support kidney functions whereas in India used to treat a itching malaria, earaches, arthritis and even anorexia. More broadly it is used for it's sedative, digestive and antispasmodic properties and maybe used to ease migraines. Who knew?! *NEOM's sicilian lemon & fresh basil scented "Refresh" candle is coming soon to our range - too divine to be missed so watch this space! Rosemary Characteristics: An evergreen shrub with small pointed needle-like leaves that are green on top and silver on the underside. This herb produces swirls of blue, white or purple flowers and cam reach up to 6ft heigh. Flavour: Almost pine scented with aromatic, camphor and floral tones. Use it in: One of the most versatile herbs and a personal favourite! From invigorating rich meat dishes like pork and lamb, to tossing a full sprig on the pan while searing a steak or using the twigs as skewers for BBQs to flavour from within Rosemary is my culinary companion daily. For the less flesh obsessed the bakers amongst you may want to add some finely chopped rosemary and sea salt flakes to your regular bread dough mix and you won't be disappointed. Medicinal Uses: Rosemary is not modest a medicine either and happily spreads its curing qualities across a myriad afflictions; its essential oil has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, it is said to aid digestion, soothe stomach aches, relieve headaches, ease migraines and treat menstrual disorder . On the more aesthetic front Rosemary sweetens the breath and, without debasing this wonderful herb, is supposed to ease flatulence. The Adonis of the herb garden! Lavender Characteristics: A hardy evergreen; Lavender has silvery grey leaves that turn green as they mature with elongated knots of intensely inviting purple blooms - bees cannot get enough of these hypnotic, swaying beacons of perfumed pleasure. Flavour: Often described as crisp, fresh, green and pine-like but really an aromatic herb that you have to sniff to see - Lavender is only Lavender (when it's not being a colour of course!) Use it in: The flavour of Lavender is ideal in jelly, ice cream, shortbread and custard or served with sweet baked goods such as scones - a wonderfully British addition to traditional favourites. For those who prefer the more savoury dishes rub the lavender leaves and flowers into rich meat joints or, if you're more marinade than massage, try frying the flowers and leaves with garlic and baste. Medicinal Uses: In folk medicine lavender was used to treat cramps, restlessness and sleep deprivation and this association with bringing peace has continued to modern day. In addition to this lavender has antiseptic and disinfectant qualities as well as being externally soothing when applied to stings and burns. *NEOM's organic "Real Luxury" body wash, containing Lavender, Jasmine & Brazilian Rosewood, features in our "Love Sick" practical pamper pack.