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Using Your Kitchen Right

It’s the most wonderful time of the year… unless you happen to be sick. With stress, changes in the weather, and those pesky colds going around, it can be a challenge to keep your immune system strong. Fortunately, there are two foods in your kitchen that can help: cinnamon and lemon.

Cinnamon:

Properties: Acrid, sweet, and warm. In Chinese medicine, cinnamon helps release the Exterior and Disperses Cold. Good for Kidney Yang Deficiency. This condition is characterized by intolerance to cold; cold extremities; weakness and soreness of the lower back and knees; lack of libido; polyuria; loose stools; and/or wheezing.

Uses:

1. Fights tooth decay: “Cinnamon is an antiseptic that helps kill the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.” –Daniel B. Mowrey, PhD,

2. Clears up urinary-tract infections: One German study showed that cinnamon “suppresses completely” the cause of most urinary-tract infections. (Escherichia coli bacteria).

3. Antioxidant capacity: Cinnamon is so powerful an antioxidant that when compared to six other antioxidant spices (anise, ginger, licorice, mint, nutmeg, and vanilla) and the chemical food preservatives BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole), BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene), and propyl gallate, it prevented oxidation more effectively than all the other spices (except mint) and the chemical antioxidants.

4. Cinnamon’s scent boosts brain function: Research has found that chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or smelling cinnamon enhanced study participant’s cognitive processing. Cinnamon improved participant’s scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program.

5. Dosages: In foods, simply season to taste. For people with diabetes, 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon per meal may help control blood sugar levels. To brew a stomach-soothing tea, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon per cup of boiling water.  Steep 10-20 minutes.  Drink up to three cups a day.

And Remember… adding a cinnamon stick makes for some tasty hot chocolate! http://www.wholeliving.com/recipe/spiced-hot-dark-chocolate

Lemon:

Properties: Strong, purifying, and a sweet citrus scent. Lemon is perhaps one of the most powerful natural cleansers, and rich in antioxidants. When a high, therapeutic-grade lemon essential oil is used, it can be effective at cleaning both inside AND out!

Uses:

1. Detox: Lemon is wonderful for both digestion and supporting the liver. Add lemon (in slices OR as a therapeutic-grade essential oil) to drinking water to aid in detoxification. REMEMBER— only drink this out of glass or metal containers, because lemon will disintegrate plastic!

2. Makes you happy!: It’s true! Not only can the scent of lemon refresh your mind and improve memory, it can also promote a better sense of well-being.

3. Versatile:  A popular scent and addition to many commercial cleaning products, lemon can help remove sticky substances (like the residue from stickers on a CD case). When in an essential oil form, it can help strengthen fingernails. Lemon is a natural insect repellant, something to remember come summertime! And, if you’re looking for a fun at-home science project, use a drop of lemon essential oil on the bottom of an upside-down Styrofoam cup— lemon is so powerful at killing non-organic material that it will EAT THROUGH THE CUP in about a day!

4. How to use: When taking internally, only use the HIGHEST QUALITY, either food or essential oil. Add lemon zest to any foods to taste. Use a couple drops of essential oil in your dishwasher to remove grease. Use a glass spray bottle filled with water and a couple drops of lemon to freshen and sterilize air during cold and flu season.

And here’s one more tip:

Both of these flavors are excellent in sugar cookies, so if you’re scrambling for a last-minute gift, or if Santa wasn’t overly impressed with last year’s selection of cookies, mix either flavor (or be daring and try both) into your batter and voila!, Instant Christmas Present!

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