Thursday, October 28, 2010


The Chuck wagon cook had to also doctor the crew working the cattle drive. It was once an open frontier without Doctors, Hospitals or drug stores with in hundreds of miles. Home remedies had been passed on generation to generation but more so today seems to slip away.

Spice to make you feel better: Healthier:

Sometimes called Roucou, is a derivative of the achiote trees of tropical regions of the Americas, used to produce a yellow to orange food coloring and also as a flavoring. Its scent is described as "slightly peppery with a hint of nutmeg" and flavor as "slightly sweet and peppery."  These dark red spicily-scented seeds are widely used in Latin American and Afro-Caribbean cuisine, and also have a long history of medicinal use in both cultures. Traditional African healers seem to have used it for everything from jaundice to headaches - even as an aphrodisiac! While these rather exotic claims have not been supported by modern research, what we do know for sure is that annatto contains carotenoids which have substantial antioxidant and possibly anti-cancer properties; it’s also a natural stimulant and diuretic, so it may be of assistance during a detox or weight-loss program. According to the science of Ayurveda (India’s ancient healing system), annatto, with its mildly bitter taste, makes food more easily digested and creates energy.

Besides making food taste good, it has great medical benefits with a history.  It reduces blood sugars working as an "insulin mimic" where it helps the body break down glucose into glycogen. Glycogen is what a body needs for energy. It also reduces Triglycerides, bad cholesterol and total cholesterol. This more so for those with type II diabetes. Aids the Digestive function of carminative (gas relief) and has help as a natural anti-inflammatory with joint stiffness. It also helps regulate blood pressure. Need a boost, mix 2g cinnamon with 10 oz of tea for energy.

Long considered a herbal "wonder drug", with a reputation in folklore for preventing everything from the common cold and flu to the Plague! It has been used extensively in herbal medicine (phytotherapy, sometimes spelt phitotherapy). Raw garlic is used by some to treat the symptoms of acne and there is some evidence that it can assist in managing high cholesterol levels. It can even be effective as a natural mosquito repellent.

For centuries, ginger has been used as a digestive tonic and a wealth of research supports its claim to fame as a safe and effective treatment for nausea, including that caused by motion sickness, morning sickness and the side effects of chemotherapy. Two ingredients in ginger are thought responsible for its effects: gingerol, which slows the action of a nerve receptor in the body that triggers the vomiting reflex, and shogaol, which helps neutralize stomach acid. Ginger stimulates circulation, counteracts congestion, relieves abdominal cramping and indigestion and has mild blood-thinning qualities, thereby helping to reduce blood-platelet stickiness. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties also make it useful for treating osteoarthritis. Late 20th century studies showed the shogal, produces when ginger is cooked has reduced inflammation. Ginger is the feel warm spice.

Onion is best for asthma. It also reduces the chance of stroke and in breathing. Onions contain flavonoids, substances that help slow down the aging process of immune system.  Porrum is Latin for leek, and porei is Belgian for leek. Leeks are in the same family as onions. Onions also are known as a sex food best eating for lunch not dinner.

Sage:  Common Sage;
There are several varieties of Sage, all part of the Salvia Genius. When taken as an infusion, or tea, the herbs can help digestive disorders. It has also been use to cure Headache. Using Sage oil adding several drops to boiling water, then used as an inhalant will open and clear airways. Sage was also used to cure sore throat using Cookie's old-fashioned remedy! Take 3-4 dried sage leaves and put them into a cup of hot water and let stand for approximately ten minutes then gargle while it is still warm. Additionally, to treat canker sores add lemon (1/2 tsp.) to the concoction. Salt Water Gargle was often used too for Sore throats.

Salt-water gargle was also use to aid sore throats. Add 1/2 teaspoon of sea-salt to a glass of warm water and gargle to relieve the pain.

The spice that gives curry powder its deep yellow colour. Studies show that it has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect, due to its high content of compounds called curcuminoids. These curcuminoids have an inhibitory effect on the enzymes that trigger the development of cancer cells and they may slow or even prevent tumours from forming by interfering with their ability to create the new blood cells that they need to feed the tumour growth. Curcuminoids also reduce cholesterol, may improve certain eye conditions and have an overall anti-inflammatory effect, so playing a possible role in slowing or preventing Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis and carpal tunnel syndrome.
So why should you start adding cinnamon to your diet?

Chuck wagon cooks knew how to make lip balm protecting lips from the harsh wind of the open plains and the battling sun. Although, some of the cooks tricks could include getting him special favors upstairs over the saloons when the trail drive was finish such as knowing this tip: Annatto has been also used as dye making lipsticks where many woman love to be colored beautiful. When mixed with white petroleum jelly and wax it makes a bright red lip stick.  Beeswax and Canuba wax can be combined to create a base adding a slight amount of the petroleum jelly to give it the gloss effect  then Annatto for color.

Wood Ash:   While as is not actually a spice, it was used to heal wounds and charcoal used to filter drinking water.

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Photo right: Annotte seed open expose seeds

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