Friday, February 11, 2011

Food Materia Medica

Raw Food Materia Medica and Food

Brussels Sprouts Sprouts (Brassica oleracea, of the Gemmifera group) originated in Brussels, Belgium in the sixteenth century and like their relative broccoli, were developed from wild cabbage. Brussels sprouts are formed of twenty to eighty baby cabbages growing in spiral formation, close together. This member of the Brassicaceae (Mustard) Family is related to cauliflower and radish. The Latin name Brassica comes from the Celtic bresic and the species name oleracea means "a garden vegetable used in cooking." Gemmifera means, "diamond maker" as this vegetable was once reputed to enhance mental abilities. Brussels sprouts are alkalinizing, antioxidant and liver stimulating. They have a special affinity for the pancreas. They have been used to remedy acidosis, arteriosclerosis, catarrh, constipation, bleeding gums, and high cholesterol. Their high sulfur content makes them warming. They are a good source of beta-carotene, vitamin B6, folic acid, C, flavonoids calcium, iron, and phosphorus. They also contain indoles that are believed to prevent breast cancer by blocking the activity of estrogens that contribute to tumor growth. They are also considered preventative to colon cancer and promoting to good bowel health, due to their high fiber content. They also contain sulforaphanes, which blacks carcinogens from damaging healthy cells.
Select firm, compact bright green Brussels sprouts, as puffy ones tend to taste bland. Smaller ones, less than one and a half inches in diameter tend to have a better flavor. Their flavor improves after a frost, so they are popular as a fall and winter vegetable. Young tender sprouts can be enjoyed raw, sliced into salads or used as crudités.
Some may find them to be gas and bloating inducing, especially if one suffers from constipation, however this is due to their cleansing activity.


Cabbage, (Brassica oleracea), a member of the Brassicaceae (Mustard) Family, is derived from wild cabbages brought from Asia by roving Celts around 600 BC. The word cabbage is from the Latin caput, meaning "head", due to cabbage's head like shape. Cabbage is esteemed as alterative, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, circulatory stimulant, muscle builder, and diuretic. It has been used to strengthen eyes, gums, teeth, bones, hair, liver and nails. Cabbage is believed to lower the risk of heart disease, strokes and cataracts. It has been used to treat asthma, high cholesterol, colds, colic, constipation, cough, depression, diabetes, eye infections, fibrocystic breast disease, gout, headaches, hearing loss, insomnia, irritability, kidney and bladder disorders, lumbago, lung congestion, exposure to radiation, skin ailments, tuberculosis, ulcers, yeast infections, and to drive out intestinal worms.
Cabbage contains fiber, protein, histamine, beta carotene, folic acid, vitamins B1, B6, C, K, U (after its ability to heal ulcers), bioflavonoids, calcium, fluorine, iodine, iron, potassium, and sulfur. Cabbage contains indoles, which may help prevent breast cancer by inhibiting estrogens from stimulating tumor growth. It also contains monoterpenes, which are antioxidants that give protection against heart disease and cancer. Other anti-cancer properties in cabbage include dithiolthiones, glucosinolates, indoles, isothiocyanates, coumarins and phenols. Cabbage helps reduce the risks of colon, esophageal, lung, skin, and stomach cancers.
Savoy, of most likely Italian origin cabbage is the crinkly variety. Bok choy, or Napa is the Chinese cabbage and is considered sweet and cooling. Cabbage also comes in red and white, which is called "green cabbage." Cabbage is neutral to warming in temperature and sweet and pungent in flavor and alkaline.
Look for firm, crisp cabbages with no evidence of decay or worm infestation. It is an inexpensive vegetable and stores well over the winter. Cabbage is used stuffed, in cole slaws, salads, soups or juiced. Fermenting cabbage, often with the addition of salt, makes sauerkraut. It can be rinsed before serving to lower the sodium content. Unpasteurized sauerkraut contains microorganisms that promote healthy intestinal flora.
Cabbage contains goitergens, which can interfere with normal thyroid function when iodine levels are low. Some people complain that cabbage causes them gas, though many health authorities feel this is due to the cleansing nature of cabbage that helps loosen old bowel pockets.
Chopped cabbage leaves are used as a topical poultice to treat painful joints, bug bites and stings, burns, eczema, rashes, varicose vein, and wounds, including gangrene. Cabbage: Can be used as a poultice on almost anything. Try it for hemorrhoids! 

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