Lately I've been reading about how MOST illnesses begin in the STOMACH. If that is the truth, then improving intestinal health is extremely important, no matter if you have candida or not!
"Fermented foods" are EXCEPTIONAL probiotics because they have the "good bacteria" that you will need to heal the leaky gut issues that can lead to candida. Here's a good link here that I find very useful. These foods are better than any pill you can take!
1. Fermented foods improve digestion. Fermenting our foods before we eat them is like partially digesting them before we consume them. According to Joanne Slavin, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota, “…sometimes people who cannot tolerate milk can eat yogurt. That's because the lactose (which is usually the part people can't tolerate) in milk is broken down as the milk is fermented and turns into yogurt.”
2. Fermented foods restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut. Do you suffer from lactose intolerance? Gluten intolerance? Constipation? Irritable bowel syndrome? Yeast infections? Allergies? Asthma? All of these conditions have been linked to a lack of good bacteria in the gut.
3. Raw, fermented foods are rich in enzymes. According to the Food Renegade blog, “Your body needs [enzymes] to properly digest, absorb, and make full use of your food. As you age, your body's supply of enzymes decreases. This has caused many scientists to hypothesize that if you could guard against enzyme depletion, you could live a longer, healthier life.”
4. Fermenting food actually increases the vitamin content. According to the Nourished Kitchen blog, “Fermented dairy products consistently reveal an increased level of folic acid which is critical to producing healthy babies as well as pyroxidine, B vitamins, riboflavin and biotin depending on the strains of bacteria present. [1. Vitamin Profiles of Kefirs Made from Milk of Different Species. International Journal of Food Science & Technology. 1991. Kneifel et al]”
5. Eating fermented food helps us to absorb the nutrients we're consuming. You can ingest huge amounts of nutrients, but unless you actually absorb them, they're useless to you. When you improve digestion, you improve absorption.
6. Fermenting food helps to preserve it for longer periods of time. Milk will go bad in the fridge but kefir and yogurt last a lot longer. Sauerkraut, pickles and salsa will keep for months. And if you've got a huge batch of produce in your garden that you don't know how to use up — ferment it!
7. Fermenting food is inexpensive. There's nothing fancy required for this hobby. And many of the foods required to make these recipes are very cheap. You can use inexpensive cabbage to make sauerkraut, or get yourself a kombucha scoby and with just pennies' worth of water, sugar and tea, you've got a health elixir slash soda pop.
8. Fermenting food increases the flavor. There's a reason humans enjoy drinking wine and eating stinky cheese. There's a reason we like sauerkraut on our hot dogs and salsa on our tortilla chips. It tastes good!
How to Incorporate More Fermented Foods Into Your Diet
Look for sourdough bread instead of bread made with commercial yeast. (Trader Joe's has a few real sourdough breads, and I love the real naturally fermented bread at the chain bakery, Le Pain Quotidien. Or you can make your own.
Drink fermented beverages. Kefir and kombucha are available at many health food stores. They're also very easy to make at home.
Serve food with pickles, sauerkraut, salsa, ketchup, sour cream, kim chi, mayonnaise and other naturally fermented condiments. You can buy naturally fermented condiments at health food stores — or make your own.
Get creative and experiment! Try making kefir ice cream, sourdough crackers, fermented coconut milk, mead (honey wine), or even probiotic potato salad. Eat some Japanese natto (it's good!) with rice. Visit an Ethiopian restaurant and sample some of their delicious fermented injera bread. The options are endless!
How to Ferment Foods At Home
It's easy to get started with fermentation. You just need some starter cultures, some mason jars, and you're good to go.
Fermented Foods to Consider Adding, AT LEAST TWICE DAILY, to Improve Your Intestinal Health!
Because of the overprocessing (pasterization kills the bacteria in store brands) required, most store bought products do not contain the "live bacteria" necessary to improve intestinal health!
Try to incorporate AT LEAST two fermented foods a day, three would be optimal (especially if you are suffering from an illness)! True LIVE fermented foods can be purchased at your local Health Food Store or online. Ultimately, since consuming them daily will add years to your life, MAKING THEM YOURSELF IS MORE COST EFFECTIVE!
Kefir, raw organic
Meat and fish products
Nonbeverage plant products
Bee Pollen, found in RAW, UNFILTERED HONEY
Pickles or Pickled Products, organic, unprocessed
Saurkraut, organic, unprocessed
Apple Cider Vinegar, Raw, Unfiltered (contains the MOTHER)
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 02/12/2010 12:36 PM
01/16/2010 03:01 AM
Eat Yogurt EVERY DAY, it is Crucial to Improve Intestinal Health!
1. Yogurt is easier to digest than milk. Many people who cannot tolerate milk, either because of a protein allergy or lactose intolerance, can enjoy yogurt. The culturing process makes yogurt more digestible than milk. The live active cultures create lactase, the enzyme lactose-intolerant people lack, and another enzyme contained in some yogurts (beta-galactosidase) also helps improve lactose absorption in lactase-deficient persons. Bacterial enzymes created by the culturing process, partially digest the milk protein casein, making it easier to absorb and less allergenic. In our pediatric practice, we have observed that children who cannot tolerate milk can often eat yogurt without any intestinal upset. While the amount varies among brands of yogurt, in general, yogurt has less lactose than milk. The culturing process has already broken down the milk sugar lactose into glucose and galactose, two sugars that are easily absorbed by lactose-intolerant persons.
2. Yogurt contributes to colon health. There's a medical truism that states: "You're only as healthy as your colon." When eating yogurt, you care for your colon in two ways. First, yogurt contains lactobacteria, intestines-friendly bacterial cultures that foster a healthy colon, and even lower the risk of colon cancer. Lactobacteria, especially acidophilus, promotes the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon and reduces the conversion of bile into carcinogenic bile acids. The more of these intestines-friendly bacteria that are present in your colon, the lower the chance of colon diseases. Basically, the friendly bacteria in yogurt seems to deactivate harmful substances (such as nitrates and nitrites before they are converted to nitrosamines) before they can become carcinogenic.
Secondly, yogurt is a rich source of calcium - a mineral that contributes to colon health and decreases the risk of colon cancer. Calcium discourages excess growth of the cells lining the colon, which can place a person at high risk for colon cancer. Calcium also binds cancer-producing bile acids and keeps them from irritating the colon wall. People that have diets high in calcium (e.g. Scandinavian countries) have lower rates of colorectal cancer. One study showed that an average intake of 1,200 milligrams of calcium a day is associated with a 75 percent reduction of colorectal cancer. As a survivor of colon cancer, I have a critical interest in the care of my colon. My life depends on it.
3. Yogurt improves the bioavailability of other nutrients. Culturing of yogurt increases the absorption of calcium and B-vitamins. The lactic acid in the yogurt aids in the digestion of the milk calcium, making it easier to absorb.
4. Yogurt can boost immunity. Researchers who studied 68 people who ate two cups of live-culture yogurt daily for three months found that these persons produced higher levels of immunity boosting interferon. The bacterial cultures in yogurt have also been shown to stimulate infection-fighting white cells in the bloodstream. Some studies have shown yogurt cultures to contain a factor that has anti-tumor effects in experimental animals.
Yogurt - Good for Young and Old
Yogurt is a valuable health food for both infants and elderly persons. For children, it is a balanced source of protein, fats, carbohydrates, and minerals in a texture that kids love. For senior citizens, who usually have more sensitive colons or whose intestines have run out of lactase, yogurt is also a valuable food. Elderly intestines showed declining levels of bifidus bacteria, which allow the growth of toxin-producing and, perhaps, cancer-causing bacteria.
5. Yogurt aids healing after intestinal infections. Some viral and allergic gastrointestinal disorders injure the lining of the intestines, especially the cells that produce lactase. This results in temporary lactose malabsorption problems. This is why children often cannot tolerate milk for a month or two after an intestinal infection. Yogurt, however, because it contains less lactose and more lactase, is usually well-tolerated by healing intestines and is a popular "healing food" for diarrhea. Many pediatricians recommend yogurt for children suffering from various forms of indigestion. Research shows that children recover faster from diarrhea when eating yogurt. It's good to eat yogurt while taking antibiotics. The yogurt will minimize the effects of the antibiotic on the friendly bacteria in the intestines.
A Chaser for Antibiotics
Antibiotics kill not only harmful bacteria; they also kill the healthy ones in the intestines. The live bacterial cultures in yogurt can help replenish the intestines with helpful bacteria before the harmful ones take over. I usually "prescribe" a daily dose of yogurt while a person is taking antibiotics and for two weeks thereafter.
A 1999 study reported in Pediatrics showed that lactobacillus organisms can reduce antibiotic-associated diarrhea.
6. Yogurt can decrease yeast infections. Research has shown that eating eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures daily reduces the amount of yeast colonies in the vagina and decreases the incidence of vaginal yeast infections.
7. Yogurt is a rich source of calcium. An 8-ounce serving of most yogurts provides 450 mg. of calcium, one-half of a child's RDA and 30 to 40 percent of the adult RDA for calcium. Because the live-active cultures in yogurt increase the absorption of calcium, an 8-ounce serving of yogurt gets more calcium into the body than the same volume of milk can.
8. Yogurt is an excellent source of protein. Plain yogurt contains around ten to fourteen grams of protein per eight ounces, which amounts to twenty percent of the daily protein requirement for most persons. In fact, eight ounces of yogurt that contains live and active cultures, contains 20 percent more protein than the same volume of milk (10 grams versus 8 grams). Besides being a rich source of proteins, the culturing of the milk proteins during fermentation makes these proteins easier to digest. For this reason, the proteins in yogurt are often called "predigested."
9. Yogurt can lower cholesterol. There are a few studies that have shown that yogurt can reduce the blood cholesterol. This may be because the live cultures in yogurt can assimilate the cholesterol or because yogurt binds bile acids, (which has also been shown to lower cholesterol), or both.
10. Yogurt is a "grow food." Two nutritional properties of yogurt may help children with intestinal absorption problems grow: the easier digestibility of the proteins and the fact that the lactic acid in yogurt increases the absorption of minerals. And even most picky-eaters will eat yogurt in dips and smoothies and as a topping.
Perhaps we can take a health tip about yogurt cultures from cultures who consume a lot of yogurt, such as the Bulgarians who are noted for their longer lifespan and remain in good health well into old age.
All foods made with yogurt are created equal
Not so. In fact, the yogurt used to coat nibble foods such as raisins, nuts, and fruit bits is often so highly sugared that you're really eating more sugar than yogurt.
A Tale of Two Yogurts
Yogurt is a great example of how to supermarket shop. Here's a label lesson in choosing a nutrient-dense yogurt that's super for families and spotting one that is, well, sad. Enjoy a cup of Stonyfield's Oikos Organic Greek Yogurt, Dr. Bill's personal favorite. Later on in the day eat a cup of one of those "lite" or "fit" brands of yogurt. (Generally avoid package hype of "lite" or "fit" as they usually contain artificial colorings and sweeteners.) Notice any difference in how satisfied you are? Now compare the two labels:
Yummy Yogurt Yucky Yogurt
Calories from fat: 0
Total Carbs: 9 grams
Sugars: 9 grams
Protein: 22 grams
No added fillers, sweeteners, or colorings. Calories: 130-200
Calories from fat: 0
Total Carbs: 24-40 grams
Sugars: 17-32 grams
Protein: 7 grams
Fillers: high fructose corn syrup, colorings and other fillers.
HOW TO BUY THE HEALTHIEST YOGURT: 5 TIPS
As when you purchase any food, read the label, both the "Nutritional Facts" panel and the list of ingredients. Look specifically at the following:
1. The best nutritional deal is plain yogurt, which has only two ingredients: live cultures and milk (whole milk, low-fat, or skim). The longer the ingredients list, the more calories you get and the less yogurt nutrition. In some highly-sweetened containers of yogurt, you're getting more calories in the sweetener than you are in the yogurt. Be sure to read the protein and sugar values on the nutrition panel. The higher the protein and the lower the sugar content, the more actual yogurt you're getting in the container. You can make fun flavored yogurts with your kids that please their tastebuds and give you control over the contents of the yogurt. (See Recipes)
Contains only live and active cultures and milk. Stonyfield's Organic Yogurts.
OKAY YOGURTContains live and active cultures , milk, and some filler ingredients.
It might as well be pudding if it says "heat treated" on the label, and it may contain added sugar and stabilizers - and more!
2. The calcium content. The best yogurts provide 35 to 40 percent of the recommended dietary allowance for calcium in an 8-ounce container. Once the calcium gets below 30 percent of the DV, it's a good bet that the container is filled with a lot of less-nutritious filler.
3. Stonyfield's Organic Yogurts - the one we recommend - has the highest level of live and active cultures besides containing inulin.
Avoid yogurt that says "heat treated after culturing" on the label. This means that the yogurt was pasteurized after the healthful organisms were added, which dilutes the health benefits of the yogurt. Pasteurization deactivates the lactase and kills the live cultures, thereby obliterating two health benefits of yogurt. Heat- treating yogurt trades economic gain for nutritional loss. It prolongs the shelf life, but spoils its nutrition and health-food value. Lactose-intolerant persons who can tolerate yogurt containing live and active cultures may not be able to digest yogurt that has been heat treated. Yogurt-based salad dressings and yogurt-covered raisins, pretzels, and candy typically do not contain live and active cultures.
The National Yogurt Association has been urging the FDA not to allow products that do not contain live and active cultures to be called "yogurt."
4. Yogurt terms to watch for. There's a dizzying array of yogurts in the supermarket dairy aisle. Here's a key to the different types.
Whole milk yogurt contains approximately 7 grams of milk fat per 8-ounce serving.
Lowfat yogurt contains between 1 and 4 grams (0.5% to 2 %) of milk fat per 8-ounce serving.
Nonfat yogurt contains less than 1/2 gram (less than 0.5%) of milk fat per 8-ounce serving.
In Swiss or custard-style yogurt, fruit and yogurt are mixed together. To insure firmness, a stabilizer, such as gelatin, may be added. This is also called "blended yogurt." Swiss yogurt is fermented in vats and then transferred to cups. This process breaks the gel, so that artificial binders and stabilizers must be added.
Fruit-added or plain yogurt has a runnier consistency. The whey, the clear liquid at the top, should be stirred into the solids.
Yogurt also comes in liquid form, called "kefir," which may contain added sweeteners such as corn syrup.
Heat-treated. Some yogurt manufacturers market "heat-treated yogurt" to prolong shelf life or decrease tartness and produce a more pudding-type texture. While perhaps more appealing to some, the heat treatment of the yogurt after the cultures have been added kills much of the health benefits of the yogurt.
5. The benefits of plain yogurt. Ounce for ounce, plain yogurt is more nutritious than fruit-added preparations. Notice the differences on the labels:
Plain yogurt contains around one-half of the calories of the same amount of fruit-added yogurt.
Plain yogurt contains almost twice the amount of proteins.
Plain yogurt contains fewer fillers.
Plain yogurt contains more calcium.
Plain yogurt contains no added sugar.
If plain yogurt doesn't appeal to you, buy plain yogurt and flavor it with your favorite fruit. This way you control the sweeteners.
5 WAYS TO USE YOGURT AS A NUTRITIOUS SUBSTITUTE
Yogurt is one of the most versatile foods, especially for children who love dips and toppings. It can be used as a substitute for many high-fat foods. Here are some suggestions.
1. Use yogurt in place of mayonnaise. Non- fat, plain yogurt contains less than ten percent of the calories, less than one percent of the fat, and around three percent of the cholesterol of an equal amount of regular mayonnaise. Combining equal amounts of low-calorie mayonnaise and lowfat yogurt works well for many dishes, including potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad, tuna salad, dips, and appetizers.
2. A favorite with toddlers. Yogurt makes a tasty and nutritious dip for toddlers, who love to dip their exploring fingers into new foods. It is also a favorite topping for toddler foods and a time-honored bait to entice toddlers to try new foods. (See Nibble Tray)
3. Try whole plain yogurt as a healthy alternative to sour cream. It is much lower in calories, fat, and cholesterol. If you're adding it to a sauce in place of sour cream, heat it over very low heat so it doesn't curdle. After a while, switch to lowfat.
4. Try yogurt in baking recipes. Plain yogurt can often be substituted for milk, buttermilk, or sour cream in recipes for waffles, pancakes, and muffins.
5. Substitute yogurt for ice cream. Yogurt shakes and smoothies are a low-fat alternative to ice cream (See School-Ade recipe).
NUTRIMYTH: Frozen yogurt is always a healthy substitute for regular yogurt.
Not all frozen yogurts are created equal. Quality frozen yogurt will have at least 10 million live and active cultures (LAC) seal. The LAC seal signifies that the frozen yogurt has at least that amount of live and active cultures. While it has less live and active cultures than regular yogurt, frozen yogurt is still a good source of live and active cultures, calcium, and a delicious hot weather treat.
6 HEALTH BENEFITS OF LACTOBACTERIA
Healthy bacteria reside in everybody's colon, and in return for food and a warm place to live these resident bacteria contribute to your health. One of the most intestinal-friendly resident bacteria is the family of lactobacteria, so-called because they thrive on lactose sugars. The resident germ you will read most about is L.acidophilus, which means "acid- loving," because these organisms grow best in an acidic intestinal environment. Here are some healthy things these bacteria do for your body:
1. Improve digestion. Lactobacteria, as the name implies, help digest the lactose in dairy products, preventing lactose overload, and lessening problems with lactose intolerance. Lactobacteria also help with the absorption of valuable nutrients and stimulate peristalsis, the movement of food through the intestines that leads to regular bowel movements.
2. Manufacture vitamins. Like rich soil grows vitamin-rich foods, lactobacteria produce B-complex vitamins, along with vitamin K.
3. Manufacture nutrients. Friendly bacteria help manufacture essential fatty acids called short chain fatty acids (SCFA). These are valuable nutrients for intestinal cells and also produce cancer-fighting substances.
4. Boost immunity. Lactobacteria inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and fungi, such as candida (yeast). They help keep the intestinal environment acidic and compete with harmful bacteria and the toxins they produce. They even produce hydrogen peroxide, which has a natural antibiotic effect.
5. Protect against carcinogens. Lactobacteria bind potential carcinogens, preventing them from damaging cells. L.bulgaricus, the main lactobacillus used in yogurt, has anti-tumor properties. Specifically, lactobacteria bind heavy metals and bile acids, which are potential carcinogens. These bacteria inhibit the growth of nitrate-producing bacteria (nitrates can be a carcinogen). They also metabolize flavanoids, producing natural anti-tumor substances.
6. Protect against cardiovascular disease. Lactobacteria help regulate cholesterol and tryglyceride levels in the blood.
Be kind to the bugs in your bowels. They do good things for you.
YOGURT FOR BREAKFAST
A nutriperk in yogurt could theoretically improve school performance by perking up the brain. Yogurt is relatively high in the amino acid tyrosine (a neurostimulant) and low in the amino acid tryptophan (a neurosedative). Add yogurt to other brain foods, such as flax oil (for brain-building fatty acids) and soy foods (for protein and blood-sugar stabilization), and you have three synergistic foods that form the basic ingredients for our School-Ade recipe. I have personally felt the effects of this nutriperk by drinking a smoothie with these three basic ingredients each morning before I go to work.
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 01/16/2010 03:17 AM
01/16/2010 03:41 AM
Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have."
"Oh Lord annointed with the yogurt of the milk-maids worship (Krishna), Oh savior of the fallen, Oh Master of Shiva, please protect me." -Sanscrit Poem
Fermenting is Fun
Fermenting your own foods can be a healthy, fun, and nutritious hobby. We feel that anything you can make at home is much better than commercialized foods. We have put together a summary of fermented foods followed by a few recipes. Enjoy.
The Definitive Guide to Fermented Foods (Please read the comments, they are CHOCK FULL of great info)...
We live in a world dominated by microbes. The Earth's microorganisms are able to adapt to almost any environment and thrive. Bacteria have been found in the icy regions of Antarctica, near the surface of volcanic vents in the Atlantic, and even in our digestive tracts. Our civilization is but a pale comparison to the invisible world of microbes that surrounds us. It is likely that these microbes will adapt and survive beyond human existence.
It is not surprising that microbes have become experts of adaptation when you consider the evolutionary pressures of their world. They are constantly disrupted by changes in environment, competition from other species, attacks from specialized viruses (i.e. bacteriophages), and a shifting food supply. Imagine trying to survive in a world filled with rampant diseases, famines, hurricanes, and floods, and you'll begin to appreciate the world of the microbe.
Some microbes have colluded with the competition to form symbiotic relationships. For example, the bacterial strains Streptococcus thermophilus and Lactobacilllus bulgaricus, work together and transform milk into tasty yogurt. The thirty or so strains of bacteria and yeast found in Kefir, a traditional fermented drink of the Caucasians, band together to form complex ecology capable of digesting almost any food source and staving off harmful pathogens. The microbes of Kefir even provide themselves with homes in the form of Kefir grains that are composed of a polysaccharide matrix.
Our ancient ancestors did not live in a sterile environment. It is likely that they ingested various microbes found naturally in their foods. Some of these microbes were beneficial to their life while others caused infections and disease. Somewhere along the way in their struggle for survival, our ancestors allied themselves with certain species of microbes. Our intestines have evolved into a perfect microbial farm. We provide these microbes with furnished home and plenty of food, in return, they produce beneficial nutrients and help defend us from pathogens. About a thousand years ago, our ancestors began to experimenting with fermenting their own foods with beneficial strains to prevent spoilage, fight infections, and increase absorption of nutrients. This action further allied our bodies with the microbial world.
Benefits of Fermented Foods:
Nobel Prize winner Dr. Elie Metchnikoff was one of the first scientists to recognize the benefits of eating fermented foods. His research in the early 1900's focused on the Bulgarians. He believed the daily ingestion of yogurt was a major contribution to their superior health and longevity. Today, if you search the Internet on probiotics, you will find an almost endless supply of reasons why “good bacteria” are good for you. We hope to convince you that fermenting your own foods is cheaper, more fun, and better for you than just popping a pill of freeze dried bacteria.
Detoxify and Preserve:
If there's anything that the microbial world does well, it is detoxifying things. Today, Bacteriologists periodically visit old military facilities in search of new strains of bacteria living off of contaminants in the soil. If you put it in the ground and give them enough time to mutate and evolve, these microbes will find a way to break it down. This probably holds true for any organic chemical. These earthly microbes purify the world.
Not only have we been able to use the detoxifying properties of microbes to breakdown nasty substances, such as oil spills, military dumps, and sewer plants, we also use them to detoxify our food and water and increase shelf lives. For centuries, Europeans used wine as a source of clean, durable water. Bulgarians perfected the art of detoxifying and preserving milk (removing the lactose and predigesting the proteins) and transforming it into yogurt and cheese. The Caucasians used Kefir grains for the same purpose: detoxify milk products to make Kefir. Vegetables were also fermented to preserve them from spoilage. Most of the pickled products found on our grocery shelves were at one time a fermented product: pickles, saurkraut, and even catsup (a Chinese word for pickled fish brine). However, since fermentation isn't always a uniform process, manufacturers found another way to make these products.
Fight Off Infections:
Competition between microbes can be fierce. The good bacteria that are normal inhabitants of our intestinal tracts will fight off many foreign intruders. They can be seen as our first line of defense in the war of infection. Scientists have documented many different substances produced by lactobacilli (lactic acid bacteria) that have been found to inhibit harmful microorganisms. For example, lactobacillus acidophilus produces several substances while fermenting milk, including acidolin, acidophillin, lactobacillan, and lactocidin. These substances have been shown to inhibit pathogenic bacteria, such as Salmonella, while leaving other lactobacilli and human cells unharmed These antibiotic agents are found in fermented milk, but not always in a probiotic pill. A 2000 study led by Dr. Chitra N. Wendakoon of the University of Alberta, Edmonton, found that fermented milk products, like yogurt, can kill Helicobacter pylori (the ulcer causing bacteria) but that the beneficial bacteria alone cannot. This means that probiotics in pill form would have no effect on H. pylori but that homemade yogurt and Kefir would.
Nutritious to Boot:
Fermented products are a great source of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. The process of fermentation increases the amounts of some vitamins. Fermented milk is a great source of energetic B vitamins while fermented vegetables are a great source of Vitamin C. Sauerkraut often served as military rations in ancient armies, most notably the Mongolians, and was used to prevent scurvy. The process of fermentation also increases the bioavailability of these foods.
Harnessing the Power of Microbes:
Pills versus Food:
We have already mentioned earlier that dairy products fermented with lactobacilli have been shown to kill pathogenic bacteria, such as H. pylori, while the lactobacilli alone did not. This means that some of the antibiotic properties of these good bacteria may be missing in the probiotic pills you see on the shelves. Also, you have no way of verifying the potency or vitality of these products. Bacteria are living organisms and must be alive when you eat them in order to reap their benefits. It does no good to ingest dead, good bacteria. Furthermore, good quality probiotics are often very expensive. For instance, a month's supply from a popular vendor may cost as much as $80 to $100 per month. With a budget of $100 per month, you can make all the sauerkraut, kefir, and yogurt you'll need. Not only will you be getting the benefits of these beneficial bacteria, you will be making delicious and healthy meals as well. The only benefit store probiotics offer is convenience. However, once you get started, fermenting your own foods is very easy.
Please Use Caution:
Before we get too far into fermenting your own foods, we want to emphasize two caveats of fermentation. First, the process of fermentation is only good for you if it occurs outside of your body. What does this mean? It means that if you ingest foods that provide an abundance of sugar and growth media for bacteria, they will ferment those foods inside of you. An overgrowth of fermentative bacteria in your body can cause all kinds of medical problems, including Crohn's Disease, Ankylosing Spondylitis, candidiasis , and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. So the key is to pre-ferment your foods, that is to say, ferment your milk before you eat it.
Secondly, please do not eat spoiled fermented foods. In some rare instances, fermented foods can be overtaken by mold or become spoiled. In these cases, throw out the result and start anew.
Commercial versus Homemade:
In our opinion homemade products are better all around. For one, you do not have to trust a manufacturer with your health. You have total control over what you are eating. You can purchase the best milk and/or vegetables to use. Commercial products are usually geared for taste and not health. In the case of yogurt, this means that commercial yogurt usually has a high lactose content and is usually loaded with sugar. Homemade yogurt can be made to eliminate virtually all of the lactose and will be much fresher than anything you can buy in a store. If the taste isn't to your liking, you can add in fresh fruit and/or honey to sweeten it up. Store bought Kefir has the same problems, you have no control over the lactose content in the end product. Another thing to consider is, real Kefir is difficult to find in the store. Quite often a manufacturer will label a product as Kefir when in fact it is not the real thing. In order for Kefir to be real, it needs to made from Kefir grains and not a powdered starter. As for fermented vegetables, such as sauerkraut, most commercial products have been pasteurized and do not contain live cultures. The pasteurization process not only kills the beneficial bacteria, but may also destroy many of the enzymes and nutrients. Commercial sauerkraut may also contain a fair amount of unnatural preservatives. We know that you will find fermenting your own foods at home more rewarding, healthier, cheaper than probiotics, and more enjoying than anything you could purchase in the store.
So you want to start fermenting your own foods, eh? Glad we could convince you. To get you started we've listed a few easy at home products you can make.
Making yogurt is very easy, especially if you own a yogurt maker. We recommend purchasing a Yogourmet Multi – they are cheap, easy to use, and can make 2 quarts per batch. You can get a yogurt maker and yogurt starter from a trusted friend at Lucy's Kitchen Shop. Once you have a starter and a yogurt maker, all you need is some milk (we recommend using Half-n-Half) and some patience. The directions that come with the maker provide a fermentation of 6 hours. However, we recommend you ferment your yogurt for 24 hours to eliminate all lactose in the yogurt. Any residual lactose could be used as food for bacteria already found in your GI-tract and result in fermentation in your intestines. CAUTION: Those of you following the SC Diet MUST ferment your yogurt for 24 hours in order to stay on the diet. Please refer to page 131 of “Breaking the Vicious Cycle” for more instructions on making SCD legal yogurt.
Kefir is a fermented milk product made from Kefir grains. Unlike yogurt, Kefir is made from lactobacillus bacteria and several different yeast organisms and is fermented at room temperature. The most difficult step in making Kefir is getting someone to sell/give you some Kefir grains. It would be impossible for us to give Kefir any justice when there is a website out there that will describe everything and anything you need to know about Kefir. The web site is called Dom's Kefir In-site. Dom also sponsors an egroups list you can join to find someone to share Kefir grains with you and to answer any question you may have about Kefir. For those of you on the SC Diet, here are some directions from the wise Dominic about eliminating the lactose in the Kefir:
“I find a good way to eliminate lactose even further is to ferment the kefir per usual (24 hours), strain, then keep the strained kefir in a bottle (at room temperature) for a further 2 -3 days before consuming (ongoing fermentation). I don't keep my strained kefir in the fridge any more, but keep it like this in a cupboard. The kefir is still good even after 6-7 days. One must give the bottle which the kefir is continuously fermenting in, a shake at least once daily. This is so that the microbes (mainly the yeasts) are mixed in well. Other wise one may find a film or colonies of yeast or the acetic acid forming bacteria on top of the kefir. This is safe, but some lactose digesting yeasts may be flourishing mainly in this top layer, shaking will help to distribute them into the kefir, where you want them to do their work (breaking down lactose). This continuous fermentation can also be done in the fridge, but I find that a more pleasant tasting kefir, with markedly reduced lactose is achieved this way, (at room temp.). One can also keep fermenting the kefir, like above, in an air tight bottle. After the second day or so, an effervescent kefir will be produced. But i must point out that the bottle must not be filled more that 3/4 full. Of course, one could also ferment the original kefir for 48 hours, then follow on with the suggestions above. This may further make sure that the lactose content would be eliminated to a greater extent, and possibly in a smaller amount of time.”
3. Sauerkraut, Easy & Excellent:
Sauerkraut can be made in several different ways. The traditional recipe involves shredding and pounding fresh cabbage, adding salt, and submerging it under water for several days. The natural bacteria in the cabbage, such as lactobacillus plantarum, will natural begin to ferment the cabbage while the salt inhibits other microbes. You can eliminate the use of salt altogether by innoculating the shredded cabbage and water solution with yogurt starter or Kefir grains. A superior recipe can be found on Aquaman's Website. A traditional recipe follows:
1 Fresh Medium Cabbage (red or green)
2 Tablespoons Pickling Salt (Please no iodine, it will kill the bacteria)
Distilled Water (or filtered and non-chlorinated)
Shred the cabbage. In a large bowl, mix shredded cabbage and salt together. Pound the cabbage mixture to expel the juices. Place pounded cabbage and juices in a medium sized glass jar (1 Quart Sized). Press down firmly on the cabbage. Add distilled water until cabbage is fully submerged. Solution should be at least one inch from the top of the jar. Cover the jar and let sit for 3 to 7 days at room temperature. Store in the refrigerator. Alternatively, one can use Kefir grains to ferment the cabbage, just eliminate the use of salt.
4. Pickled Ginger, Very Easy and Excellent!:
4 lbs fresh ginger root
1 tablespoon pickling salt (no iodine)
½ package of yogurt starter
1 cup Distilled Water (or filtered and non-chlorinated)
Peel and cut ginger into very thin slices. Pound ginger slices to expel juices.
Place juices and pounded ginger into a glass jar. Mix with salt and water.
Add yogurt starter and seal. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 5 days.
Store in the refrigerator.
For more information:
Dom's Kefir In-site: How to Make Kefir (The best source for Kefir anywhere).
Probiotics: Nature's Internal Healers, by Natash TrenevBreaking the Vicious Cycle: Intestinal Health through Diet by Elaine Gottschall.Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon, Mary G. Enig, and Kim Waters.Beyond Probiotics, by Ann Gittleman.Acidophilus and Colon Health: How to Prevent Illness, Build Immunity, and Live a Longer, Healthier Life, by David Webster.
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 01/16/2010 04:01 AM
01/16/2010 04:38 AM
10 Top Foods that Prevent Inflammation in Your Body
Although these ARE NOT fermented foods, I use these foods regularly to help with the inflamation caused by leaky gut issues! The ones that seem to work the best for me are garlic, ginger, tumeric, and fermented foods. INFLAMMATION CAN CAUSE PAIN, I read a discussion recently where a microbiologist who had fibro used ginger to alleviate most of his symptoms...real, homemade ginger tea!
Do you want to feel healthy, energetic, and fight disease and the signs of aging? Then you need to know about inflammation and how to reduce it.
If you have heart disease, high blood pressure, bacterial or viral infections, osteoporosis, arthritis, acid reflux, candidiasis or acne, then you could also have chronic, low-grade inflammation. In fact, if you have any number of other diseases, it is likely you have inflammation. And if you want to get or remain healthy, you definitely want to reduce the damaging effects of it!
Inflammation has a positive and negative affect in your body. Inflammation has a positive side because it helps your body respond to stress. But chronic low-grade inflammation is thought to be one of the leading causes of disease, premature aging and illness.
When you get a cold, your body responds with inflammation in the form of a fever that helps you heal. The inflammation does its job, gets rid of the virus, and disappears. But if your immunity is compromised and your body is constantly stressed, you might experience chronic low-grade inflammation that leaves you more susceptible to illness and disease.
Learn more about inflammation by reading Inflammation: The Real Cause of All Disease and How to Reduce and Prevent It.
Fight Inflammation the Natural Way
You can help your body fight inflammation by reducing stress, eliminating sugar and processed foods, and getting enough sunshine.
Diet is a key part of your inflammation-fighting plan, and some foods have amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
Here 10 excellent inflammation-fighting foods and ways to incorporate them into your lifestyle:1
Broccoli has tons of vitamin C and plenty of calcium. It also fights eye inflammation. Make sure you lightly steam your broccoli to digest it well.
Hemp oil (and all other oils with omega-3 fatty acids) reduce inflammation. Most Americans consume too many omega-6 fatty acids, so it's important to incorporate more omega-3 fatty acids. Hemp oil also has gamma-linoleic acid (GLA) to further fight inflammation. Remember to look for unrefined organic oils.
Wild-caught salmon is another way to get beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. You can also try other fatty fish like cod and sardines.
Tart cherries can reduce inflammation ten times better than aspirin! Once your inner ecosystem is well underway you are in stage 2 of Body Ecology. Tart cherries help reduce your risk for heart disease. They are certainly more delicious than the popular over-the-counter pill you are likely familiar with.
Soaked walnuts make a delicious and inflammation-fighting snack when you are ready for stage 2 of Body Ecology because of vitamin E and more heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Soak your walnuts and other nuts before you eat them to remove the enzyme inhibitor. This makes them easier to digest.
Onions and Garlic. Onions not only provide a sweet taste to your savory meals, but also they have lots of quercetin, a potent antioxidant that can help your body fight inflammation. Try onions with your grain dishes, or prepare with eggs and greens. Garlic has long been a folk remedy for colds and illness, and its anti-inflammatory properties are amazing! Garlic contains sulfur compounds that stimulate your immune system to fight disease.
Fermented Foods and Liquids like Dong Quai, InnergyBiotic, and Coco-Biotic should be at the top of your list of inflammation-fighting foods. They are anti-inflammation super stars for many reasons. One example is that they build immunity and help control infections that are often an underlying cause of inflammation.
Pineapple is a tart fruit that you can begin to eat in Stage 2 of the Body Ecology diet. It has bromelain, an antioxidant that boosts your immunity naturally.
Spinach has plenty of carotenoids, one kind of inflammation-reducing antioxidant and it also contains vitamin E.
Spices: Ginger & Tumeric
Turmeric is a spice used extensively in other cultures, and for good reason. It contains curcumin, a substance that actively reduces inflammation. Try sprinkling turmeric onto cooked squash or quinoa for a different flavor.
Ginger works in a way similar to tumeric to lower inflammation and in some studies has been shown to reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Wild-caught salmon is the only kind you should consider eating if you are serious about reducing inflammation. Farmed salmon (and other fish) have high levels of arachadonic acid, a fatty acid that is destructive if you get too much. Instead, try wild caught Alaskan Salmon from Vital Choice, our pick for omega-3 rich salmon and other healthy fish.
While processed foods may seem like the easier choice at first, they deplete your health over the long haul. Developing a healthy eating plan can sometimes seem difficult but like anything that is new, it becomes second nature over time. And the payoff is well worth it: with a proper diet, you can take a proactive stance against inflammation and disease by incorporating these superfoods into your life.
With diet and lifestyle choices that support your health, you'll fight disease, illness and the signs of aging!
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 01/16/2010 04:46 AM
02/12/2010 12:24 PM
Well, I wanted to share a Fermented Food Recipe that I just found which I'm looking forward to making with my daughter! RADISHES are specifically good for the thyroid!
Bread-and-Butter Radishes Recipe
Total: 45 mins
Active: 20 mins
Makes: 1 3/4 cup
By Regan Burns
Pickling radishes mellows their flavor so they're not as peppery as normal yet still have a great crisp texture, plus a sweet-and-sour edge. Anything that you would normally put radishes on—a simple green salad, burgers, or poached fish—gets dressed up by this quick pickle. Try it on our Pickled Radish and Sweet Butter Tea Sandwiches for an easy and elegant snack.
Game plan: Pickles will last in the refrigerator, covered, for up to five days.
This recipe was featured as part of our Mother's Day Tea Party story.
1 bunch red radishes (about 13 radishes)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon whole coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 medium dried bay leaf
Rinse radishes and trim off their leafy tops. Holding the stem end, thinly slice radishes with a mandoline or a sharp knife. When you get close to the stem, stop slicing and discard the end. Place radishes in a heatproof, nonreactive bowl, and set in the refrigerator while making the brine.
Combine red wine vinegar, sugar, water, salt, mustard seed, coriander seed, peppercorns, and bay leaf in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved.
Remove from heat and let pickling brine cool for about 5 minutes. Remove radishes from the refrigerator and pour brine over them. Let cool at room temperature for 20 minutes; cover and refrigerate. Use to top burgers, sandwiches, or anything else that needs a little tarting up.
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 02/15/2010 07:10 PM
03/01/2010 03:12 AM
While coconut oil is not a FERMENTED FOOD, it does provide the "good bacteria" that I'm currently having success with to detox with. It is raw (UNREFINED), EXTRA VIRGIN organic, coconut oil!
Newbies should start out with a very small amount, it can cause huge die off symptoms that can be mistaken as an allergic reaction, otherwise. Just to be certain, start by rubbing it on your skin for a few days to see how you respond. This way, it is absorbed transdermally in smaller amounts. Then, you can proceed by using a teaspoon or so in cooking, slowly increasing the amount each week.
I've read that three tablespoons a day is ultimately the best dosage for chronic illness and increased energy! Most of the women in my weight loss group swear by it!
Here are some facts that can be printed out which explain how BENEFICIAL coconut oil is for you! It truly is a great thing to do for your health, not only for those suffering from candida, but for overall health! Remember, if it isn't RAW, UNREFINED, ORGANIC, COLD PRESSED, EXTRA VIRGIN COCONUT OIL then you will not get the same benefits and it certainly won't taste as SWEET!
Post edited by: ohfaithful, at: 03/03/2010 08:17 PM
03/10/2010 09:30 AM
Another EXCELLENT remedy for treating CANDIDA, is OIL OF OREGANO. It is very potent and and has terrific antifungal, antiparastic, antibacterial, ANTIBIOTIC properties. Again, like other products, please make sure that the bottle says 100% PURE Oregano oil, otherwise, you are getting an ALREADY DILUTED PRODUCT!
Although I'm hesitant to suggest brands, the one that I always use and have found to be most effective, is the NOW brand that says 100% PURE OREGANO OIL! However, it is so very strong that you have to DILUTE it first before using. I dilute it by 50% with raw coconut oil, however, you can also dilute it using olive oil.
Other brands are more expensive and again, are already diluted. Some brands say WILD, etc., but that is a marketing ploy and it is ALREADY diluted! One bottle of the NOW, 100% pure brand, lasts for months and months and again, is PURE, 100% oregano oil! You can find it at your local Health Food Store or online at IHerb or Amazon.com.
To get it into your blood stream, I say use it in conjunction with the raw coconut oil. Put the raw coconut oil in the palm of your hand and add a few drops of oregano oil then RUB IT INTO YOUR SKIN!!! Do this until you've covered most of your upper torso and your feet, if you have candida, do it when you have time to lay down because the die-off is going to be extensive and you probably will become VERY fatigued! If this happens, don't be alarmed because THIS IS DIE-OFF, NOT AN ALLERGIC REACTION!!!!
I do this continuously for a week at a time, then take a three or four days off, then start it again. My thought process behind this is that it gives my body a rest from all the die-off symptoms and allows me to recover by using GOOD BACTERIA in the form of organic kefir, organic yogurt, and fermented foods to rebuild my immune system. I also make sure that I use OREGANO in my COOKING as often as possible!
AGAIN, CANDIDA is a fungus that CAN LEAD TO OTHER AUTOIMMUNE illnesses if it is left UNTREATED! You may not have any outward signs of THE RASH that can manifest itself, but there are other signs to look for that include chronic fatigue, nail blemishes, sinus problems, urinary tract infections, yeast infections, DEPRESSION, ADHD, arthritis, heart disease, etc.
Here's what I found at ANSWERS.COM ABOUT THE GREAT BENEFITS OF THIS SPICE.
1. A perennial Eurasian herb (Origanum vulgare) of the mint family, having aromatic leaves.
Flavourful dried leaves and flowering tops of any of various perennial herbs of the mint family, particularly Origanum vulgare. Oregano is an essential ingredient of Mediterranean cuisines; in the U.S., use of oregano rose sharply in the late 20th century, largely because of the popularity of pizza. Native to the Mediterranean and western Asia, the herbs are now naturalized in parts of Mexico and the U.S.
Home > Library > Science > Sci-Tech Encyclopedia
A herb, also known as wild marjoram. The dried leaves of several species of aromatic plants are known as oregano; thus oregano is a common name for a general flavor and aroma rather than the name of a specific plant.
European (Origanum vulgare) and Greek (O. herva-cleoticum) oregano are both in the mint family (Lamiaceae). Mexican oregano is obtained primarily from plants of Lippia graveolens. These small aromatic shrubs in the verbena family grow wild in Mexico. Origanum oil used in perfumery is steam-distilled primarily from Spanish oregano, Thymus capitatus. See also Lamiales.
European oregano can be distinguished by its strong piquant character and tall growth with dark, broad leaves; it is a perennial erect herb 2–3 ft tall (0.6–1 m) with pubescent stems, ovate dark green leaves, and white or purple flowers. Native to southern Europe, southwest Asia, and the Mediterranean countries, European oregano is usually found growing in the dry, rocky, calcareous soils of the mountain regions. Greece, Italy, Spain, Turkey, and the United States are the primary sources of European oregano.
Dried oregano leaves are used as a culinary herb in meat and sausage products, salads, soups, Mexican foods, and barbeque sauces. The essential oil of oregano is used in food products, cosmetics, and liqueurs. See also Marjoram; Spice and flavoring.
[oh-rehg-uh-noh] Greek for "joy of the mountain," oregano was almost unheard of in the United States until soldiers came back from Italian World War II assignments raving about it. This herb, sometimes called wild marjoram, belongs to the mint family and is related to both marjoram and thyme. Oregano is similar to marjoram but is not as sweet and has a stronger, more pungent flavor and aroma. Because of its pungency, it requires a bit more caution in its use. Mediterranean oregano is milder than the Mexican variety, which is generally used in highly spiced dishes. Fresh Mediterranean or European oregano is sometimes available in gourmet produce sections of supermarkets and in Italian or Greek markets. Choose bright-green, fresh-looking bunches with no sign of wilting or yellowing. Refrigerate in a plastic bag for up to 3 days. Dried Mediterranean oregano is readily available in any supermarket in both crumbled and powdered forms. The stronger-flavored Mexican oregano can generally be found in its dried form in Latin markets. As with all dried herbs, oregano should be stored in a cool, dark place for no more than 6 months. Oregano goes extremely well with tomato-based dishes and is a familiar pizza herb. See also herbs.
Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Columbia Encyclopedia
oregano (ərĕg'ənō, name for several herbs used for flavoring food. A plant of the family Labiatae (mint family), Origanum vulgare, also called Spanish thyme and wild marjoram, is the usual source for the spice sold as oregano in the Mediterranean countries and in the United States. Its flavor is similar to that of marjoram but slightly less sweet. In Spain and Italy many other Origanum species are also grown as oregano. A related herb (Coleus amboinicius) of the same family, called suganda in its native Indomalaysia, is known as oregano in the Philippines and Mexico, where it is a popular flavoring. Several other herbs also provide spices called oregano, e.g., species of Lippia and Lantana of the verbena family. In all cases the flavoring is made from the dried herbage. Oregano is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Lamiales, family Labiatae.
The Nutritional Value for: oregano
Home > Library > Food & Cooking > Nutritional Values
(grams) Saturated Fat
1 tsp 5 1 0 0 1.5 0 0
Home > Library > Health > Aromatherapy
Oregano has a sharp, herbal scent. It is often used in the aromatherapy treatment of coughs and digestion.
Safety Precautions: May irritate skin, mucous membrane.
Home > Library > Miscellaneous > Wikipedia
This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. Please improve this article if you can. (August 2008)
For other uses, see Oregano (disambiguation).
Species: O. vulgare
Oregano (pronounced UK: /ɒrɨˈɡɑːnoʊ/, US: /əˈrɛɡənoʊ/), also Origanum vulgare) is a species of Origanum of the mint family that is native to Europe, the Mediterranean region and southern and central Asia. It is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm long, produced in erect spikes.
• 1 Varieties
• 2 Uses
o 2.1 Culinary
o 2.2 Health benefits
• 3 Other plants called oregano
• 4 Etymology
• 5 See also
• 6 References
• 7 External links
There are a number of subspecies of oregano. For example, O. vulgare hirtum (Italian oregano), O. vulgare gracile, as well as cultivars, with each evincing distinct flavours.
Dried oregano for culinary use.
Oregano growing in a field.
Oregano is an important culinary herb. It is particularly widely used in Turkish, Greek, Portuguese, Spanish, Latin American, and Italian cuisine. It is the leaves that are used in cooking, and the dried herb is often more flavourful than the fresh.
Oregano is often used in tomato sauces, fried vegetables, and grilled meat. Together with basil, it contributes much to the distinctive character of many Italian dishes.
It is commonly used by local chefs in southern Philippines when boiling carabao or cow meat to eliminate the odor of the meat, and to add a nice, spicy flavor.
Oregano combines nicely with pickled olives, capers, and lovage leaves. Unlike most Italian herbs, oregano works with hot and spicy food, which is popular in southern Italy.
Oregano is an indispensable ingredient in Greek cuisine. Oregano adds flavor to Greek salad and is usually added to the lemon-olive oil sauce that accompanies many fish or meat barbecues and some casseroles.
In Turkish Cuisine, oregano is mostly used for flavoring meat, especially for mutton and lambs meat. In barbecue and kebab restaurants, it can be usually found on table, together with paprika, salt and pepper.
Oregano growing in a pot.
It has an aromatic, warm and slightly bitter taste. It varies in intensity; good quality oregano is so strong that it almost numbs the tongue, but the cultivars adapted to colder climates have often unsatisfactory flavor. The influence of climate, season and soil on the composition of the essential oil is greater than the difference between the various species.
The related species Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. heracleoticum (Italy, Balkan peninsula, West Asia) have similar flavors. A closely related plant is marjoram from Turkey, which, however, differs significantly in taste, because phenolic compounds are missing in its essential oil. Some breeds show a flavor intermediate between oregano and marjoram.
The dish most commonly associated with oregano is pizza. Its variations have probably been eaten in Southern Italy for centuries. Oregano became popular in the US when returning WW2 soldiers brought back with them a taste for the “pizza herb”.
Oregano is high in antioxidant activity, due to a high content of phenolic acids and flavonoids. Additionally, oregano has demonstrated antimicrobial activity against food-borne pathogens such as Listeria monocytogenes. Both of these characteristics may be useful in both health and food preservation. In the Philippines, oregano (Coleus aromaticus) is not commonly used for cooking but is rather considered as a primarily medicinal plant, useful for relieving headaches and coughs.
This section may require copy-editing for transcription from source.
Main constituents include carvacrol, thymol, limonene, pinene, ocimene, and caryophyllene. The leaves and flowering stems are strongly antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic and mildly tonic. Aqueous extracts, capsules, or oil extracts of oregano are taken by mouth for the treatment of colds, influenza, mild fevers, fungal infections, indigestion, stomach upsets, enteric parasites, and painful menstruation. Edible oregano preparations such as these were first introduced to the North American market by an Illinois based company, North American Herb & Spice.
It is strongly sedative and should not be taken in large doses, though mild teas have a soothing effect and aid restful sleep. Used topically, oregano is one of the best antiseptics because of its high thymol content.
Hippocrates, the father of medicine, used oregano as an antiseptic as well as a cure for stomach and respiratory ailments. A Cretan oregano (O. dictamnus) is still used today in Greece to soothe a sore throat.
Oregano has recently been found to have extremely effective properties against methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), showing a higher effectiveness than 18 currently used drugs.
Oil of oregano has been found helpful against ear infections.
Practitioners of alternative medicine often recommend oregano as an herb essential to aid in the recovery of a variety of ailments.
Other plants called oregano
Mexican oregano, Lippia graveolens (Verbenaceae) is closely related to lemon verbena. It is a highly studied herb that is said to be of some medical use and is common in curandera female shamanic practices in Mexico and the Southwestern United States. Mexican oregano has a very similar flavour to oregano, but is usually stronger. It is becoming more commonly sold outside of Mexico, especially in the United States. It is sometimes used as a substitute for epazote leaves; this substitution would not work the other way round.
Several other plants are also known as oregano in various parts of Mexico, including Poliomintha longiflora, Lippia berlandieri, and Plectranthus amboinicus (syn. Coleus aromaticus), also called Cuban oregano.
In the Philippines, oregano, Plectranthus amboinicus, is not commonly used as a cooking ingredient but is primarily considered a medicinal plant, useful for relieving children's coughs.
Oregano is the anglicized form of the Italian word origano, or possibly of the medieval Latin organum; this latter is used in at least one Old English work. Both were drawn from Classical Latin term origanum, which probably referred specifically to sweet marjoram, and was itself a derivation from the Greek origanon ὀρίγανον, which simply referred to "an acrid herb". The etymology of the Greek term is often given as oros ὄρος "mountain" + the verb ganousthai γανοῦσθαι "delight in", but the Oxford English Dictionary notes that it is quite likely a loanword from an unknown North African language.
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