A helping hand from nature

Helping Hand from Nature1It is not unusual for one to lose sight of the fact that many items on our kitchen shelves, especially spices and herbs that are known for healing properties, can benefit one's health, and are really cost effective. More of these will be discussed in a future article.


GINGER, with the warmth that it contains, has, for hundreds of years, been used to break down congestion; it also has anti-histamine properties. Ginger helps to dry out excessive mucus that is prominent with colds, sinusitis and bronchitis.
An easy way of preparing a ginger drink is to cut off, peel and crush a small piece of fresh root ginger, place in a cup and pour over boiling water. One can add honey to taste, then sip the brew when not scalding hot. Because of the heat in ginger, it stimulates circulation, helping the body to shed toxins more readily.
Those suffering with gall bladder problems, are prone to diahorrea, or those taking blood thinning tablets, must go easy on ginger.


PEPPERMINT was used medicinally in ancient Greece and Egypt. It also readily breaks up mucus from the sinuses. A post nasal drip can often be the cause of sore throats, and for this reason many throat lozenges have peppermint as an ingredient. The menthol in peppermint oil has mild anaesthetic and antiseptic effects on throat tissue and could assist in killing the cold virus. Peppermint is an excellent remedy for treating gastro-intestinal distress. It acts on the sphincter muscle between the oesophagus (food pipe) and the stomach, disallowing acid reflux, a common digestive complaint and a major cause of heartburn. It can, however, interfere with the processing of certain drugs and is not recommended with those having an hiatus hernia.
Most health shops carry peppermint oil, and the tea can be found in supermarkets, in a milder form.


CLOVES, having been scientifically studied in Germany, have proven to be a good antiseptic and pain killer. Readers may recollect a hint of clove when undergoing a dental procedure. In fact, in much earlier times, an agonizing toothache would be treated by chewing cloves. The ancients were wise and deserved credit for their knowledge. Cloves can also stimulate blood and lymph circulation, but in a milder way than ginger.


One must be aware that any spices may cause an allergic reaction in some people, the more serious being swelling of the tongue and throat, and may result in medical attention being urgently needed. Cloves should be avoided in cases of bleeding and problems with blood clotting.


To sum up, most spices and herbs used for cooking purposes rarely create problems when included in cosmetic and beauty products.
The delightful fragrances of ginger, cinnamon and clove in some of the MatsiMela Home Spa ranges are a delight to the senses, and the beneficial properties are measurable. Try any of them and see for yourself.