Tried and True Natural Remedies from the Past
by Rob Fischer
As I write this article, I’m looking at The Settlement Cook Book, compiled by Mrs. Simon Kander, printed in 1943. What strikes me about this amazing resource is the treasure trove of information it contains, much of which seems to have been forgotten.
For instance, Mrs. Kander explains how to:
- Remove ink stains with milk
- Clean mildew stains with powdered chalk
- Get rid of rust stains with lemon juice and salt
- Take out water stains from furniture with a hot cloth and olive oil.
It’s truly fascinating to uncover old, forgotten recipes and folk remedies—skills and knowledge that have been buried under the heap of modern convenience and so-called “progress.” It’s like sneaking into grandma’s attic and finding an old sea trunk filled with heirloom treasures!
I’d like to revive and introduce you to some well-worn, tried-and-true folk remedies from the past. Some you may recognize, others you might not. So let’s get started!
Black Strap Molasses
During the process of extracting sugar from sugar cane, a thick, dark syrup called blackstrap molasses is formed. Unlike refined sugar, blackstrap molasses still contains loads of healthy nutrients and minerals. But except for a few recipes that call for it, we might be hard pressed to find blackstrap molasses in many kitchens today. Most blackstrap molasses is destined for the livestock feedlot. Fortunately, blackstrap molasses is becoming more available in grocery stores as we relearn its health secrets—and they are many!
- Due to its high iron content, blackstrap molasses can help relieve PMS in women and improve overall mood.
- The combination of B vitamins, calcium and magnesium make blackstrap molasses a great way to combat stress.
- With a glycemic index nearly half that of refined sugar, blackstrap molasses is a good choice as a sweetener for those with type 2 diabetes.
- Blackstrap molasses is high in antioxidants and helps reduce free radicals, which cause cancer. This is also good news for those who suffer with arthritis as well.
- The lactic acid in blackstrap molasses serves as a natural remedy for acne and other skin conditions.
There are a variety of ways to take advantage of the health benefits of blackstrap molasses. You can use it as a sweetener in hot beverages and on oatmeal. To supplement with blackstrap molasses, mix 1 to 2 tablespoons into a cup of boiling water. Let it cool, then drink it. Do this in the morning for a boost of energy! Finally, you can use blackstrap molasses in a wide variety of baking applications including: muffins, breads, and cookies.
Extracted from sugar cane, blackstrap molasses hails from hot, tropical climates. On the opposite geographic and climatic spectrum we find maca root.
For thousands of years, the hardy peoples living at high elevations in the Andes Mountains of Peru have relied on maca root as one of their primary food staples. And no wonder, since little else can grow in such a harsh environment.
Maca root resembles a beet or radish and produces a small, plump tuber. It grows in a variety of colors: black, red and yellow. This vegetable, with its high protein, carbohydrate and nutrient count, earns the status of a superfood. Nutritionally and medically, maca root is classified as an adaptogen. Its healthy nutritional makeup helps us combat stress and normalizes our physiological functions.
Maca root boasts more than 20 amino acids, eight of which are essential. This tuber is loaded with vitamins B1, B2, C and E. It also provides a rich source of numerous minerals and phytonutrients.
Here are just a few of maca root’s health benefits:
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