Morgan Botanicals

  (Loveland, Colorado)
Herbal Information and Recipes
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The Pumpkin Is More Than an Oversized Vegetable

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

To me, the pumpkin is more than just an oversized vegetable. In fact, it has a very long history-once considered a symbol of the whole world, a container of everything ever created. Early societies saw symbolism and spiritual significance in many round objects, from rocks to seeds and, yes, the pumpkin. If you look at the pumpkin you know it mean business: it's big, it's round, it's heavy and it's food, usually a lot of it. It's the whole world in a neat little package, so what else can it mean? Just that: the world. And that is exactly what it meant in the Old World. As the largest fruit of creation and full of seeds, it became a symbol of plenty. Pumpkins, together with corn (maize) and beans were an important foodstuff in the early Americas. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers, returning from their journeys, brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World. Pumpkins, and their seeds, were celebrated for a long time, both for their dietary and medicinal properties. 

But things have changed a little bit with this famous Cucurbit as its means as an important food source has declined and has fallen to the holidays merely for its ability to be a rather yummy pie and the traditional face of Halloween. And as we excitedly scoop out the endless supply of pumpkin seeds from our pumpkin patch pumpkins, we have lost sight of the value of these mere seeds. Maybe they're saved, maybe not. If lucky, they get salted and roasted and devoured. Maybe they get glued on to craft time projects or strung into kiddy necklaces. But, these seeds shouldn't be forgotten as they are one of Natures almost perfect foods and truly deserve a place in the everyday diet and medicine cabinet.

Pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, contain a wide range of traditional nutrients. Our food ranking system qualified them as a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein and zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.

In addition to their above-listed health benefits, pumpkin seeds have been associated with Prostatitis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Osteoporosis, kidney/bladder disorders, elevated blood lipids and cholesterol, help with depression, learning disabilities, and elimination of parasites from the body.

Pumpkin seeds also make a nutritious culinary oil as well as a highly nourishing and lubricating oil that is useful for all skin types. It is especially good if used to combat fine lines and superficial dryness and to prevent moisture loss.

Not bad for a seed.

As it is the time of year where most of us will be scooping seeds of plenty from our Jack-O-Lanterns, don't forget to save those seeds as they are so important to our history and health.

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com

Copyright 2010. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Crazy About Chia!

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

Chia is often found growing on sunny hillsides, disturbed fields, prairies, and plains throughout the West and often after fires. This member of the sage family (Salvia columbariae) is very aromatic and worth growing. Chia will grow anywhere from 6- 24 inches tall and will have as many as 5 flower heads per stalk. The leaves are opposite, mostly basal and up to 4 inches long.

Seeds of this plant and the related species, S. mexicana, were an important food to the Indians and early settlers. These seeds are not only nutritious but easily digested. Some Indian tribes believed that a tablespoon of chia seed would give a warrior enough energy to go on a 24-hour forced march. When moistened, the seeds become mucilaginous and can be used to calm an upset stomach or made into poultices for topical wounds. If placed under the eyelid before retiring, this will help clean dirt from the eyes.

I think chia seeds are one of the most nutritious foods known to man, and besides providing an enormous amount of energy, they are high in protein, Omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and calcium.  These seeds are a good option for a child or adolescent, the pregnant women, vegetarian, or athletes and weight lifters who need that extra protein in their diet.

So what to do with all these Chia seeds you wonder? Well, Chia can be eaten raw, sprouted, roasted, or ground as a mush or as flour for bread. I mix them into meat loaf, breads and smoothies. One of my favorite ways to use them though is as a popular drink in Mexico called Agua de chia or Chia Seed Water. Here a great recipe to try at home.

Agua de Chia

  • 1 cup chia seeds
  • 2 quarts pure water
  • 1 cup raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime or lemon juice, or to taste
  • A sprinkling of powdered cinnamon

1. Soak chia seeds in water until they soften and take on a spongy consistency.

2. Sweeten the 2 quarts of water with the sugar, stirring to dissolve, and add the chia seeds and citrus juice.

2. Sprinkle with cinnamon and serve chilled.

 -Enjoy!

Find Chia seeds in my Local Harvest Store. 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 

Yarrow...A Local Favorite

Jessica Morgan, M.H.Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) belongs to the sunflower family and can be recognized by its highly segmented leaves (millefolium means "thousand leafed"), and the clusters of daisy-like white or lavender umbel shaped flowers at the top of the stalk. The entire plant is strongly aromatic and similar to mothballs ( as fresh or dried yarrow repels moths). This drought tolerant plant can easily be grown in most yards and responds best to soil that is poorly developed and well drained. It is frost hardy and can easily be grown from seed and/or division. It is a perfect addition to an ornamental bed or border, as well as the herb garden. Seeds require light for germination, so optimal germination occurs when planted no deeper than a quarter inch. Seeds also require a germination temperature of 65-75°F.  Yarrow is a weedy species and can become invasive so should be divided every other year, and planted 12 inches apart. You can find Yarrow Seeds here in my Local Harvest Store.


Yarrow is one of the best diaphoretic herbs and is a standard remedy for aiding the body with cold and flu symptoms as well as breaking fevers. I like mixing yarrow with elderflower and peppermint for an effective fever reducer for my family. Simple yarrow herb tea has also been used in the past for stimulating appetite, helping stomach cramps, flatulence, gastritis, enteritis, gallbladder and liver ailments and also aids internal hemorrhage - particularly of the lungs.

Externally, yarrow has been used for all sorts of external wounds and sores from chapped or broken skin to sore nipples and varicose veins. I include yarrow in my Sitting Pretty Sitz Bath because it is one of the best herbal antiseptic and hemostatic herbs that help stop bleeding and prevent infection in tears from child birth.

Although yarrow should not be used internally during pregnancy, it is otherwise a very safe herb and is a good first herb in the home apothecary for the beginning herbalist. You can find dried Yarrow Herb here in my Local Harvest Store.

***Use yarrow with caution if you are allergic to ragweed. Its use is not recommended while pregnant.

 

As always, please email any questions to herbalist@morganbotanicals.com.

Follow me on Twitter - MorganBotanical 

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. Jessica Morgan, M. H., Morgan Botanicals.

Disclaimer - The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional. You should not use the information in this article for self-diagnosis or to replace any prescriptive medication. You should consult with a health care professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem, suffer from allergies, are pregnant or nursing.

Jessica Morgan, M.H.

 
 
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