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PARSLEY (Petroselinum sativum/crispum - Umbelliferae) Parsley is a hardy biennial herb which is native to the eastern Mediterranean. It is thought to have originated in Sardinia, but records show that seeds were imported to Britain from Sardinia in 1548; the plant had already been introduced to northern Europe by the Romans. There are several varieties of the herb. The curly leaved or moss-curled is the one most familiar in Britain as a garnish. The plain- or flat-leaved, continental parsley has heavily divided leaves, but they are not so curly; this is the plant which can be confused with another, Aethusa cynapium or fool's parsley, which is poisonous. Less familiar is the Neapolitan parsley from southern Italy which has thick stalks, eaten in Italy like celery (and, in fact, its French name is 'persil aux jeuilles de cileri'). All parsleys have carrot-shaped roots which can be eaten, but the Hamburg parsley (P. fusiformis) has been developed for its roots rather than its leaves. The common parsleys have dark green leaves, pale yellow-green flowers in umbels, followed by fruit seeds. The name petroselinum comes from the Greek for rock celery, referring to the natural habitat of the plant. Interestingly, selinum is thought to be the same as selinon, the Greek name for celery; the Romans called parsley 'apium', also the botanical name for celery; and French fool's parsley is called ache des chiens, ache also once a name for wild celery. Celery also belongs to the Umbelliferae family, and possibly there have been confusions over the years. The Ancient Egyptians used parsley, as did the Greeks, who crowned victorious soldiers with wreaths of it. Hercules did this after killing the Nemean lion, and thereafter victors in the Nemean and Isthmian games would do the same. They believed that parsley had grown from the blood of a hero, Archemorus, and Homer tells of a victory won by charioteers whose horses had renewed vigour after eating parsley. Parsley grew on Circe's lawn in the Odyssey. Pliny said that no sauce or salad should be without parsley, as did Galen, and both Pliny and Dioscorides thought of it as a diuretic and emmenagogue. Apicius sang its praises too. The Byzantines used it as a diuretic and made a strong infusion to help kidney stones. Charlemagne ordered that it be cultivated in the imperial gardens as a vegetable, and it was eaten at every meal. It also found a place in monastic gardens at this time. More recently, in the nineteenth century research was done on the emmenagogic properties of a constituent of the oil, apiol, by Professor Galligo, and doctors de Poggeschi and Marrotte. These were later confirmed by Dr Leclerc, proving to be truly efficaceous in treating cases of menstrual problems, particularly pain.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant evergreen needle-like leaves. It is native to the Mediterranean region. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which also includes many other herbs. The name rosemary derives from the Latin name rosmarinus, which is from "dew" (ros) and "sea" (marinus), or "dew of the sea" — apparently because it is frequently found growing near the sea. Description Forms range from upright to trailing; the upright forms can reach 1.5 m (5 ft) tall, rarely 2 m (6 ft 7 in). The leaves are evergreen, 2/4 cm (0.8/1.6 in) long and 2/5 mm broad, green above, and white below with dense short woolly hair. Flowering, very common in a mature and healthy specimen, blooms in summer in the north; but can be everblooming in warm-winter climates and is variable in color, being white, pink, purple, or blue. The rosemary plant is light blue and blooms from March to May. For most tonics and recipes the rosemary leaves are use more often than the flowers or the rest of the plant. Rosemary is a bushy type of evergreen that can grow six feet or higher. The tree contains leaves that are stiff and leathery.
Salvia officinalis (Garden sage, Common sage) is a small perennial evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the family Lamiaceae and is native to the Mediterranean region, though it has naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times as an ornamental garden plant. The common name "Sage" is also used for a number of related and unrelated species. Cultivars are quite variable in size, leaf and flower color, and foliage pattern, with many variegated leaf types. The Old World type grows to approximately 2 ft (0.61 m) tall and wide, with lavender flowers most common, though they can also be white, pink, or purple. The plant flowers in late spring or summer. The leaves are oblong, ranging in size up to 2.5 in (6.4 cm) long by 1 in (2.5 cm) wide. Leaves are grey-green, rugose on the upper side, and nearly white underneath due to the many short soft hairs. Modern cultivars include leaves with purple, rose, cream, and yellow in many variegated combinations. Sage is a silvery-green plant with leaves that offer a memorable fragrant. The most common variety of sage was first found growing in regions around the Mediterranean but now grows in regions of North America as well. The leaves of the sage herb serve both medicinal and culinary purposes. For thousands of years sage has been used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes. It has been used in connection with sprains, swelling, ulcers, and bleeding. As a tea, sage has been administered for sore throats and coughs. Herbalists have also used this herb for rheumatism, menstrual bleeding, strengthening the nervous system, improving memory, and sharpening the senses.
Juniperus communis Fam: Cupressaceae Juniper is widely distributed throughout the northern hemisphere and its birthplace is obscure. It is found in Europe, North Africa, North America and northern Asia. The main commercial producers are Hungary and southern Europe, especially Italy. The berries were known to Greek, Roman and early Arab physicians as a medicinal fruit and are mentioned in the Bible. In the Renaissance, they were recommended against snake bite, and plague and pestilence. Because of its air-cleansing piney fragrance, the foliage was used as a strewing herb to freshen stale air and the Swiss burned the berries with heating fuel in winter to sanitize stale air. Gin, the alcoholic drink that gets its unique flavour from juniper berries, is named from an adaptation of the Dutch word for juniper, "geneva". Spice Description Initially hard and pale green, juniper berries ripen to blue-black, become fleshy and contain three sticky, hard, brown seeds. When dried, the berries remain soft but if broken open one will find the pith surrounding the seeds is easily crumbled. Bouquet: Fragrant and flowery, combining the aromas of gin and turpentine. Flavour:Aromatic, bittersweet and piny. Hotness Scale: 1 Preparation and Storage Juniper berries are at their best when they are still moist and soft to the touch, squashing fairly easily between one's fingers. It is possible to make a purée from juniper berries or to extract the flavour and aroma by macerating them in hot water, but as all parts are edible and the texture is agreeable, it is usually just as well to use the entire fruit, split or crushed. The berries are quite powerful, one heaped teaspoon of crushed fruits serving for a dish for four people. Store in a cool place in an airtight container. Culinary Uses Juniper berries perform a quite unique role, by contributing as much to the character of food through their 'freshening' ability, as they do by way of their specific taste profile. As well as flavouring a dish, juniper cuts the gaminess of game, reduces the fatty effect of duck and pork and perks up a bread stuffing. The strong hearty flavour of juniper goes well with strong meats, such as game. Pork chops, roast leg of lamb, veal, rabbit, venison and wild boar are all enlivened with a hint of juniper. Juniper berries blend well with other herbs and spices, especially thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, bay leaves, allspice and onions and garlic. One application I am particularly fond of is in a simple chicken casserole, It can effectively be added to wine marinades for meats, and is used with coriander in smoking meat. It seasons pâtés and sauces and in Sweden. Goulash and Sauerkraut often feature a juniper taste, as do some home-pickled meats like salt beef, salt pork and ham. Generally juniper can well be used in any dish requiring alcohol. Fruit dishes, such as apple tart and pickled peaches, also harmonize with this flavour.
Lovage-, Levisticum officinale, is a perennial herb that looks like parsley and is in the parsley, or Apiaceae, family, like anise, dill, caraway, cumin, and fennel. Lovage is native to mountainous areas of southern Europe and Asia Minor. It is sometimes called sea parsley. Lovage (Levisticum officinale) is a plant, the leaves and seeds or fruit of which are used to flavor food, especially in South European cuisine. It is a tall (3 to 9 ft) perennial that vaguely resembles its cousin celery in appearance and in flavor. Lovage also sometimes gets referred to as smallage, but this is more properly used for celery. Herb (Levisticum officinale) of the parsley family, native to southern Europe. It is cultivated for its stalks and foliage, which are used for tea, as a vegetable, and to flavour foods. Its rhizomes are used as a carminative, and the seeds are used for flavouring desserts. Oil obtained from the flowers is used in perfumery. The French call lovage céleri bâtard, "false celery," because of its strong resemblance to that plant. Lovage has been used since Greek and Roman times for everything from a seasoning, to a curative for maladies ranging from indigestion to freckles, to a love potion. It grows up to 7 feet high and has large, dark green, celerylike leaves. The flavor of the pale stalks is that of very strong celery. The leaves, seeds and stalks can be used (in small amounts because of their potent flavor) in salads, stews and other dishes such as fowl and game. The stalks can be cooked as a vegetable. Dried lovage leaves and chopped or powdered stalks can be found in natural food stores and gourmet markets. The seeds are commonly called celery seed. Lovage is also called smallage and smellage. lovage, tall perennial herb (Levisticum officinale) of the family Umbelliferae (parsley family), native to the mountains of S Europe and cultivated elsewhere. Its aromatic fruits are used in soups and as a flavoring for confectionery and for some liqueurs. An aromatic oil extracted from the roots has been used medicinally and also for flavoring. The edible leaves are usually used like celery. Lovage is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Apiales, family Umbelliferae.
Mace Botanical: Myristica fragrans Family: N.O. Myristicaceae Hindi Name: Mace - Javitri General Description: Nutmeg, spice consisting of the seed of the Myristica fragrans, a tropical, dioecious evergreen tree native to the Moluccas or Spice Islands of Indonesia. Geographical Sources The nutmeg tree, Myristica fragrans, is indigenous to the Moluccas in Indonesia but has been successfully grown in other Asian countries and in the Caribbean, namely Grenada. Banda Islands, Malayan Archipelago, Molucca Islands, and cultivated in Sumatra, French Guiana Composition -> Nutmeg and mace contain 7 to 14 percent essential oil, the principal components of which are pinene, camphene, and dipentene. Nutmeg on expression yields about 24 to 30 percent fixed oil called nutmeg butter, or oil of mace. Dried kernel of the seed. Varieties -> Whole nutmegs are grouped under three broad quality classifications: 1. Sound: nutmegs which are mainly used for grinding and to a lesser extent for oleoresin extraction. High quality or sound whole nutmegs are traded in grades which refer to their size in numbers of nutmegs per pound: 80s, 110s and 130s (110 to 287 nuts per kg), or 'ABCD' which is an assortment of various sizes. 2. Substandard: nutmegs which are used for grinding, oleoresin extraction and essential oil distillation. Substandard nutmegs are traded as 'sound, shrivelled' which in general have a higher volatile oil content than mature sound nutmegs and are used for grinding, oleoresin extraction and oil distillation; and 'BWP' (broken, wormy and punky) which are mainly used for grinding as volatile oil content generally does not exceed 8%. 3. Distilling: poor quality nutmegs used for essential oil distillation.Distilling grades of nutmegs are of poorer quality: 'BIA' or 'ETEZ' with a volatile oil content of 8% to 10%; and 'BSL' or 'AZWI' which has less shell material and a volatile oil content of 12% to 13%. Method of Processing -> When fully mature it splits in two, exposing a crimson-coloured aril, the mace, surrounding a single shiny, brown seed, the nutmeg. The pulp of the fruit may be eaten locally. After collection, the aril-enveloped nutmegs are conveyed to curing areas where the mace is removed, flattened out, and dried. The nutmegs are dried gradually in the sun and turned twice daily over a period of six to eight weeks. During this time the nutmeg shrinks away from its hard seed coat until the kernels rattle in their shells when shaken. The shell is then broken with a wooden truncheon and the nutmegs are picked out. Dried nutmegs are grayish-brown ovals with furrowed surfaces. Large ones may be about 1.2 inches long and 0.8 inch in diameter. Taste and Aroma: Nutmeg has a characteristic, pleasant fragrance and slightly warm taste
Marigolds were first discovered by the Portuguese in Central America in the 16th century. Marigolds are hardy, annual plants and are great plants for cheering up any garden. Broadly, there are two genuses which are referred to by the common name, Marigolds viz., Tagetes and Celandula. Tagetes includes African Marigolds and French Marigolds. Celandula includes Pot Marigolds. Kingdom : Plantae Division : Magnoliophyta Class : Magnoliopsida Order : Asterales Family : Asteraceae Genus : Tagetes, Calendula Marigolds come in different colors, yellow and orange being the most common. Most of the marigolds have strong, pungent odor and have has great value in cosmetic treatment. There are many varieties of Marigolds available today. Some of the major Marigold varieties are listed below: African or American Marigolds (Tagetes erecta): These marigolds are tall, erect-growing plants up to three feet in height. The flowers are globe-shaped and large. Flowers may measure up to 5 inches across. African Marigolds are very good bedding plants. These flowers are yellow to orange and do not include red colored Marigolds. The Africans take longer to reach flowering stage than the French type. French Marigolds (Tagetes patula): Marigold cultivars in this group grow 5 inches to 18 inches high. Flower colors are red, orange and yellow. Red and orange bicolor patterns are also found. Flowers are smaller, (2 inches across). French Marigolds are ideal for edging flowerbeds and in mass plantings. They also do well in containers and window boxes. Signet Marigolds (T. signata 'pumila'): The signet Marigolds produce compact plants with finely divided, lacy foliage and clusters of small, single flowers. They have yellow to orange colored, edible flowers.The flowers of signet marigolds have a spicy tarragon flavor. The foliage has a pleasant lemon fragrance. Signet Marigolds are excellent plants for edging beds and in window boxes. Mule Marigolds: These marigolds are the sterile hybrids of tall African and dwarf French marigolds, hence known as mule Marigolds. Most triploid cultivars grow from 12 to 18 inches high. Though they have the combined qualities of their parents, their rate of germination is low. Marigold (Calendula) is an extremely effective herb for the treatment of skin problems and can be used wherever there is inflammation of the skin, whether due to infection or physical damage; for example, crural ulceration, varicose veins, haemorrhoids, anal fissures, mastitis, sebaceous cysts, impetigo or other inflamed cutaneous lesions. As an ointment, Marigold (Calendula) is an excellent cosmetic remedy for repairing minor damage to the skin such as subdermal broken capillaries or sunburn. The sap from the stem is reputed to remove warts, corns and calluses.
Sweet marjoram: Origanum (O) hortensis (orMajoranahortensis). Potmarjoram: O.onites Wildmajoram: O.vulgare. Syrian majoram is called zatar Family: Labiatae or Lamiaceae (mint family). In Europe, marjoram was a traditional symbol of youth and romantic love. Used by Romans as an aphrodisiac, it was used to cast love spells and was worn at weddings as a sign of happiness during the middle Ages. Greeks who wore marjoram wreaths at weddings called it “joy of the mountains.” It was used to brew beer before hops was discovered, and flavored a wine called hippocras. A cousin of the oregano family, marjoram originated in Mediterranean regions and is now a commonly used spice in many parts of Europe. Called zatar in the Middle east and often mistaken for oregano, it is also a popular spicing in Eastern Europe. Origin and Varieties Marjoram is indigenous to northern Africa and southwest Asia. It is cultivated around the Mediterranean, in England, Central and Eastern Europe, South America, the United States, and India. Description Marjoram leaf is used fresh, as whole or chopped, and dried whole or broken, and ground. The flowering tops and seeds, which are not as strong as the leaves, are also used as flavorings. Sweet marjoram is a small and oval-shaped leaf. It is light green with a greyish tint. Marjoram is fresh, spicy, bitter, and slightly pungent with camphor like notes. It has the fragrant herbaceous and delicate, sweet aroma of thyme and sweet basil. Pot marjoram is bitter and less sweet. Chemical Components Sweet marjoram has 0.3% to 1% essential oil, mostly monoterpenes. It is yellowish to dark greenish brown in color. It mainly consists of cis-sabinene hydrate (8% to 40%), -terpinene (10%), a-terpinene (7.6%), linalyl acetate (2.2%), terpinen 4-ol (18% to 48%), myrcene (1.0%), linalool (9% to 39%), -cymene (3.2%), caryophyllene (2.6%), and a-terpineol (7.6%). Its flavor varies widely depending on its origins. The Indian and Turkish sweet marjorams have more d-linalool, caryophyllene, carvacrol, and eugenol. Its oleoresin is dark green, and 2.5 lb. are equivalent to 100 lb. of freshly ground marjoram. Marjoram contains calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and niacin. Culinary uses of Marjoram Marjoram is typically used in European cooking and is added to fish sauces, clam chowder, butter-based sauces, salads, tomato-based sauces, vinegar, mushroom sauces, and eggplant. In Germany, marjoram is called the “sausage herb” and is used with thyme and other spices in different types of sausages. It is usually added at the end of cooking to retain its delicate flavor or as a garnish. It goes well with vegetables including cabbages, potatoes, and beans. The seeds are used to flavor confectionary and meat products.
Nutmeg Myristica fragrans Fam: Myristicaceae The nutmeg tree is a large evergreen native to the Moluccas (the Spice Islands) and is now cultivated in the West Indies. It produces two spices — mace and nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed kernel inside the fruit and mace is the lacy covering (aril) on the kernel. The Arabs were the exclusive importers of the spice to Europe up until 1512, when Vasco de Gama reached the Moloccas and claimed the islands for Portugal. To preserve their new monopoly, the Portuguese (and from 1602, the Dutch) restricted the trees to the islands of Banda and Amboina. The Dutch were especially cautious, since the part of the fruit used as a spice is also the seed, so that anyone with the spice could propagate it. To protect against this, the Dutch bathed the seeds in lime, which would prevent them from growing. This plan was thwarted however, by fruit pigeons who carried the fruit to other islands, before it was harvested, scattering the seeds. The Dutch sent out search and destroy crews to control the spread and when there was an abundant harvest, they even burned nutmeg to keep its supply under control. Despite these precautions, the French, led by Pierre Poivre (Peter Piper) smuggled nutmeg seeds and clove seedlings to start a plantation on the island of Mauritius, off the east coast of Africa, near Madagascar. In 1796 the British took over the Moloccas and spread the cultivation to other East Indian islands and then to the Caribbean. Nutmeg was so successful in Grenada it now calls itself the Nutmeg Island, designing its flag in the green, yellow and red colours of nutmeg and including a graphic image of nutmeg in one corner. Spice Description The nutmeg seed is encased in a mottled yellow, edible fruit, the approximate size and shape of a small peach. The fruit splits in half to reveal a net-like, bright red covering over the seed. This is the aril which is collected, dried and sold as mace. Under the aril is a dark shiny nut-like pit, and inside that is the oval shaped seed which is the nutmeg. Nutmegs are usually sold without the mace or hard shell. They are oval, about 25 mm (1 in) in length, lightly wrinkled and dark brown on the outside, lighter brown on the inside. Nutmeg is sold whole or ground, and is labeled as ‘East Indian’ or ‘West Indian’ indicating its source. Whole nutmeg may be coated with lime to protect against insects and fungus, though this practice is giving way to other forms of fumigation. Bouquet:sweet, aromatic and nutty Flavour : Nutty , warm and slightly sweet Hotness Scale: 1
Herbal/folk tradition - Onion has an ancient reputation as a curative agent, highly extolled by the schools of Galen and Hippocrates. It is high in vitamins A, B and C and shares many of the properties of garlic, to which it is closely related. Raw onion helps keep colds and infections at bay, promotes strong bones and a good blood supply to all tissues. It acts as an effective blood cleanser that, along with the sulfur it contains, helps to keep the skin clear and in good condition. It has a sound reputation for correcting glandular imbalance and weight problems; it also improves lymphatic drainage, which is often responsible for edema and puffiness. It has long been used as a home simple for a wide range of conditions. Aromatherapy/home use-- Non, due to its offensive smell. Other uses -- used in some pharmaceutical preparations for colds, coughs. The oil is used extensively in most major food categories, especially meats, savories, salad dressings, as well as alcoholic and soft drinks. It is not used in perfumery work. Distribution -- native of Western Asia and the Middle East; it has a long history of cultivation all over the world, mainly for culinary use. The essential oil is produced mainly in France, Germany and Egypt from the red onion. Extraction -- essential oil by steam distillation from the bulb. Characteristics -- a pale yellow or brownish-yellow mobile liquid with strong, unpleasant, sulfur odor with a tear producing effect. Actions -- anthelmintic, anti-microbial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antisclerotic, antispasmodic, antiviral, antibacterial, carminative, depurative, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, hypocholesterolemic, hypoglycemic, hypotensive, stomachic, tonic, vermifuge.
Oregano - scientifically named Origanum vulgare by Carolus Linnaeus – is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to warm-temperate western and south western Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. Oregano 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. It is sometimes called Wild Marjoram, and its close relative O. majoramum is then known as "Sweet Marjoram". Uses Culinary 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 lamb. 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.