Candied Sweet Potatoes Recipe

Recipe of the Month – April

Candied Sweet PotatoesCandied Sweet Potatoes

A delicious, low histamine recipe from the book “Is Food Making You Sick?“. Gluten-free and vegan.

Ingredients

  • 100g (2 pounds) sweet potatoes or yams, preferably with yellow or orange flesh
  • 1/3 cup tightly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons butter or HIT-friendly vegetable oil (e.g. rice bran oil)
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  • Scrub sweet potatoes, but do not peel. Place potatoes in 3 liter (3 quart) saucepan. Add enough water just to cover.
  • Heat to boiling, then reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain, then cool slightly.
  • Remove sweet potato skins. Cut potatoes into 1 cm (1/2 inch) thick  slices.
  • Heat remaining ingredients in 10-inch frypan over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and bubbly. Add potatoes. Gently stir until glazed and hot.
  • Cool completely before storing in an airtight plastic container in the refrigerator. To store for more than three days, freeze.
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Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Recipe of the month – March
Simple (gluten free) Irish Soda Bread Recipe

This recipe can be found on page 200 of the book “Is Food Making You Sick? The Strictly Low Histamine Diet” by James L. Gibb

Soda bread (Irish: arán sóide, Scots: fardel) is a quickly-made bread traditional to many cuisines; most famously, Irish and Scots. It gets its English name from the fact that it’s made using sodium bicarbonate (otherwise known as baking soda) as a leavening agent, instead of yeast. The ingredients of traditional soda bread are flour, baking soda, salt, and buttermilk. The buttermilk in the dough contains lactic acid, which reacts with the baking soda to form tiny bubbles of carbon dioxide. If you use non-dairy buttermilk (see below) the ascorbic acid or tartaric acid has the same effect.

Ingredients

500g (17.5 ounces) plain, all-purpose gluten free flour, plus a little extra for sprinkling
1 teaspoon bicarb soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon salt
310ml (10 fluid ounces) buttermilk [see below]
rice bran oil spray

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 200° C (400° F). Grease a baking tray with rice bran oil spray.
  • Sift flour, bicarb soda and salt into a mixing bowl. Make a hollow in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour in the buttermilk.
  • With a wooden spoon, gently stir the ingredients until they are well mixed and form a soft dough.
  • Wet your hands with cold water to stop the dough from sticking to them. Scrape the dough together with your fingers, then tip it out onto a clean surface such as a large wooden chopping board, sprinkled lightly with flour. Lightly knead it until it is smooth and shape it into a sphere.
  • Put dough on baking tray and flatten it a little to form a round, domed loaf about 19 cm (7.5 inches) in diameter.
  • Take a sharp knife and cut a deep cross in the top, slicing half-way down into the dough. Sprinkle extra flour over the top.
  • Place tray in preheated oven and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf has risen well, the top is brown and the bread sounds hollow when you tap it. If it seems undercooked, give it another 3–5 minutes in the oven and then test again.
  • When baked, remove loaf from oven and place on a wire rack. Allow it to cool thoroughly before cutting slices.

Serve as an accompaniment to soups and stews.
Use bread on the day it is baked. Soda bread is delicious when fresh, but becomes stale quite rapidly. If this happens, simply  toast it. It is best stored sliced, in the freezer.
Serves: 8

Buttermilk

Uncultured Dairy Buttermilk
In the USA, cultured, thick milk is commonly called ‘buttermilk’—however that is something of a misnomer. True buttermilk is made by churning fresh cream to separate out the fat solids. The result is butter on the one hand, and low-fat milk on the other.
Buttermilk is more easily digestible than whole milk and has less fat. It is also preferred, by many cooks, for baking—especially for pancakes. People on a low histamine diet should avoid cultured products, but if you cannot buy true buttermilk at your grocery store, what’s the solution? Some cookbooks suggest adding lemon juice or vinegar to regular milk to create buttermilk; however neither of these additives is safe for HIT sufferers.
Another alternative is to whisk together 1 cup skim milk with one and three-quarters tablespoons of cream of tartar. Allow the milk to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes and stir before you use it.

Recipe for uncultured dairy buttermilk:

  • Pour 2 cups of fresh dairy cream into the bowl of your food processor (or 4 cups if you have a machine with at least 11-cup capacity). Leave the rest in the refrigerator.
  • Begin processing and watch closely as the cream thickens and whips. It may take quite some time. Gradually the cream will start to look less pale. When you see it breaking into tiny yellowish lumps, proceed with caution until you can see that the cream has definitely separated into cloudy buttermilk and clumps of yellow butter.
  • Place a strainer over a chilled bowl and pour through the contents of the processor, scraping out any sticky butter particles with a rubber spatula. Repeat the entire procedure with the other half of the cream. You now have around 2 cups of buttermilk!
  • Pour the strained buttermilk into a storage container and store it  in the refrigerator.

You also have about a cup of unsalted butter. Your strainer will be filled with small lumps of it.

  • Turn the contents out into a bowl and work the butter into one big lump with a strong wooden spoon. Drain off as much liquid as possible and continue working the butter. As the butterfat comes together it will turn into a smooth, shiny mass.
  • When no more liquid emerges, pat the butter dry with paper towels, place it into an airtight container and refrigerate it.

Recipe for dairy free buttermilk:

  • 1 tablespoon L-ascorbic acid powder or Cream of Tartar (or less, according to your taste).
  • sufficient non-dairy, non-soy milk (e.g. almond, brown rice or coconut) to make up to 1 cup

Place ascorbic acid powder or Cream of Tartar in a measuring cup. Add enough non-dairy milk of your choice to make up to one cup. Whisk to combine.
Allow mixture to rest for 5-10 minutes before using. The acid adds a flavor reminiscent of buttermilk.

Enjoy!

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Carrot Salad with Mango Horseradish Vinaigrette

Carrot saladRecipe of the Month – February
Carrot Salad with Mango Horseradish Vinaigrette

Low histamine, gluten-free, vegan-friendly.
Servings: 4
Total Time: 15 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 450g (1 pound) carrots, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 finely sliced green spring onions (salad onions)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated horseradish (or frozen and recently defrosted in the refrigerator)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh green mango juice (or frozen and recently defrosted in the refrigerator)
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons honey, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Grate the carrots in a food processor. Set aside.
  • In a salad bowl, combine the grated horseradish, green mango juice, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper.
  • Add the carrots, fresh parsley and spring onions (scallions) and toss well.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary.
  • Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Notes: Adjust the amount of honey according to your taste.

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Spiced Green Tea with Apple

apple-teaRecipe of the Month – January

Happy New Year! Why not drink a toast to the new year with a cup of delicious ‘Spiced Green Tea with Apple’. It’s vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free and Paleo-friendly. This recipe makes 4 cups.

Ingredients:

  • 4½ cups pure water
  • 1 large apple, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon whole allspice (pimento) seeds
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder or a 5cm (2-inch) piece of fresh turmeric, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 5cm (2 inch) piece fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons rice bran oil
  • ½ teaspoon nigella blackseed
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 green tea bags
  • ½ tablespoon amchoor powder or 1 tablespoon fresh green mango juice (you can vary this according to your taste)

Instructions:

1. Place water, apple slices, pimentos, turmeric, ginger, oil, blackseed and black pepper in a saucepan. Mix well, then place on the stove at a medium to high heat and bring to a boil.

2. When the mixture is boiling , turn down the heat and allow it to simmer for 30 minutes. Then stir in the green tea bags and let the mixture simmer for another three or four minutes until the tea infuses through it.

3. Remove the saucepan from the heat. Take out the green tea bags and stir in maple syrup, honey and amchoor powder or green mango juice. Add a small amount at first, then taste and adjust to your preference.

4. Strain tea into a teapot or other heat-proof container with a spout. Pour into serving cups.

Notes:

  • The leftover strained apples and ginger make a tasty hot snack.
  • Keep Spiced Green Tea with Apple covered and refrigerated. Consume it within a couple of days or freeze it to enjoy later.
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How to make your own soap-free skin cleansers.

In the last post we discussed using soap-free cleansers to soothe itching skin. Here, as promised, are some recipes for soap-free skin cleansers you can make at home.

Soothing Skin Cleanser

Fragrant rosewater adds a luxurious touch to this gentle cleanser. Never use essential oils on your skin – despite being all-natural, they can cause phototoxicity and irritation. All perfumes can be irritants to people with HIT, even natural rose, so if you find it’s a problem for you, substitute distilled water or boiled and cooled water. Natural rosewater is, nonetheless, very beneficial to the skin.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons almond oil
  • 2 tablespoons rosewater
  • 1 tablespoon soapwort extract [1] (available from online stores, cosmetics stores and Amazon)
  • 5-10 drops coconut oil
  • 3-5 drops or 1 capsule vitamin E oil (optional)

Instructions:

  • Mix all ingredients together and store in container with tight fitting lid.
  • To use: wet face, apply in small circles and rub in for 30 seconds, wash off with warm water.
  • The water and oil may separate, so shake the container well before use.

*[1] Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) is a useful and pretty plant, easily grown in the garden. You can buy it here.

Refreshing Skin Cleanser

This mixture cleans and refreshes your skin. It does not dry out the skin and it leaves no residue. The baking soda has a gentle exfoliant action and the aloe soothes and heals.

Ingredients for basic skin cleanser:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon aloe vera gel
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable glycerin
  • 2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum (to thicken)

Optional additives:

2 tablespoons witch hazel
2 tablespoons raw honey
1 tsp calendula extract
1 teaspoon chamomile extract
1 teaspoon green tea extract
1 teaspoon ginger extract
15 drops coconut oil
15 drops almond oil

Instructions:

  • Mix together your chosen ingredients.
  • To thicken use 1/2 tsp xanthan gum whizzed in with a blender.
  • When all is well-blended, pour the mixture into a clean bottle and seal with an airtight lid.
  • Label the bottle.
  • Store in refrigerator to prolong shelf life.
  • To use, simply rub it over your skin, then rinse off with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.

Exfoliant Skin Cleanser

This skin-care recipe uses Fuller’s Earth, which is available from cosmetic stores online. Amazon also sells it – see our shop on this website.
Fuller’s Earth is an amazingly useful substance.  Scroll down to find out more about it! If you cannot find Fuller’s Earth, you can substitute Kaolin Clay, French Green Clay or Rhassoul Clay.

Ingredients:

  • 3 parts wheat bran
  • 1 part ground rice
  • 1 part ground oats
  • 1 part dried lemon peel
  • 1 part organic cane sugar
  • 1 part Fuller’s Earth
  • a few drops of glycerin or honey
  • water

Instructions:

  • Place all the dry ingredients (the first 6 ingredients) into a bowl and mix thoroughly.
  • Pour mixture into an airtight container and keep it cool and dry until you are ready to use it.
  • To prepare mixture for use, shake the container then place a small amount of it into a clean, dry ceramic bowl.
  • Add enough water (a few drops) to make a thick paste. Stir with a spoon until water is absorbed evenly.
  • Mix in a few drops of glycerin or honey, according to your preference.
  • Apply mixture to damp skin and gently rub in a circular motion.
  • Rinse it off with warm water and pat dry with a soft towel.

When all’s said and done, your itching skin symptoms will, over time, fade or even disappear  if you continue to follow the Strictly Low Histamine Diet and keep your skin free of harsh chemicals, soap and artificial perfumes.

The next post will have recipes for home-made shampoos and conditioners, so drop in later if you’d like to see them.


 About Fuller’s Earth

According to Wikipedia (article retrieved 28.7.14) ‘Fuller’s Earth is any clay material that has the capability to decolorize oil or other liquids without chemical treatment. Fuller’s Earth typically consists of palygorskite (attapulgite) or bentonite. Modern uses of Fuller’s earth include absorbents for oil, grease, and animal waste and as a carrier for pesticides and fertilizers. Minor uses include filtering, clarifying, and decolorizing; and as filler in paint, plaster, adhesives, and pharmaceuticals.

‘The name reflects the historic use of the material for cleaning or “fulling” wool by textile workers called “fullers”. In past centuries, fullers kneaded fuller’s earth and water into woollen cloth to absorb lanolin, oils, and other greasy impurities as part of the cloth finishing process. Fuller’s Earth is also sometimes referred to as ‘bleaching clay’, probably because fulling whitened the cloth.’

Uses

‘In addition to its original use in the fulling of raw fibers, Fuller’s Earth is now utilized in a number of industries. Most important applications make use of the minerals’ natural absorbent properties in products sold as absorbents or filters.

‘Medicine: Fuller’s Earth is used (with activated charcoal) in the treatment of paraquat poisoning to prevent the progression to pulmonary fibrosis.

‘Decontamination: Fuller’s Earth is used by military and civil emergency service personnel to decontaminate the clothing and equipment of servicemen and CBRN (Chemical Biological Radiological Nuclear) responders who have been contaminated with chemical agents.

‘Personal care: Fuller’s Earth has been used in the Indian subcontinent as a face pack and cleanser for thousands of years, and is known as also known as ‘Multani Mitti Clay’ – that is, mud from Multan. It has been used as an ingredient in powdered, “dry” shampoos, and is an important ingredient in many face packs. Fuller’s Earth was also sold in pharmacies until recently for compressing pills and cleaning hats and fabrics.

‘Cleaning Agent: In the Indian subcontinent, it has been used for centuries to clean marble. As a good absorbent, it removes the surface of dust, dirt, impurities and stains and replenishes the shine of the marble. It has been used numerous times to clean one of the most spectacular buildings in the white marble, that of the Taj Mahal, in Agra, India with positive results.’

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Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Recipe of the month: DECEMBER
Low Histamine Christmas Pudding

Low Histamine Christmas Pudding – without dried fruit.

It’s impossible to make a traditional Christmas pudding when you’re avoiding dried fruits. You can, nonetheless, ‘have your cake and eat it’.
You need not be deprived of pudding just because you are on a Strictly Low Histamine diet. Make this delicious steamed golden syrup pudding, specially modified for people with HIT. The original version was a great favourite with my own mother and grandmother.

Ingredients

4 oz. (110g or 1/2 cup) sugar
2 free-range, pastured eggs
4 oz. (110g  or 1/2 cup) butter or palm-oil-free vegetable shortening, melted
4 oz. (110g  or 1 cup) all-purpose plain gluten-free flour
1½ teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
1.5 oz. (40ml)  oat milk, brown rice milk or dairy milk
½ teaspoon natural, alcohol-free, oil-based vanilla extract
5 oz. (140g) golden syrup
rice bran oil spray or other vegetable oil spray

Equipment

Electric mixer with bowl
Another bowl
A sieve
A spatula
A steamed-pudding tin/mold, with a lid that can be fastened on securely
A large cooking pot with a lid
A wire rack that fits in the bottom of the cooking pot

Instructions

  • Sift together into a bowl the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  • Crack the eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer, add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and creamy.
  • Pour in the milk and butter and continue beating until they are well blended.
  • Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a spatula, fold in the vanilla essence and the sifted dry ingredients from the other bowl, to make a batter.
  • Spray the inside of the pudding tin with oil and pour in the golden syrup.
  • Pour the pudding batter into the tin and fasten the lid.
  • Put the wire rack inside the large cooking pot. Cover it with water, place it on the stove-top and bring the water to the boil.
  • Lower the steamed pudding tin into the pot, so that it sits on the wire rack.
  • Put the lid on the pot, reduce the heat to a simmer and boil the pudding for an hour and a half.
  • While it is cooking, lift the lid of the pot occasionally to check the water level. If water has boiled away, add more boiling water to keep the level up.
  • After the cooking time has elapsed, lift out the pudding tin. Immediately invert it on a serving dish and lift away the tin from the pudding.
  • Serve drizzled with maple syrup, low-histamine custard, more golden syrup or coconut cream.

Decorate with a sprig of plastic holly for a festive look.

The pudding can be re-heated later if it is not to be eaten straight away, but do remove it from the tin while it is hot.

Wishing you a happy, healthy Festive Season!

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Autumn Baked Figs

Recipe of the month: NOVEMBER

autumn baked figs Autumn Baked Figs

Figs are at their best in late summer and early fall. Make the most of these delicious fruits with our recipe.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 6 fresh figs (ripe but not over-ripe)
  • rice bran oil spray, to grease

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 220°C (430°F).
Generously grease a high-sided gratin or baking dish (the figs should fit snugly inside).
Place the sugar in a bowl.
Wash figs carefully and while still damp, roll in the sugar to coat well. Roll them a second time if necessary.
Place any remaining sugar and 2 tablespoons cold water in the base of the dish.
Add the figs and bake for 10 minutes until the sugar mixture forms a rich sauce (checking occasionally to ensure figs are not burning).
Set aside to cool slightly, then refrigerate for 30 minutes to chill.
Serve the baked figs drizzled with a little sauce.

Just the dish to warm up the family on a fall evening when the nights are drawing in!

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Skin care for HIT sufferers

Relieve Itching Skin

Many people with Histamine Intolerance suffer from itching skin. The Strictly Low Histamine Diet, combined with its suggested supplements, will help them enormously. In cases of severely itching skin, there are a few tricks to really gain control over the problem.

*  Freeze any leftover meats or foods containing eggs, rather than merely refrigerating them. Histamine only stops forming at temperatures below freezing – in the normal temperature of a refrigerator it continues to develop.

* Some people find that avoiding egg whites can improve their symptoms and relieve itching skin. Egg whites – particularly uncooked egg whites – contain histamine liberators. You can still eat eggs (pastured eggs of course!) but eat the yolks only, and bake with the yolks instead of the whole egg.

* Be aware of the ingredients of any substance that has contact with your skin. Avoid using soap, which can be an irritant. There are many soap-free cleaners commercially available. Avoid commercial skin products and shampoos containing irritant chemicals such as perfumes and colourants.

* Try rubbing raw organic coconut oil or evening primrose oil on your skin after you bathe. Ensure that you use organic raw coconut oil that has not been aged or fermented during processing.  Often it’s the cheapest brands that have been processed least.  You can use  the same organic raw coconut oil for skin care and in your cooking.

In the next post we will be giving you some recipes for home-made soap-free skin cleansers, so make sure you check back later!

 

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Quercetin

Quercetin for Histamine Intolerance


Quercetin, a type of plant-based chemical or phytochemical known as a flavonoid, is highly beneficial for histamine intolerance sufferers. Quercetin reduces the release of histamine, the substance that triggers allergies. Histamine is produced by mast cells.

In allergic rhinitis, mast cells in the nasal area increase in number and are thought to play an important role in the nasal symptoms that occur during seasonal allergies. In one study, researchers triggered histamine release in nasal scrapings from seasonal allergy patients exposed to mite antigen. When the nasal scrapings were exposed to quercetin, histamine release was inhibited 46 percent to 96 percent.[6] In another study of rat mast cells exposed to an allergen, quercetin inhibited histamine release by 95 percent and 97 percent. [7]

Other Health Benefits

Quercetin has been linked to a number of other health benefits. Scientific research proves that not only does it possess potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties [1], it also exerts a cognitive enhancing effect on the brains of Parkinson’s Disease patients [2] and protects against cadmium-induced oxidative toxicity and therefore may ameliorate autism symptoms [3].

‘Particularly notable was a study conducted by researchers at the Institute of Food Research and published in the journal Atheroscleroisis in 2008, which addresses concerns that, while quercetin has been shown to be highly effective in laboratory experiments on cell lines, the antioxidant quickly breaks down in the stomach and intestines when ingested as part of the diet. Quercetin skeptics had suggested that, because of this quick breakdown, quercetin naturally consumed in foods such as apples would have little or no health benefit.

‘The 2008 study showed, however, that both quercetin and the metabolites produced when it breaks down in the digestive system act as anti-inflammatories on the cells of human blood vessels. This suggests that dietary quercetin would indeed have the heart and blood pressure-promoting health benefits that had been observed in laboratory studies.

‘Another study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that a high dietary intake of flavanols decreases the risk of pancreatic cancer by 25 percent in non-smokers and by more than 50 percent in smokers. When the researchers examined dietary intake of quercetin in isolation, rather than intake of flavanols in general, they still found a reduction in the risk of pancreatic cancer.’ [3]

One clinical study of people with a strong inherited tendency to develop colorectal cancer found that the combination of quercetin and curcumin supplements decreased the number and size of precancerous rectal tumors. [4] No other clinical trials testing quercetin’s ability to prevent or treat cancer have been reported in the medical literature. Clinical trials are needed to further clarify quercetin’s possible benefits. In addition to cancer prevention and treatment, preliminary studies have also suggested potential value for quercetin in prostatitis (inflamed prostate) and heart disease. Further studies are needed before any recommendations can be made. [5]

Food Sources of Quercetin

Good sources for HIT sufferers include apples (particularly apple skin), onions, broccoli, green beans, leafy green vegetables such as lettuce; celery, chives, coriander and dill. One tree ripened apple, for example, contains 50 mg of quercetin. Quercetin is also available as a dietary supplement.

Quercetin is not destroyed by most cooking methods, including frying and baking. It is however lost by boiling food in water. ‘The boiling of onion leads to about 30% loss of quercetin glycosides, which transfers to the boiling water.’ [8]

Further reading

Wellness Resources

References

[1]‘Quercetin-induced cardioprotection against doxorubicin cytotoxicity.’
Jing-Yi Chen, Ren-Yu Hu and Hsiu-Chuan Chou
Department of Applied Science, National Hsinchu University of Education, Hsinchu, Taiwan
Journal of Biomedical Science 2013, 20:95 doi:10.1186/1423-0127-20-95

[2] Napatr Sriraksa, Jintanaporn Wattanathorn, Supaporn Muchimapura, Somsak Tiamkao, Kamoltip Brown, and Kowit Chaisiwamongkol, “Cognitive-Enhancing Effect of Quercetin in a Rat Model of Parkinson’s Disease Induced by 6-Hydroxydopamine,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2012, Article ID 823206, 9 pages, 2012. doi:10.1155/2012/823206

[3] Quercetin protects against cadmium-induced oxidative toxicity
Sunday, October 20, 2013 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer, Natural News
‘The common antioxidant quercetin may counter the toxic effects of cadmium on the body, according to a study conducted by researchers from Zhejiang University in China and published in the journal Anatomical Record in 2010. Cadmium is a highly dangerous and widespread heavy metal that has been linked to cancer, impaired brain function and development and damage to organs including the lungs, kidneys and bones. According to a groundbreaking study by Arizona State University researchers that was published in the journal Biological Trace Element Research earlier this year, high blood levels of cadmium are one of the single strongest factors linked to the severity of autism symptoms. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists cadmium as number seven among the 275 most hazardous substances.’

[4] Cruz-Correa M, Shoskes DA, Sanchez P, et al. Combination treatment with curcumin and quercetin of adenomas in familial adenomatous polyposis. Clinical Gastroenterology & Hepatology.2006;4:1035-1038.

[5] American Cancer Society ‘Quercetin’ Online article accessed 30/06/14

[6] Otsuka H, Inaba M, Fujikura T, Kunitomo M. Histochemical and functional characteristics of metachromatic cells in the nasal epithelium in allergic rhinitis: studies of nasal scrapings and their dispersed cells. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1995, Oct;96(4):528-36.

[7] Haggag EG, Abou-Moustafa MA, Boucher W, Theoharides TC. The effect of a herbal water-extract on histamine release from mast cells and on allergic asthma.J Herb Pharmacother 2003;3(4):41-54.

[8] J Nutr Sci Vitaminol (Tokyo). 2001 Feb;47(1):78-83.
Various cooking methods and the flavonoid content in onion.
Ioku K1, Aoyama Y, Tokuno A, Terao J, Nakatani N, Takei Y.

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Witch Hazel – an ancient, efficacious remedy for skin ailments.

Witch Hazel

Witch HazelThe witch hazel shrub (Hamamelis virginiana), which is native to North America, is also known as winterbloom or spotted alder. The leaves and bark are used to make an astringent extract, also called witch hazel, which was used medicinally by Native Americans long before European settlers arrived on the continent. The Native American tradition was to steam the twigs to extract the useful compounds.

To this day, witch hazel extract remains a component of a several commercial healthcare products. It can also be purchased in a relatively pure form, from most pharmacies and drug stores.

Wikipedia states: ‘The essential oil of witch hazel is not sold separately as a consumer product. The plant does not produce enough essential oil to make production viable, however, there are various distillates of witch hazel (called hydrosols or hydrolats) that… contain alcohol. … Witch hazel is mainly used externally on sores, bruises, and swelling.’

Douglas Harper, in the Online Etymology Dictionary (2001) explains that the term ‘witch’, in this case, has its origins in Middle English ‘wiche’, from the Old English ‘wice’, meaning ‘pliant’ or ‘bendable’.
Our modern word ‘wicker’, (defined as pliable twigs, typically of willow, plaited or woven to make items such as furniture and baskets) evolved from the same root.

For people who suffer from histamine intolerance, the gentle, healing properties of witch hazel liquid from the druggist can be of great benefit. When dabbed on itchy skin, it can greatly ameliorate symptoms. One patient with an itchy scalp, who had tried every prescription treatment to no avail, cured her condition by rinsing her hair every day for a fortnight with witch hazel.

Liquid witch hazel hydrosol is a strong anti-oxidant and astringent. It can help soothe ‘weeping’ or oozing dermatitis, reduce inflammation in contact dermatitis, and for many people it relieves the itching of perioral dermatitis and atopic eczema. It is frequently used to treat psoriasis, shaving rash, excess sweating of the face, cracked or blistered skin, insect stings and bites, allergies to plants such as poison ivy, varicose veins and hemorrhoids, and to reduce swelling and soothe wounds.

Witch hazel is inexpensive, natural and gentle; a boon to those with histamine intolerance who often endure itching skin.

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