An Overview of Poppy Seeds

The tiny blue-black seeds of the lilac-colored opium poppy; as it is commonly called, were used as a spice by the Sumerians as long ago as 4000 B.C. Nowadays it is cultivated in many countries both for its use as a culinary spice and for its medicinal qualities – it is used to make morphine codeine.

• What are the origins and characteristics of poppy seeds?
Opium poppies grow wild in the Middle East; they were first taken to China a thousand years ago. They have been used for their pain-relieving properties in ancient Greece, Egypt and Italy, as well as India and the Middle Eastern countries. Opium is obtained from the flesh of the unripe seed heads – the seeds themselves do not contain any of the drug. The plant grows around 4 feet (1 1/4 m) tall compared with the bright red corn, or field, poppy of Europe. The opium poppy also has a variety with white flowers.

• What are the culinary uses?
In Middle Eastern cooking the seeds are used to flavor sweet dishes and to make cakes, puddings and strudel fillings. In India, which produces an opium poppy with yellow seeds, the seeds are called khas khas and are used to flavor meat dishes. In most European countries the seeds are sprinkled onto newly baked bread to impart a nutty flavor. There is a Jewish three-cornered pastry called hamantaschen, which has a filling completely made of poppy seeds. You can try making cakes of poppy seeds with honey — they were given to the athletes of ancient Greece for extra energy before they took part in the Olympics.

• What are the medicinal uses?
Opium poppy seeds are used for treating cystitis and pyelitis; make a diffusion and add honey to taste. Read the rest of this entry »

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Acupuncture As an Alternative Medicine

Acupuncture is one of the main forms of cure in traditional Chinese medicine. It involves the use of pointed, thin needles that are placed in the body at very particular points. This process is supposed to regulate and adjust the body’s energy flow into improved arrangement, and is used to treat an extensive range of ailments and health conditions.

Acupuncturists reflect that when the body is in poor health the flow of essential energy of the body gets blocked. There are 14 pathways through which energy flows in the body, which are called Meridians. With acupuncture, needles are inserted along these meridian paths or charging them with electrical impulse, which helps in freeing the energy and restores health.

Many doctors use acupuncture to heal some chronic conditions like arthritis, rheumatism, and also types of addiction. This therapy can be practiced on any patient presenting any condition or problem. This therapy has a holistic approach, i.e. it treats the disease and not just the symptoms of the disease. Acupuncturists are very well trained and can help patient before the inception of the disease, even if the patient might not realize that there is something wrong with him/her. Acupuncture is most effective when the disease is at it onset.

Traditional Chinese Medicine sees diseases as the disparity of organ and meridians, and re establishment of this imbalance is the cure for any disease. A disease can be triggered because of external factors like germs, injuries, pollution, weather or internal factors like emotions. No two diseases are the same, and do not always have the same symptoms. Acupuncture helps in releasing the flow of energy throughout the body and promotes the immune system and helps in quick recovery.

When you visit the acupuncturist, he takes your medical history, and then also takes a list of symptoms that you are suffering with. It allows him to understand your problem. Depending on this problem, the acupuncturist decides on the treatment. He determines where to insert needles, and how it will regulate energy in to your body. The needles used for acupuncture are sharp and thin and sterilized. Depending on your condition, the acupuncturist can spin, or move the needles or can also pass a little electrical current through the needles. A small suction cup can also be used at one end of the needle to stimulate the energy.

This procedure is painless, and the needles that are inserted into your body are only put through the superficial layer of your skin. The length of time of insertion of needles also differs from problems to problems. Sometimes it needs to be a quick in and out insertion, sometimes for over an hour. The number of visits also depends on the problem.

Benefits of Acupuncture:

• Acupuncture is a successful cure for a lot of problems
• It has proven to be effective in treating allergies, gynecological problems.
• It has helped people with nervous conditions, and respiratory conditions.
• Gastrointestinal orders have been rectified using acupuncture.
• Childhood illnesses also have been cured with the help of acupuncture
• Disorders of the throat, nose and eyes have also been rectified because of acupuncture.
• It is also effective in treating migraines and headaches.
• Acupuncture helps in treating chronic pains like back aches, arthritis etc.
• Also used with person affected with Cancer and AIDS.
• Acupuncture anesthesia is also used in many hospitals as it is very effective.
• Acupuncture helps common cold, sinusitis, sciatica and tennis elbow. Read the rest of this entry »

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