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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

A - Z Herbs With Nicky - G H, I!

Thursday, 4 May 2006


Nicky Treacy Kohler our lovely Medical Herbalist is back to give us a run down of the A-Z of essential herbs every week until the end of the series. Today we'll be looking at G,H and I - Green tea, Hemp seed and Star Anise.

Green Tea
Is any other food or drink reported to have as many health benefits as green tea? The Chinese have known about the medicinal benefits of green tea since ancient times, using it to treat everything from headaches to depression
Research studies in recent years have confirmed the presence of various healing substances that provide the therapeutic properties long ascribed to the ubiquitous tea leaf. Of particular importance are potent antioxidant chemicals called polyphenols that help guard against many kinds of basic cell damage.
It also helps lower cholesterol levels and can reduce blood pressure.
How is green tea different from black tea?
Green and black tea both originate from the same plant. Green tea leaves are much less processed because they are not fermented like black tea. Green teas have a more delicate, fresh taste, whereas black teas are often more full-bodied and robust.
An average 6-oz. cup of green tea contains about 30 mg of caffeine. For comparison, coffee has about 100 mg per cup.
What is it for
. May help to prevent various types of cancer.
. Guard against heart disease.
. Promote longevity.
. Stave off tooth decay (the tea contains the cavity fighter, fluoride).
. Help heal gum infections.

Ice Mint Tea
3 Green Tea Bags
1/2 tsp. dried Mint leaves.
. Pour 2-1/2 cups boiling water over ingredients.
. Cover and steep 4 minutes. 
. Strain and chill.
. Add sugar or honey to taste. 
. Over ice garnish with fresh mint.

Hemp Seed
Cannabis' seeds - traditionally called 'hempseed', contain all the essential amino acids and essential fatty acids necessary to maintain healthy human life. No other single plant source provides complete protein nutrition in such an easily digestible form, nor has the oils essential to life in as perfect a ratio for human health and vitality. Hempseed is the richest source in the plant kingdom of essential fatty acids.
What is it For
. Healthy teeth
. Hair
. Bones
. Lubricates the joints
How Can it Be Taken
. Hemp seed oil
. Hemp seed nuts

Star Anise
Illicium Verum it contains a volatile oil that gives a strong flavour. It is antibacterial in action. Chinese use it in the treatment of rheumatism. It is one of the most important spices in Chinese cooking. Star Anise has hit the news recently because it is used in production of the drug Tamiflu. At the moment, Tamiflu is the only drug the world has which may reduce the severity of Bird Flu. Note that the drug will not prevent Bird Flu, it will only reduce the severity of it.
Used for its diuretic, carminative and digestive properties, it is also said to cure flatulence! It has a very strong licorice taste.
What is it For
. Tooth aches
. Wind
. Indigestion
. Rheumatism
How Can it Be Taken
. Syrup
. Powdered
. Whole seeds
. Tea
. Medicinal wine

Star Anise Medicinal Wine
50 g Star Anise
10 g Hibiscus Flowers
Ice cubes
. Break the Star Anise Flower and the Hibiscus Flower up and put in the bottle of wine
. Ferment in a dark cupboard for a week
. Strain off the wine
. Serve with a sprig of mint and ice in the summertime or heated in the winter.