Payne Mountain Farms
Buy dried yellowroot and other wild herbs at Payne Mountain Farms.

Pumpkin pie is more than a dessert - it's a healthy choice

Eat lots of pumpkin pie before the cold and flu season! Well, maybe not too much pie if you’re watching your waistline, but do consider less fattening pumpkin and squash dishes. The goal is to get the pumpkin and the spices - cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg into the diet during the fall and winter months.

Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg are all warming spices that help build immunity and protect against germs. Use in teas, soups, vegetable dishes, salads, and other recipes.

Cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg can also help if a cold or flu strikes. They can sooth the worst symptoms and shorten duration of illness.

Cinnamon is a pungent, sweet smelling, warming herb that stimulates the circulation. Cinnamon is used internally to help digestive problems, reduce flatulence, ease cramping, and provide relief from diarrhea. Its warming action is used to treat colds, flu, body aches, arthritis, and rheumatism.

Cloves help to relieve pain, stop nausea, and remove toxins from the body by speeding up digestion. Cloves also help heal inflammation, kill intestinal parasites, and act as an agent against fungus and bacteria. Cloves contain antihistamine properties that help control mucus buildup. Cloves are highly antiseptic and protect against viral infections.

Allspice is antiseptic and also helps clear the body of mucus. In herbal medicine allspice is used for treating bruises, colds, diarrhea, fatigue, painful spasms, gas, indigestion, and menstrual cramps.

Ginger has expectorant properties that helps keep the lungs clear. Ginger increases perspiration, improves digestion, stimulates liver function, stops nausea, controls vomiting, and relieves coughing spells. It stimulates circulation, relaxes spasms, and relieves pain. Ginger is used internally for motion sickness, nausea, indigestion, morning sickness, colic, abdominal chills, colds, flu, and coughs due to cold.

Nutmeg is used internally to treat diarrhea, dysentery, vomiting, abdominal bloating, indigestion, colic, and respiratory problems. Use sparingly because a little nutmeg goes a long way.

A good recipe to incorporate cinnamon, cloves, allspice, ginger, and nutmeg into the diet is as follows. Cut one pumpkin, cushaw, or butternut squash in half and remove the seeds and stringy pulp. Place upside down in an oven proof dish and bake until tender. Cool, remove tough outer skin, and mash like potatoes (an electric mixer works best). Add two or three fresh eggs, a pinch or two of salt, sugar to taste (around one cup), around a cup of evaporated milk (or half and half), a splash of vanilla flavoring, two teaspoons of ground cinnamon, a teaspoon of ground cloves, a teaspoon of ground ginger, a teaspoon of ground allspice, and a half teaspoon of ground nutmeg. Miniature marshmallows, cream cheese, maple syrup, or pecans can also be added if desired. Stir well and bake in a buttered casserole dish until set like Jell-O. Serve plain as a side dish or like custard with whipped cream for dessert.

* Do not consume warming spices if you have ulcers. Always consult with your healthcare provider before using any herbal remedy especially if pregnant, nursing, or taking other medicines.