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Healing with Cayenne Pepper

Healing with Cayenne Pepper

by Cordi Howell

cayenne-pepper

 

 

Cayenne Pepper has many names, including hot flame, devil’s tongue and African pepper.

 

Back in the day it was considered helpful for various conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, including stomachaches, cramping pains, and gas. Cayenne was frequently used to treat diseases of the circulatory system. It is still traditionally used in herbal medicine as a circulatory tonic (a substance believed to improve circulation).

 

Rubbed on the skin, cayenne is a traditional, as well as modern, remedy for rheumatic pains and arthritis due to what is termed a counterirritant effect. A counterirritant is something which causes irritation to a tissue to which it is applied, thus distracting from the original irritation (such as joint pain in the case of arthritis).

 

In the West Indies, cayenne pepper pods are soaked in hot water, then mixed with sugar and the juice of sour oranges and used as a drink when a fever is present. The capsaicin will induce sweat, which in turn will cool the patient. Additionally, the orange will supply vitamin C and the sugar, energy.

 

If used in a poultice as a stimulant, cayenne also promotes blood flow. Cayenne pepper is also used for toothache, and as a liniment for sprains and congestion problems. Cayenne pepper tea is used for the common cold.

 

The main medicinal properties of cayenne are derived from a chemical called capsaicin. Capsaicin is the ingredient which gives peppers their HEAT. A pepper’s capsaicin content ranges from 0-1.5%. Peppers are measured according to heat units. The degree of heat determines the peppers’ usage and value. Generally, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. In addition to adding heat to the pepper, capsaicin acts to reduce platelet stickiness and relieve pain.

 

It is a very high source of Vitamins A, E and C, has the complete B vitamin complex, carotenoids and is very rich in organic calcium and potassium, which is one of the reasons it is good for the heart

 

Today cayenne is used worldwide to treat a variety of health conditions, including poor circulation, weak digestion, heart disease, chronic pain, sore throats, headaches and toothache.

 

When taken internally, cayenne soothes the digestive tract and stimulates the flow of stomach secretions and saliva. Cayenne can rebuild the tissue in the stomach and the peristaltic action in the intestines.  It aids elimination and assimilation, and helps the body to create hydrochloric acid, which is necessary for good digestion and assimilation, especially of proteins.  All this becomes very significant when we realize that the digestive system plays the most important role in mental, emotional and physical health, as it is through the digestive system that the brain, glands, muscles and every other part of the body are fed.

 

Cayenne is the greatest herbal aid to circulation and can be used on a regular basis. If you master only one herb in your life, master cayenne pepper. It is more powerful than any other.

 

Cayenne moves blood

 

There is no other herb which increases your blood flow faster than cayenne. Cayenne moves blood and when added to any other herb increases that herbs action and the speed in which the other herbs will work. It makes all the other herbs work better.

 

Cayenne is the greatest blood circulation stimulant known. You can take the entire milk thistle you want, but if you have bad circulation to your liver, it’s not going to do you any good. Cayenne increases your blood circulation immediately within seconds, more than any other herb.

 

When you have a sick area, there’s often a restriction of blood flow to that area. Blood flow is what takes nutrition and the healing properties of herbs to those cells. Blood flow is also what carries out and removes waste material. Cayenne pepper is like TNT. It blasts through the entire blockage to get to the area which is sick, taking with it all the minerals and vitamins from the foods you eat, and all the vital properties from the herbs you take – all the way to the sick area.

 

Cayenne pepper is usually labeled 40,000, 60,000, 90,000 or more heat units. Generally, the higher the number of heat units, the more beneficial. The lower-heat cayenne peppers are a lot less efficient, and they are the ones which are most highly contaminated. These are the ones you see labeled for 30,000 heat units. These are the ones to stay away from.

 

Cayenne powder

 

It is recommended that the cayenne powder be used, as opposed to capsules. It is believed that you are only getting a small part of the potential effect of cayenne pepper by taking it in capsules. When you put cayenne in your mouth, your stomach secretes digestive juices before the cayenne ever gets there. So when the cayenne gets down there, your stomach is ready for it.

 

But if you swallow a capsule, your tongue tastes nothing. A capsule goes down in your stomach, and your stomach notices nothing, at first. Then, 5 minutes later the gelatin bursts, and you have a 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper in your stomach and your body is shocked. You surprised it.

 

What is going on is that some of cayenne’s healing action occurs right in your mouth. As cayenne touches your tongue, the cayenne absorbs in seconds and nerve endings send signals throughout the body – sending waves of fresh blood throughout your body.

 

Sure, there are a few heating herbs like ginger and horseradish. Use it to improve blood flow throughout your body.

 

People who are not used to cayenne just need to work their way up. One problem people have is that they blow their mouths with cayenne, right off the bat. For those who have never used cayenne pepper before, a good initial dosage is 1/16th of a teaspoonful in some juice. Work your way up in dosage slowly. Put a small amount in some juice, stir it up and sweeten it with honey if so desired.

 

Heart

 

Cayenne has been known to stop heart attacks within 30 seconds. Capsicum (cayenne pepper) is said to be unequal for its ability to boost circulation and increase heart action. It exerts a variety of desirable actions on the entire cardiovascular system. It has the extraordinary ability to enhance cardiovascular performance while actually lowering blood pressure and has an energizing effect on the entire system. It has traditionally been used for overcoming fatigue and restoring stamina and vigor. It is a natural stimulant without the threatening side effects (palpitations, hyper-activity or rise in blood pressure) of most other stimulating agents.

 

Because Capsicum boosts peripheral circulation and stimulates organ secretion, it expedites the therapeutic delivery and action of nutrients in the body. It will ensure the rapid and even distribution of the active principles of available nutrients to critical function centers, including those involved in cellular respiration, metabolic data transmission and neural-hormonal action. The remarkable ability of Capsicum to stimulate organ secretion and even heart action makes it one of the strongest natural stimulants known.

 

If a heart attack should occur, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract be given every 15 minutes or a teaspoon of Cayenne in a glass of hot water be taken until the crisis has passed. Of course if the person is unconscious, you have to be cautious of how you administer the cayenne liquid, you don’t want them to aspirate on it (suffocate). Therefore you should always have an eyedropper in your med bags. You can get the extract into the eyedropper and then administer it by placing it into the side area of the mouth, between the gum and cheek. A few drops of cayenne extract put into the mouth of the heart attack victim will help to regulate the heart and in extreme cases where CPR is needed, cayenne pepper actually helps to increase the effectiveness of the compressions.

 

Using cayenne and hawthorn berries together has a most incredible effect upon the heart. A regimen of cayenne and hawthorn berries for several months will greatly strengthen the heart, and possibly prevent heart attacks. If an attack were to occur in someone who had followed this regimen, chances are extremely good that no permanent damage to the heart would occur.

 

Emergencies

 

It is a good idea to always have some Cayenne extract on hand for emergencies. If a hemorrhage occurs in the lungs, stomach, uterus or nose, it is suggested that a teaspoon of extract (or a teaspoon of cayenne powder in a cup of hot water) be given every 15 minutes until the crisis has passed. In most case, the bleeding should stop in 10-30 seconds.  The reason for this is that rather than the blood pressure being centralized, it is equalized by the Cayenne, and the clotting action of the blood becomes more rapid.  For external bleeding, take cayenne internally and pour cayenne directly on the wound.

 

Dyspepsia

 

Individuals who suffer from dyspepsia should start taking a cup of cayenne pepper tea with every meal. ¼ tsp of cayenne powder added to 1 cup of hot water will go to work immediately and the person will experience significant relief of pain, bloating and nausea.

 

Pain

 

Capsaicin cream is well established as a pain-relieving treatment and has provided great relief for post-herpetic neuropathy (the pain that lingers after an attack of shingles) peripheral neuropathy (nerve pain that occurs most commonly as a side effect of diabetes, but may occur with HIV as well as other conditions), nerve pain after cancer surgery and arthritis.

 

To make capsaicin cream: blend together ½ tsp ground cayenne pepper or 15 -20 drops of cayenne extract together with 2 cups of lard, beeswax or whatever you choose as a base. I don’t ever recommend using petroleum jelly, because I have issue’s with putting any petroleum products or by products on our skin. You can also make a wonderful soothing and healing ointment by using aloe vera gel as your base.

 

Cluster headaches

 

Administering capsaicin via the nose seems to help relieve cluster headaches (a severe one-sided headache that tends to occur in clusters, happening repeatedly every day at the same time for possibly several weeks). Such treatment should only be done by a health care professional.

 

Psoriasis

 

Capsaicin cream can reduce itching and inflammation associated with psoriasis (a chronic skin disease that generally appears as patches of raised red skin covered by a flaky white buildup).

 

Weight loss

 

Capsaicin taken orally increases the body’s production of heat for a short time. It may also help to regulate blood sugar levels by affecting the breakdown of carbohydrates after a meal. Therefore, it is now being used by many to help them to lose weight..in a healthy manner.

 

CAYENNE PEPPER OIL – THERAPEUTIC ACTION

 

CAYENNE, acting as a Counter-Irritant, plus the Oil as an Emollient, work DEEP into Tissue to RELIEVE Pain, Swelling and Inflammation. It can also be used for Stiffness in Joints, Tendons, Ligaments and Muscles for Health Problems, including Arthritis, Bursitis, Lumbago, or ANY Muscle or Bone Pain

 

Making Tinctures -An Example with Cayenne Tincture –

 

Start to make this and ANY Tincture, if possible, on a NEW Moon. (I make my extracts only on the new moon, (the time of initiation) and never press before the full moon (the time of fruition).

 

Take a Quart Canning Jar and fill it 1/4 FULL with DRIED and ground Cayenne Peppers, getting the HOTTEST ones (i.e. – Habanero, African Bird, Serrano, Jalapeno – 90,000+ Heat Units), that you can obtain.

 

Add enough 50% Grain Alcohol (100 Proof Vodka) to the Cayenne Peppers (powdered, using a Blender or Grinder) to just COVER them.

 

Use enough FRESH Cayenne Peppers, that you can blend with 100 Proof Vodka to turn the Mixture into an Apple Sauce-Like Consistency.

 

Add this Mixture to the 1st Mixture, filling up the Canning Jar 3/4 FULL.

 

Fill up the rest of the Canning Jar with MORE 100 Proof Vodka.

 

Shake it as MANY times as possible, during the Day.

 

Let this Mixture SIT, until the following FULL Moon (15-16 Days), but OPTIMALLY until the following NEW Moon (28-29 Days)!

 

Strain this Mixture through an UNBLEACHED Coffee Filter.

 

Bottle the RESULTING Tincture.

 

NOTE:  Part EQUALS Volume, NOT Weight in this Tincture Method. If using 95% Alcohol (190 Proof), then DILUTE in half with Distilled Water. Modify this procedure by using DRIED Herbs ONLY, if FRESH Herbs are NOT AVAILABLE, and when making other Herbal Tinctures also. Also if you want to make a SUPER-POTENT Tincture (i.e. – Cayenne Pepper & Lobelia Seed Pod), then allow the Mixture to sit for a full 3 months. Do not use capsaicin with a heating pad, and do not apply capsaicin cream immediately before or after hot showers. Wash hands well after use, and avoid touching your eyes.

 

People with ulcers or heartburn should talk to their naturopath/health care specialist before using capsaicin. Capsaicin capsules may cause stomach irritation.

 

People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne.

 

Eating cayenne as a spice is considered safe during pregnancy, but pregnant women should avoid taking cayenne as a supplement. Cayenne does pass into breast milk, so nursing mothers should avoid cayenne both as a spice and a supplement.

 

Precautions :

 

Pediatric

 

Cayenne should not be given to children under 2 years of age. However, cayenne may be used topically with caution in older children as an ointment. Topical cayenne ointments should not be used for more than 2 consecutive days in children.

 

Adult

 

For shingles, psoriasis, arthritis, or muscle pain: Capsaicin cream (0.025 – 0.075% capsaicin) may be applied directly to the affected area up to four times a day. Because cayenne works by first stimulating and then decreasing the intensity of pain in the body, the pain may increase slightly at first, but then will diminish greatly over the next few hours. Capsaicin should be applied regularly several times a day.

 

Possible Interactions

 

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use cayenne preparations without first talking to your health care provider.

 

  • ACE inhibitors — Using capsaicin cream on the skin may increase the risk of cough associated with ACE inhibitors. These are medications used to regulate blood pressure, including captopril, enalapril, and lisinopril. People who take ACE inhibitors should talk to their doctor before taking cayenne.
  • Stomach acid reducers — Capsaicin can cause an increase in stomach acid, lessening the effect of drugs such as cimetidine (Tagamet), famotidine (Pepcid), ranitidine (Zantac), omeprazole (Prilosec), and esomeprazole (Nexium). The same is true of over-the-counter drugs such as Maalox, Rolaids, Tums, and nonprescription versions of Tagamet, Pepcid, Zantac, and Prilosec.
  • Aspirin — Capsaicin may decrease the effectiveness of aspirin to relieve pain, and may increase the risk of bleeding associated with aspirin.  However, this doesn’t seem to be a concern if one is using white willow bark instead of aspirin.
  • Blood-thinning medications and herbs — Capsaicin may increase the risk of bleeding associated with certain blood-thinning medications (such as warfarin and heparin) and herbs (such as ginkgo, ginger, ginseng, and garlic).
  • Theophylline — Regular use of cayenne may increase the absorption of theophylline, a medication used to treat asthma, to toxic levels.
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27 Medicinal Plants Worth Your Garden Space

27 Medicinal Plants Worth Your Garden Space

 

Monsanto-Free Seed Companies

Monsanto-Free Seed Companies

B y Fritz Kreiss

In 2005, Monsanto purchased Semenis which was (and is) the world’s largest seed company and now they own thousands of conventional seed companies in addition to their GMO seed business.  Monsanto now owns 40% of the conventional seed market in the US and 20% of the worldwide market, including organics and heirlooms.  It’s not terribly easy to avoid them, which is why we’ve compiled the list below list with the help of readers and some experts from the field, both to help you navigate through things as well as encouragement for companies to take part in the boycott so that they may also qualify to have their names included.

Here they are, and please let us know of any companies we may have missed and we will add them to this list.  Names are in alphabetical order. Try to search for a company in your bioregion when possible.  Also, it never hurts to ask any company if they sell any Seminis seeds or seeds from Seminis’ partners. (Sites with asterisks* have the additional approval and endorsement by Farmwars.info and verification by recognized leaders in the battle)

USA:

  • Adaptive Seeds*
  • All Good Things Organic (SW)
  • Amishland Seeds*
  • Annie’s Heirloom Seeds
  • The Ark Institute*
  • Backyard Beans and Grains Project
  • Baker Creek Seed Co. (MW)*
  • Beauty Beyond Belief (BBB Seeds)
  • Botanical Interests*
  • Bountiful Gardens
  • Crispy Farms
  • Diane’s Flower Seeds (she has veggies now, too)
  • Family Farmer’s Seed Co-op*
  • Farm Direct Seed (Hobb’s Family Farm)
  • Fedco Seed Co.*
  • Garden City Seeds
  • Gourmet Seed
  • Grow Organic*
  • Heirlooms Evermore Seeds
  • Heirloom Seeds*
  • Heirloom Solutions
  • High Mowing Seeds
  • Horizon Herbs*
  • Hudson Valley Seed Library
  • Humbleseeds
  • Growing Crazy Acres
  • Ed Hume Seeds
  • Irish-Eyes
  • J.L Hudson
  • Kitchen Garden Seeds
  • Knapp’s Fresh Vegies
  •  Kusa Seed Society
  • Lake Valley Seeds
  • Landreth Seeds*
  • Larner Seeds
  • The Living Seed Company*
  • Livingston Seeds*
  • Local Harvest
  • Moonlight Micro Farm
  • Mountain Rose Herbs
  • *My Patriot Supply
  • Native Seeds  for the Arid Southwest
  • Natural Gardening Company
  • New Hope Seed Company
  • Nichol’s Garden Nursery
  • Organica Seed*
  • Organic Sanctuary (SE)
  • Peace Seeds
  • Peaceful Valley Farm Supply
  • Prairie Road Garden
  • Renee’s Garden
  • Restoration Seeds
  • Sand Hill Preservation Center
  • Sage Thymes
  • Seed for Security*
  • Seeds Trust
  • Select Seeds*
  • Siskiyou Seeds (NW)
  • Southern Exposure*
  • Sow True (SE)*
  • Sustainable Seed Co*
  • Tiny Seeds
  • Tomato Fest
  • Trees of Antiquity
  • Turtle Tree Seed
  • Underwood Garden Seeds*
  • Uprising Seeds*
  • Victory Seeds*
  • Vermont Wildflower Farm
  • White Harvest Seed
  • Wild Garden Seeds*
  • Wildseed Farms
  • Wood Prairie Farm (NE)*

Canada:

  • Annapolis Valley Heritage Seed Company
  • Brother Nature
  • Cubit’s Organics
  • Full Circle Seeds
  • Greta’s Organic Garden
  • Heritage Harvest Seeds (ships to Canada only)
  • Hope Seeds
  • Incredible Seeds
  • Richters Herbs
  • Salt Spring Seeds
  • Seeds of Victoria
  • Solana Seeds
  • Stellar Seeds
  • Terra Edibles
  • The Cottage Gardener

Europe:

  • Garden Organic (UK)
  • Seed Site (Italy)
  • The Real Seed Catalogue (UK)

Another tool you can use to check up on a seed supplier is supplied by Monsanto’s Seminis themselves: http://www.seminis.com/global/us/products/Pages/Where-to-Buy.aspx

Asparagus

Asparagus

asparagus

If you love asparagus and want to grow some yourself, waste no time in getting an asparagus bed planted. Even with the best of care, an asparagus bed won’t hit its stride until several years after planting. Once it starts yielding a crop, the same bed will produce an abundant crop of spears spring after spring for at least the next 20 years.

In the old days, gardeners were told to prepare an asparagus bed by digging an 18” deep trench and then backfilling it with a mix of compost and soil. Today we can plant a strain of asparagus hybrids that are not only less work – the root crowns need only be planted 6″ deep – these modern hybrids produce many more asparagus spears per plant. The production increases are due to the fact that the Jersey hybrids are all-male cultivars, so no energy is wasted producing seeds, and there are no weedy baby asparagus plants to compete with the mother plants. So forget about Martha Washington and the old varieties. Most of the new varieties are also resistant to the two common diseases of asparagus, fusarium rot and asparagus rust.

When planting a new asparagus bed, get rid of all the weeds and grasses first – even if this requires a full year of preparation. Asparagus crowns are usually available just once a year in early spring. So plan accordingly. Once the bed is weed-free, dig a trench about 6″ deep and a foot wide. The crowns should be planted at 18″ intervals, so put a shovel of compost and a cup of all-purpose, organic fertilizer in the trench every 18″. Rock phosphate, a natural mineral powder, is another good addition. Phosphorus, which stimulates strong root growth, doesn’t move through the soil as easily as other nutrients. You only get one opportunity to fortify the root zone, so don’t miss your chance!

Mix the compost and fertilizer together with some garden soil and shape it into a little mound. Set the asparagus crown on top and drape the roots down around the sides. Cover the roots with garden soil and water well. As shoots appear, add more soil until the trench has been filled back to ground level.

Even though asparagus can sometimes be spotted growing in a ditch among thick grass, the domesticated varieties do not tolerate weed competition. No grasses, no weeds. So keep your asparagus bed well-mulched with leaves or straw. For the first couple years, weed often and carefully – the roots are near the surface, and can be damaged by weeding tools. Don’t interplant other vegetables in the same bed. Asparagus hates competition of any kind.

Originally asparagus grew in swamps and wet places, so be sure to keep your soil moist. You may wish to use a simple drip-irrigation system or soaker hoses if you live in a dry region. Watering is a key to success, especially the first few years.

To keep your asparagus bed productive, don’t get greedy: The first year after planting roots just pick for two weeks – a few spears from each plant. Then increase to four weeks the next year, and six weeks after that. Pick too much, and your plants will not be able to develop the strong root system and energy reserves they’ll need to produce an abundant crop of spears the following season.

Asparagus get on well with most vegetables, but their ideal companions are tomato, parsley and basil.

Twenty-five asparagus plants will yield more than enough for a family of four.

 

Medicinal Properties of Asparagus

Asparagus Nutrition. In Traditional Chinese Medicine Asparagus the food has wonderful healing power…as does Asparagus Root is an herb with considerable healing power!

Thermically (meaning it has a heating or cooling or neutral effect on the body’s temperature): It is slightly warming…meaning it will warm your body from the inside out.

Taste: Bitter and mildly pungent or spicy tasting.

Healing Properties:

1. Nourishes or increases Kidney Yin. Therefore it reduces menopause symptoms and other signs of Kidney Yin Deficiency. Beneficial therefore in the treatment of Diabetes.

2. Benefits the Lungs:  Reduces phlegm and congestion in the lungs.  Stops cough and bleeding, including coughing up blood tinged mucus from the lungs. C. Benefits chronic Bronchitis.

3. Benefits fertility and reduces menstrual difficulties.

4. Moistens Intestines and alleviates constipation…promotes bowel movements.

5. Removes fat and plaque from the arteries.

6. Lowers cholesterol.

Asparagus is an alkaline food

Asparagus is rich in protein but low in calories and carbohydrates. Asparagus is a good source of dietary fiber,

It is an excellent source of potassium, folic acid, vitamins A, C and K, and traces of vitamin B complex. Asparagus is also rich in niacin, phosphorus and very low sodium.

Asparagus is one of the few vegetables that actually has calcium and magnesium in the ideal ratio of 2:1. This is very important in keeping these electrolyte minerals in proper balance.

Acidity: Highly Alkaline: The high alkalinity of this wonder vegetable is effective in reducing the acidity of the blood and helps cleanses cells and tissues and muscles of waste.

Arthritis and Rheumatism: A unique phytochemical in asparagus that produces anti-inflammatory effect helps relieve arthritis and rheumatism and its pain.

Blood Pressure Reducing: Lowers blood pressure in many cases.

Constipation: Consume asparagus regularly for its mild laxative effect and dietary fiber that provides for regular bowel movement.

Cancer: Asparagus is a prime source of the anti-oxidant glutathione that can help prevent cancer.

Cataracts: The anti-oxidants and glutathione in asparagus prevents the progression of cataracts and other eye problems.

Cholesterol Lowering…Reducing: Helps cleanse the arteries of Cholesterol and is beneficial in lowering blood pressure and reversing arteriosclerosis.

Diabetes/Hypoglycemia: An important part of the diet for people who are controlling their blood sugar levels. However, it is not to be taken by people with advanced kidney diseases.

Diuretic: Asparagus is a wonderfully diuretic vegetable and its efficacy is more pronounced when it is taken in juice form.

Heart disease: Drink a small amount of asparagus juice mixed with raw honey three times a day daily to strengthen a weak or enlarged heart.

Kidney Stones: The diuretic and alkaline properties of asparagus help prevent or dissolve kidney stones. It helps break up oxalic acid crystals formed in the kidney.

PMS symptoms: The diuretic effect of asparagus juice helps relieve premenstrual swelling and bloating. The magnesium in this wonder juice also help relieve irritability, fatigue, depression, etc.

Pregnancy…effects on Pregnant women: The high content of folic acid, calcium and other minerals in asparagus is important in reducing the risk of birth defects and low birth weight. The diuretic effect of the juice is also a big help in reducing water retention in pregnant women.

When buying asparagus, choose straight, firm stalks with tight tips. Always eat fresh but if you won’t be eating them the same day you buy them, keep them dry and tightly-wrapped in a plastic bag or plastic wrap and they will keep for up to three days in the refrigerator.

When cooking asparagus, it is preferable to steam, rather than boiling them in water to cook them since steaming preserves the enzymes, vitamins, minerals and other nutritional factors from boiling away.

Cautions:

Eating too much Asparagus can irritate the Kidneys!

Arugula

Arugula

arugula

Arugula is a salad green also sold as rocket or by its French name, roquette. This member of the mustard family is truly a rocket: it germinates quickly — even in cold, wet soil — and grows rapidly. Full-sized plants are often ready to eat just a month after germination.

Arugula is an acquired taste. It has a smoky, peppery, complex flavor and scent that some even call skunky. To begin appreciating arugula’s distinctive flavor, start by adding little pieces of leaves to regular salads. Before long you’ll probably find yourself adding more and more leaves, and may eventually want nothing but arugula in your salads!

There are a number of different types of arugula. In general, the thinner and spikier the leaves, the more peppery the flavor. Start arugula from seed outdoors directly in the garden as soon as the soil can be worked. Plant it just a quarter of an inch deep, covering it with a light layer of fine soil. Arugula is not fussy—it is only a slightly modified weed—so it will grow in most soils. It does best in rich soil with plenty of organic matter, and has its best flavor when it is not stressed by heat or lack of water.

Pick only the outer leaves, so the plant remains intact and usable for weeks to come. This cut-and-come again harvest keeps the plant yielding lots of leaves until the plants flower. Harvest often to encourage new growth. Allow a few plants to flower and then go to seed. Harvest the seed and keep in an airtight container, in a cool dry place with minimal light.

Once summer arrives, arugula leaves quickly turn bitter and the plant shifts into flower production. When this happens, it’s time to remove the plants and sow a new crop. Like most greens, it’s difficult to grow arugula during the heat of summer. To maintain a continuous supply of young, tender leaves, sow a pinch of seeds somewhere in the garden every two or three weeks throughout the growing season. In late summer, sowing arugula under shade cloth will let you get plants established for a fall harvest. When cold weather comes, just cover the bed with Garden Quilt to get another month or more of good salads. In warmer zones, arugula can usually be grown as a winter crop without cover.

Flea beetles love to munch arugula, and can severely damage the leaves. Garden fabric (row cover) is the most effective solution. Sprinkling Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth around and on top of your arugula plants will also help to deter flea beetles.

Because arugula plants are relatively small and have compact root systems, you can plant them close together, or even in a pot. As leafy greens they have less need for full sun and will even grow in partial shade or where tall plants create shade. In hot regions afternoon shade is better than full sun, as the plants will not bolt as quickly.

Arugula is a good companion plant with bush beans, beets, carrots, celery, cucumber, dill, lettuce, mint, nasturtium, onion, potato, rosemary, spinach, and thyme; but not with strawberries. 

 

The Medicinal Properties of Arugula

 

The fiber in arugula helps promote digestive regularity, keeps your tummy happy and leaves you feeling full longer so you resist other fatty foods. It also helps to lower cholesterol, balance blood sugar and reduce the risk of heart disease.

  • Arugula is a detoxifying, cancer-fighting superfood. Arugula is a member of the brassica family of vegetables called cruciferous – this group is known for its nutritional powerhouses broccoli, kale and cabbage. This family of vegetables is high in fibre and antioxidants, but they’re also rich in compounds known as glucosinolates, which studies show may reduce the risk of developing lung, colorectal, breast, prostate, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Arugula has high levels of chlorophyll which can help to prevent DNA and liver damage from aflatoxins — carcinogenic substances produced by the mold sometimes found in corn, peanuts and some tree nuts. To preserve the chlorophyll in arugula – eat it raw.
  • Arugula promotes bone health. It contains eight times more calcium than iceberg lettuce as well as vitamin K, which is important for the absorption of calcium into the bones and teeth. Vitamin K also plays a role in the prevention of heart disease. Plaque that forms inside the linings of the arteries can be partly related to calcium that is not taken up by the bones and teeth. This important vitamin can also help to keep this calcium going to the bones where it belongs!
  • Eating arugula will help to reduce chronic inflammation. Arugula contains indole-3-carbinol and isothiocyanates. Both of these bioactive compounds have been shown to suppress the production of inflammatory mediators.
  • Eating arugula can protect the aging brain and cognitive decline. Arugula is high in most of the B vitamins but contains especially high amounts of folate. In high functioning older adults, low levels of folate have been shown to be a risk factor for cognitive decline.