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The Magic Teaspoon

If cooking appeals to you as much as medicinal herbalism does, get your hands on a copy of The Magic Teaspoon: Transform Your Meals with the Power of Healing Herbs and Spices by Victoria Zak. This book covers nutritional information, medicinal properties, culinary uses, and some wonderfully written folklore. Every herb is introduced with prose that places you in the middle of its culture and history. Her beautiful depictions of the culture surrounding ancient spice trade stick with me as I use many of these herbs now. Tips for storing and selecting herbs is given, a comprehensive chart that lists what herbs to use with what ailment. Food as medicine is explored with some recipes. The recipes given include herbal spreads (like homemade butter for bread, excellent idea for bakers), sauces, meals and snacks for the entire day, beverages, and even herbal salads or sandwiches.

Personally I can get my son to swallow a spoonful of minced garlic (drizzled in olive oil, it actually hides the taste and makes it easier to swallow) but I don’t even have to bribe him or guilt him at all into having some garlic toast with spaghetti (and a couple of fresh garlic cloves used in the making).

Even better, every meal you have can be packed with herbs that boost the body’s ability to absorb nutrients, decrease toxins, and enhance nutrition. Every day cooking becomes more balanced and healthful, leading to more energy and vitality. You can also adapt your cooking to get you through flu or allergy season so you don’t get sick in the first place.

It’s been a while since I first purchased and started using this book, and I have to say that I’ve noticed a marked improvement on my immune system (which is normally rather delicate), and my chronic joint pain seems to be slowly improving as I work my herbalism further from my medicine cabinet and closer to my daily life using many of Zak’s recommendations. My family also tends to be healthier, including alleviating some frequent digestive upsets that can happen in this home. Using the concepts in this book with books on superfoods, Zak’s other book The 20,000 Secrets of Tea, and books that provide healthy versions of popular snacks has made a serious impact on my energy levels and overall wellbeing. I’m not perfect, but I have more energy, less pain, and more emotional satisfaction in the way I provide for my family.

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